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Aug 21, 2009
Park And Shop
Downtown Allentown boomed for about 100 years. During the prosperity years following World War II, the two car family emerged. Several business leaders of Allentown realized both the parking problem and the potential to enhance sales. Park and Shop was begun by Harvey Farr, Donald Miller and John Leh. The current small parking deck at 10th and Hamilton, above the Parking Authority Office, was the first deck in the country. To make the parking lots, shown in the postcard above, houses were purchased and torn down. Merchants would stamp the parking tickets, providing free or reduced cost parking. As the suburban shopping malls eventually eroded the commerce on Hamilton Street, both Hess Brothers and Lehs competed with the mall convenience by building their own connecting parking decks.
As the viability of the Park And Shop enterprise declined, The Allentown Parking Authority was conveniently formed, and it purchased the lots.
Although business hardly still exists on Hamilton Street, The Parking Authority, through demonic enforcement, has become a growth industry. Because of the converted apartments, and our one car per person society, parking remains an issue in center city. Unfortunately, the current Administration has prevailed upon The Parking Authority to sell several essential neighborhood lots to a contractor for new housing.
Although the gentlemen mentioned in this article profited from their influence, they always provided solutions for the betterment of the community. They seemed to belong to a bygone era.