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Legacy of burned Carlisle complex remembered - abc27 WHTM

Cumberland County

Legacy of burned Carlisle complex remembered

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CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) -

A new chapter in the history of a significant building in Carlisle was written Wednesday night as the old Lear building went up in flames, but long before the four-alarm fire took down part of the warehouse, it's legacy was burned into local history.

At the Cumberland County Historical Society, there are thousands of pictures of the old buildings tucked away. There are copies of magazine articles and photographs of company picnics and softball games.

Some knew the building as the old Lear building, but to most it will always be remembered as the Masland building.  Almost anyone in Carlisle could talk about the Masland days, but who better than Frank Masland IV, who's grandfather brought the company to Carlisle after World War I.  He has very vivid memories of the carpet manufacturing days.

"As a kid, I'd go in there and my grandfather's office was at the end of one wing and my father's was at the end of the other," he said, "I would go in and everyone knew you, it was a neat place."

Masland explained the importance the company played in the war-time effort during the 1940s.  The company manufactured canvas for soldiers tents and Jeep tops.

"It was the center of not only our family, but very much of Carlisle because a large number of people had friends and relatives that worked there," he said.

There are more memories than the scores of boxes at the historical society could ever hold.

"I can still almost smell the dye houses when I think about going in there," Masland said.

For years, the sparks of that Golden Age slowly burned out as manufacturing stopped.  It was the end of an ere some think was extinguished long before the fire.

"This fire is kind of a sign of the times," said Matthew March of the Cumberland County Historical Society, "It was an empty building when we would have loved to still have people working there every day."

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