Craven Hall Historical Society

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Warminster Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania was established 1711. Fifteen years later William Tennent moved to the area and opened a religious school, "The Log College," that educated many preachers of the revivalist First Great Awakening and is considered the antecedent to Princeton University. Later in the century, John Fitch began working on prototypes for what would become the first steamboat to operate commercially in 1790. Warminster again made history in the mid-20th century when the Johnsville Naval Air Development Center was constructed. The Center was home to what was then the world's largest human centrifuge, which was used to train astronauts for the U.S. space program from the late 1950s until 2004.

From the guide to the Craven Hall Historical Society local history collection, 1774-1973, (Craven Hall Historical Society)

Craven Hall Historical Society is a non-profit organization in Bucks County, Pennsylvania dedicated to historic preservation and history education. It was organized in 1978 as The Citizens for the Preservation of Craven Hall.

Craven Hall is a Federal/Greek Revival home built in stages between 1790 and 1845. The land on which it stands was acquired by William Bingley from William Penn in 1681, later acquired by William Stockdale, and then sold to James (Jacobus) Craven in 1726. In 1798, Giles Graven sold the property to his second-cousin, Harman Vansant. In 1871, the Vansant family sold the property to a kin, Issac Bennett; the Bennett family lived there until 1923. During the 1940s, the Lojeske family ran a commercial vegetable operation on the property and rented the house to three families, including two Japanese/American families released from an interment camp in Arizona after World War II. In 1952, the land was purchased by the Centennial Joint School Board Authority and Craven Hall was used as a junior high school and then as administrative offices for the school system. The house deteriorated and became uninhabitable in the mid-1970s and was abandoned. The Citizens for the Preservation of Craven Hall, Inc. acquired a lease to the building in 1979 and began restoring the property. Craven Hall, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

Adjacent to Craven Hall is the John Fitch Steamboat Museum, formed by the John Fitch Steamboat Museum, Inc. in association with the Craven Hall Historical Society and currently operated by the Historical Society. John Fitch (1743-1798) invented the steamboat in 1785 in Warminster, Pa., and operated the world's first commercial steamboat service. During the summer of 1790, his steamboat made three round trips each week on the Delaware River between Philadelphia, Pa. and Trenton, N.J. Fitch became engaged in disputes over patent and monopoly rights with other inventors. Robert Fulton, who launched his steamboat service decades later but much more profitably, is more widely known than Fitch.


Craven Hall Historical Society. Website. Accessed March 22, 2013.

From the guide to the Craven Hall Historical Society records, Bulk, 1978-2013, 1900-2013, (Craven Hall Historical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Craven Hall Historical Society local history collection, 1774-1973 Craven Hall Historical Society
creatorOf Craven Hall Historical Society records, Bulk, 1978-2013, 1900-2013 Craven Hall Historical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Craven family family
associatedWith Fitch, John, 1743-1798 person
associatedWith Junior Chamber International corporateBody
associatedWith Junior Chamber International. Suburban Bucks Jaycees (Warminster, Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith Vansant family family
associatedWith Van Zandt family family
associatedWith Warminster (Pa. : Township). Tax Collector corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Bucks County (Pa.)
Bucks County (Pa.)
Warminster (Pa. : Township)
Warminster (Pa. : Township)
Local history
Historic sites--Conservation and restoration

Corporate Body

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Ark ID: w6847368

SNAC ID: 76588961