Mar 25, 2013

Saving A Treasure

Yesterday I had an amazing experience, I decided to research the WPA items at the Lehigh Valley Historical Society. I found that particular documentation lacking. But, from out of nowhere, an elderly lady handed me a photo from her pocketbook; a picture of the Boat Landing she had taken with a Kodak Brownie camera in the early 1940's. She had the picture with her because she had shown it to several friends who also lamented the loss of our icons.

Today I went to the park to photograph the remaining element of that structure, the steps, to write a post I intended to title "Lost Treasures". Despite my fear of ticks and other organic matter, I proceeded down the steps and pushed the bushes aside. There to my surprise, I found that the retaining walls were mostly still there.

Emboldened by this discovery, I went over to the other side of the creek and worked my way through the riparian buffer; there to my utter amazement I saw that the curved creek walls of the landing have withstood the years of time. Despite decades of neglect by our Park Department, I believe that a half dozen people equipped with a few clippers could unveil a lost treasure. There is a few large trees which have grown on the landing, and there are missing stones, but most of it still exists, waiting only for a few urban archaeologists with an appreciation of what once adorned this park. Will you join me in this act of civil unvandalizing and help restore this gift from our past?
reprinted from October 2009

UPDATE: In the fall of 2009, a half dozen people helped me uncover part the boat landing, buried for over 40 years. It ended up requiring much more than a few clippers; pickaxes, shovels, and wheel barrel after wheel barrel of removing earth.  Amazing as this feat was, The Morning Call never wrote one word about it. Come join me and others on Saturday April 6th, 10:00a.m. at the Robin Hood parking lot, as we tour the WPA treasures in Lehigh Parkway.


Anonymous said...

All of allentowns parks hold these types of neglect and disrepair the parkway being the most beautiful. The jordan was a swimming attraction alao hidden by neglect and disrepair by the local political corruption that development brings¿ Wishing you well with this endevor with the local political atmosphere in the valley¿
This week I want to show the kings court jesters the sludge they are voting on only to be in jepordy of get more dangerous to the public under the guise of privatization¿


Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
Thank you for the attention you are bringing to the long neglected WPA treasures.
Although I no longer live in the Lehigh Valley, I will try to attend the WPA history walk in April.

You may be interested to see the historical (1936) photos of the Lehigh Parkway WPA wall the Morning Call is offering up on ebay. The one shows the completion of the wall pre-Robin Hood Bridge.

Here is the link:

Best regards and many thanks for your efforts.

michael molovinsky said...

@3:57, i am familiar with the photos for sale. these offerings by the parent company, the chicago tribune, are a double edged sword. the sale is better than the trash dumpster, which much of the archive ended, but the best would be keeping the archive intact. unfortunately, they do not have many wpa construction photographs, considering the effort throughout the park system during 1935-37. There are two of the wall.