To propose a solution to the WPA walls and structures, today the blog moves to Union Terrace, now named Joseph Daddona Terrace and Lake. Union Terrace was the last large scale WPA project in Allentown. The double stairwell shown above leads down from St. Elmo Street. A similar, but larger version graces Lehigh Parkway, just beyond where the wall there recently collapsed. We see that the top of the staircase wall at Union Terrace is missing numerous stones and mortar. This condition allows rain and snow to steep down inside the
wall, and force out the wall stones during the winter freeze cycles. I'm sorry to report that this condition has existed now for four years, and my reports to the previous park directors fell on deaf ears. This is the same condition which caused the failure of the parkway wall. It is imperative that the top surfaces of these walls and structures are maintained. The vertical planes of the walls are much more forgiving, if the tops are kept sealed. I've chosen Union Terrace for this post because of the new retaining wall built there last year, as part of the Union Street bridge replacement. In building the new bridge, it was necessary to remove the previous retaining wall along Union Street. The new wall, shown below, is actually a concrete wall, which was faced with actual stone retained from the previous WPA wall. The top of the new wall was then capped with flagstone like cement pieces, hiding the concrete and making many fewer mortar joints. If this wall method was employed in Lehigh Parkway, the replacement wall section would meet today's construction standards, and blend well with the remaining WPA wall.