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History of Shaffer

The Charles M. Shaffer Nature Center was first purchased in 1968 by the Borough of Carlisle for $67,500 from the Farmers Trust Company, the Executor of the late Charles M. Schaffer’s will. The 30.78 acres were purchased with a United States Housing and Urban Development Open Space Grant.  This act, enacted in 1961, provides grants to states and local bodies to help finance acquisitions of open land in urban areas for recreational use.  ((Title VII of the Housing Act of 1961))  The land contained a cabin, barn, pond, and meadow, along with a wooded area. The meadow had been used for sledding, cross country skiing, and parking for the auto show. Also, plans for baseball fields were made, but aspects like sun placement, proximity to the highway, and the lack of an adequate amount of space caused the dream to not be lived out.

As early as 1991, plans were proposed to sell part of Shaffer Park (the meadow) in order to raise funds to purchase 15 acres of 7 Gables, a historic natural area in Carlisle. This was under some debate, and the main issue was that the land to be sold was protected under the “Project 70 Land Acquisition and Borrowing Act,” meaning that it couldn’t be developed if sold, highly decreasing the value of the land. It wasn’t until 1998 that Senate Bill 1161 was passed and signed to remove the restrictions on the sale of the land. As a result, the meadow area of Shaffer park, approximately 15.5 acres, was sold, and 15 acres of 7 Gables was purchased by Carlisle and is now a park. The cabin is “used about 32 times each year by individuals and groups (parties, scout functions, church retreats, workshops, reunions, etc.)” as of the 1990s, and still is used for similar purposes today. On Oct 7, 1997 plans were finalized to build handicap ramp to the main entrance of the cabin. In 1981, the cabin was renovated in order to comply with the the Fire and Panic Act. Exit signs were added, the doors were fixed to swing open, and the boiler room was properly enclosed with a steel door. ((Carlisle Parks and Recreation Department Shaffer File))