Lenox, Massachusetts is a small residential community nestled in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts.
The main building at Cranwell Prep was built in 1894 as a private residence on land once occupied by Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. The grounds were designed and landscaped by the same people who designed New York's Central Park. After going through several owners, the estate was donated to the Society of Jesus of New England by Edward Cranwell, with the stipulation that it be used as a private school for boys. Cranwell Preparatory School operated for about 35 years, finally closing in 1975.
Although Cranwell Prep was widely known for it's football and lacrosse teams, it seems that most alumni's stories of Cranwell Prep always include downhill skiing. There was a ski slope right on the school property and, in the later years at least, a diesel-powered rope tow. The ski slope partially overlapped the school's 18-hole golf course. It seems appropriate that the property is now a ski, spa and golf resort (see Web Links, below).
If you can provide us with any additional information about Cranwell Preparatory School, please email us. We would love to share your information with other visitors to this page.
Google Maps aerial view of Cranwell.
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Father Keegan who was one of the cross-country coaches when I was there, would stand at the top of the hill at the front of the school and bellow to us as we had to run up and down that blasted hill over and over again.
Father Grogan had "special mnemonics" for remembering every student's name. And if you received a good grade in his history class, you got to skip the final exam as you were on the "merry go round".
Fond memories of those years.
Andrew Weiss, Esq., President
6111 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, NE, Building D
Atlanta, Georgia 30328
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I was on the ski team at Cranwell for a year. I was in the class of '73. The ski team went to France to ski while I was on the team, That was first time skiing in Europe or being in Europe for that matter. I got a great education at Cranwell and after graduating from Purdue and then the University of Georgia with my masters degree I joined the Air Force as an officer in the Biomedical Sciences Corps. I was stationed in Germany for three years and got to ski in Switzerland a couple of times. No doubt that my education at Cranwell has a lot to do with my success in life.
Class of '73
Cranwell Preparatory School today.
Cranwell's Impact? by Tom Harvey
after dinner remarks; 50th reunion of the Class of 1957
Cranwell Resort 2007
Before I start let the record show I spent my first two years at Cranwell whining to my Dad, "get me out of here".
But now with 50 years of hindsight. What's been the impact of Cranwell on us and those around us?
- Today there are 430 Jesuit high schools in 55 countries. In these schools the Ignatian system of values is still being promoted. We can argue whether that's been compromised in recent decades.
- But still today Jesuit High School graduates are expected to have made commitments to values and should have acquired the self-discipline to live by these values. They should have developed competence in the skills of analysis, judgment and expression.
- They should know that theirs is a privileged position in a world where most people are poor. They should be "men and women for others", that is, the good things both material and spiritual which they want for themselves, they should want for others too.
- Jesuit education, which began in 1547, was committed to the service of faith and the education of men and women who reflect that faith in their daily lives
- So, what about little old Cranwell?
- Its 36 year history produced about 2000 alumni. Probably one third have passed on. So in a country of 300 million and a world of over 6 billion what difference can these, now fathers and grandfathers, have made?
- What are Cranwell Qualities? We all left Cranwell changed. I suggest mostly for the better.
- Jotting down my own random reflections on the qualities I may have picked up here.
Develop new interests and discuss important things; welcome debates, gather hard data, hone commo skills.
Remember your faith, resist secularism, always hold God in reverence.
Be willing to study, have self-discipline & do your homework.
Learning is important work and a life long process. Be curious.
Have a sense of personal accountability, encourage that in those around us.
Be aware of the social impact of bad behavior in our culture.
Impressed by the Godly men's men who surrounded us at Cranwell. No namby pamby types here.
Attack and debate serious issues of the day. Don't be frivolous with your time (no TV, not an accident).
Your talents are on loan, we have an obligation to use them for good.
Strive for excellence. Welcome competition.
Value loyalty. Ignatius of Loyola said "God does not require our success, he only demands our loyalty".
Appreciation for the sacrifices of our parents.
Respect for authority, while carefully watching for hypocrisy.
All these qualities I sometimes manifest I think I may have gotten some here and I honed them all here.
So what could be the Impact of only maybe 2,000 Cranwell alumni?
Well assuming normal marriage and fertility rates we may be talking about 3,500 children and maybe as many as 5,000 plus grandchildren. So in a few generations, Cranwell has influenced and touched more than 8,000 people around the world. 8,000 men and women who are making policy, leading companies, teaching others, raising families and influencing others at work, at church, in their neighborhood. Leading our fighting forces in dangerous places.
A lot of people saw our qualities and maybe copied a few of them... Haven't your heard them call you disciplined, focused, concerned more with facts than feelings, not just willing to debate issues but anxious to debate them... Seeing things in black & white, cutting thru the crap, not being intimidated... Willing to stand for principle when others fell away? Haven't you heard comments like this from some of your offspring? Is it possible a bit of that rubbed off on them?
I suggest in these times of secularism and moral relativity, of making your own rules and even making your own reality, there may be as many as 8,000 out there with a little bit of Cranwell in them… call it a bit of Father Cunniff in them.
and that's not bad thing...that's probably a very, good thing.
Tonight before you close your eyes. Thank God for the positive qualities we took away from Cranwell. They have served us well and maybe, just maybe, there are others out there with a bit of Cranwell in their character... which they saw and copied from you.
and that's not bad thing...that's probably a very, very good thing!
You had to go to Cranwell to understand the gift we were given. The dedicated priests and teachers, the beautiful setting, and the opportunity to learn to think critically and to trust your own thinking. Cranwell set me free. The experience taught me to take huge risks and to embrace failure with gratitude.
I started the Cranwell Foundation because I will never let the school die. The Cranwell Foundation is sponsoring a sophomore at Canterbury named, Jamaal. Jamaal is a great hoop player who is being recruited by Seton Hall and a number of D1 colleges. My goal is to raise 200 million dollars and re-open Cranwell. Maybe it's a lofty goal. Maybe I'll have to re-open the school in another location. Regardless, the Jesuit tradition will prevail. In the meantime, kids like Jamaal are reaping the benefits of the inspiration I received from Cranwell.
My annual golf outing is held at Sebonack on Long Island. This year (2017) it's on May 11 and is already sold out. We ask for 10k a foursome and its sells out.
This year's Cranwell Man of the Year goes to Terry Regan, brother of Geoff Regan '76. The award is in honor of Gerry Barr '75. Gerry was the hero of the Cheshire game and my idol. He went to heaven way too soon, but don't all of the great ones?
God bless us as we continue to trust our thinking and take huge risks. If the founders of Cranwell had known it would only stay open for 36 years, would they have opened it? Thank God they did. As we are turning the corner to the twilight of our lives, let's not settle. Continue to take huge risks and laugh at failure. I learned that there is no such thing.
Frank Bice '77
Our Cranwell Preparatory School apparel would make a great gift. Or be the coolest person at the next reunion by wearing a Cranwell Preparatory School Alumni shirt or jacket.
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