May 3, 2016

Weighing In On 1948


1948 was a good year for Allentown and the Lehigh Valley. Mack Trucks, Lehigh Structural Steel, General Electric and almost all factories were going full steam. President Truman stopped by to give a speech. The Allentown Cardinals played the first game in their new ballpark, Breadon Field. The baby boom was going full tilt:



The school district unveiled Lehigh Parkway and Midway Manor Elementary Schools and the new professional style football stadium. Donald Hock was Mayor, and although the last beer was being brewed on Lawrence Street at Daeufer Brewery, the Paddock joined many new restaurants opening that year. Photo's from Dorney Park in 1948.

reprinted from 2009


ADDENDUM: Assuming a photograph on the Morning Call website is color balanced correctly, the wooden coaster at Dorney is no longer Dorney Coaster Yellow. Painting the coaster the same shade of yellow was an important tradition at the park, even when ownership changed hands. They don't make Lehigh Valley traditions like they used to.

10 comments:

Dave said...

1948 was a year that Life Magazine ran a pictorial article about the Allentown School District and its award-winning curriculum and the excellent graduates from AHS. We had not one, but two major train stations that linked Allentown into the national passenger rail system. The new Airport terminal opened at ABE. We had numerous privately-owned local banks, which invested in the city. A business district that generated more in profits than anything that could be imagined in our crony capitalist ANIZA today... Two major hotels (Traylor, Americus) that business people stayed in downtown (Hotel Allen had closed just after the War ended).

Those were the days....

Dave said...

Oh, least I forget the Eight major cinemas either on Hamilton or within a block of Hamilton Street that all showed first-run films......

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

My mother worked part time at the colonial theater in the early 1950s it was such a beautiful theater, The city fathers destroyed the hopes of a private restoration of the theater, but instead later endorsed government financed renewal, Also Western Electric came to Allentown I believe in the late 40,s or 50,s , it employed 1000,s of good paying jobs 3 shifts. Mu father worked there till his retirement in the 1970s. He was the sole wage owner most of the time, usually worked 40 hours. My mother worked off and on for periods between kids. They were able to pay off the house in 9 years, raise 5 kids. It was the hi-tech of the time. It has all been moved to Asia. Do you like the new Dorney Park better than the old one? I don't think so. Of course we will be labeled as old fashioned and longing for the good old days. This generation has agreed to have 2 full time wage earners, large debts, lots of hours and very little time to plan their lives or just spend quite time with the family.

Jamie Kelton said...

Although the Show House that was in the paper this weekend is nicely restored, Allentown is no longer the city I grew up in for a plethora of reasons. My parents still live in the west end in a 1920s era home, but I prefer living where we do and where our daughter can get a decent education away from the gangs and violence that permeate though the city.


Thank you for the look back in time Mr Molovinsky. :)

doug_b said...

I still have an All American City sign - I think from 1962.

In 1968, I bought my 'girl friend' (we went to Penn State, now my wife) home to Allentown. She was from a small town near Erie. Allentown completely blew her away. Downtown, the movies, Hess's, Dorney Park, the restaurants, etc.

LVCI said...

1948 was a good year for Allentown
Sure was since this was the year LVCI was born!

Seriously speaking The point younger people are missing none of us oldsters expect things to be the way they once were.

Transportation: A time when private enterprise (trolleys/trains) could produce ridership beyond what any amount of taxpayer subsidized programs could ever hope to achieve in today's world. It's not our fault younger people (perhaps not theirs either) demand will never again generate enough profit to sustain them.

Walkability: There were countless factories and jobs in town. Levine's, Bell Telephone, Allen Laundry and knitting mills galore to name a few. All created by private investors.

Personal Responsibility
Rather then endlessly bloviate I'd rather youngsters quit blaming oldsters for the way things turn out. Excuses and finger pointing isn't going to cut it. The ball's in their court much like it was for us way back then. If things are screwed up.. got a better idea?... Go fix it.

As for me.. I'm happy I was born when I was. In the days people didn't assume someone outside of trust in their closest friends and themselves (not government) could make for a better life.

George Ruth said...

Gee, I'm surprised we haven't yet had a post about how 'lily white' the Lehigh Valley was in 'dem days. That's usually the retort when people discuss the good old days, never giving credit to the positive evolution we all experienced over the past sixty years or so. Fear not, folks, as we all try to hold on to what made this community the wonder that is was...and why so many of us moved here before it was cool.

JohnHerald said...

Geez, I'd put Transportation and Walkability together. People didn't need cars back then because they could walk most places. And when they couldn't walk, they used public transportation. Those times are gone. Now the jobs are scattered among industrial parks far from where the workers live, and public transportation struggles because of the need for cars. And the only thing even remotely related to the government in that regard is the fact that it built the highways that made suburbia possible. Oh, and I was born in '48, too, but have no complaints whatsoever about young people.

JohnHerald said...

P.S. I just remembered another milestone from 1948: Breadon Field opened that year, named for Sam Breadon, owner of the St. Louis Cardinals. Can you imagine, they built a brand new steel and concrete ballpark and it was closed within 12 years and was torn down 5 years later?

michael molovinsky said...

john@6:33, actually, the ball field is mentioned in my post. my next door neighbor was a bat boy in the mid 1950's.