Jun 17, 2015

Allentown's WPA Bounty

When the WPA started in 1935, Allentown was in a unique position to benefit. In 1929 the city decided to expand it's park system, and acquired hundreds of acres for that purpose. We had both the space and the unemployed needing the work. A project was built in almost every park in Allentown; Cedar, Irving, Union Terrace, Lehigh Parkway, Jordan, and of course, Fountain Park. The stairwells leading from Lawrence Street (now Martin Luther King Drive) up to Union Street (Junction Street) and next up to Spring Garden Street became essential several years later. Hundreds of men would use them every day as Mack Truck turned their production to the War effort. As well built as the stone structures were, they are now over 75 years old. Steps are missing on the Grand Stairway, columns are being undermined at Union Terrace, and these monuments of our past need attention. Although they are beautiful, irreplaceable, and the icons of our parks, they are not a priority for the current Administration and Park Department.

reprinted from February of 2012

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