Oct 26, 2009

Lost Treasures of Allentown


The Boat Landing Project has been completed. A total of nine different people worked on two separate occasions to clear away almost forty years of neglect and reveal this gift from the WPA. Although everybody deserves recognition, without the energy and enthusiasm of Chris Casey, the project could not have been completed. Let me elaborate on "completed." The landing at the bottom of the steps has been completely cleared.

The remainder of the landing, which is narrower and both to the right and left of the stairway area, remains unreclaimed. The photographer in me would have liked to document our accomplishment with a picture taken from the Island, which would provide the best vantage point. Before the Landing became abandoned, the Island was also a destination. A walk bridge took park visitors to a well kept spot, which sported benches and picnic tables. We lost the bridge and Island about the same time the Landing was discarded.

In 1981, long time Park Czar Donald Marushak, wrote a history of General Trexler. By 1985 he had pursauded the Trust to petition the Court to tear down the Trexler Greenhouse. The petition was necessary because Trexler's will specifically protected and funded the perpetual care of that treasure. He promoted this scheme to save money, but the same year he spent $750,000 to plant the riparian buffer in the southeast corner of Trexler Park. Ironically, that same year, Longwood Gardens built their new greenhouse for $750,000. It was during Marushak's tenure that both the Boat Landing and Island were abandoned. He is also responsible for not replacing the water edge willow trees and starting the practice of indiscriminately planting trees in the destinated open spaces.

Now, under another Park Director, the open space at Cedar Park will be replaced with multiple paved walkways. Perhaps in the future, another writer will take the current Trexler Trust to task for their lack of stewardship.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Mr. Molovinsky and your caring crew for revealing after three decades the WPA-era boat landing. Now, the city could take the lead and clear adjacent weeds and debris from either side of the entrance and seed the banks to add ambiance and a feeling of welcoming for parkgoers. Why, the city could even place two of those concrete and wood park benches that are popular.
A similar clean-up project recently was completed at the Parkway's back entrance that leads to the Police Academy. Here a city crew
cleared both sides of overgrowth about 10 feet wide and planted new grass. The area looks very nice now, thanks to city employees' hard work.

Anonymous said...

"It was during Marushak's tenure that both the Boat Landing and Island were abandoned."
Michael Molovinsky

It was also during Marushak's tenure that a horribly ugly new beige connecting block wall was constructed above Lehigh Parkway along Park Drive that leads towards the small parking lot where the canoe club meets. Marushak ordered the former original hand cut stone wall removed and replaced with a monstrosity that today is discolored, ugly, and out-of-sync with anything early-20th century.

ironpigpen said...

gsgood work people

Volvo Driving Soccer Mom said...

I should have known Casey would be involved, was that his top secret mission?

Anonymous said...

I was at the park today for a run and walked down those beautiful stairs to the water. The volunteers should be very proud of their hard work. It used to be such an overgrown mess.

Chris Casey said...

thanks for the kind words Mike, it was a pleasure, but it could not have been done without the efforts of the many. Now what is the next mission?!