Aug 2, 2021

A Midsummer Night's Dream on Hamilton Street

Early Saturday morning I bumped into a Hamilton Street merchant I know, there's not that many of them nowadays. He told me about the Blues, Brews & Barbeque*, and that he was hoping for a crowded Hamilton Street...He certainly got his wish.  If the crowd was fortified from a pent up demand from the pandemic, regardless, people were there in force.  People who enjoyed themselves are likely to return for the next event. 

The diverse, middle class crowd resembled Hamilton Street of yesteryears. While Allentown cannot sponsor a festival everyday,  I'm sure that J.B. Reilly had pleasant dreams Saturday night. 

While people are not used to me writing something positive about downtown and the NIZ, I'm more than happy to report on good days there.

*kudos to event coordinators Miriam Huertas and Betsy Kohl

photocredit:Jeff Barber

Jul 30, 2021

Molovinsky As The Dour Prophesier

When I ran as the third person in 2005's mayoral race, The Morning Call gave me almost no press.  In addition to not reporting on my most important press conference, they excluded me from their sponsored debate.  My platform back then was that Allentown was becoming a poverty magnet, which would in the coming years adversely effect the housing stock and school system.  Now, don't misunderstand,  I don't think that Allentown was ready to elect an independent in 2005.  But,  the city would have benefitted from hearing my platform.

Flash ahead 12 years, and the paper is now covering all 9 candidates running, and covering them extensively.  What has changed?  The main change is the current reporter assigned to the city beat, Emily Opilo... She is excellent.  Unfortunately, for me and the city,  in 2005 the reporter was about as biased as they come.  Not surprisingly, he ended up being Mike Fleck's last employee, working on the Pawlowski senate campaign, until the FBI came to town two years ago.  Bill White now continues the bias against me, and labels me dour.  Bill White, until this eleventh hour and year, enthusiastically supported Pawlowski... That alone is enough to make someone dour.  I accept that label as a badge of my independence.

We now have Pawlowski, after installing surveillance cameras downtown, wanting gunshot sound locators.  He didn't mention that we would be needing those things back in 2005.

reprinted from May of 2017

Jul 29, 2021

Two Butchers From Allentown's Past


Those coming here today looking for a story about sloppy civic leadership will be disappointed. This post is literally about butchers, more specifically, some butchers at Allentown Packing Company. A few days ago, while at the Fairground's Farmers Market, I learned that Bobby had passed away. Bobby was the "kid" who worked at my father's meat market on Union Street. Bobby grew up in an orphanage, a hardship which my father respected.

One meat cutter that I knew nothing about was Lamont, other than he lived at the West End Hotel. He was a bear of a man, who could carry a beef quarter from the cooler with no effort. I never saw Lamont in the market portion of the shop, he always remained in the back, either in the large cooler or the adjoining cutting room. While my father insisted that people working on the counter change their meat coat and apron several times during the day, no such rule was imposed upon Lamont. Although he would look over the trays of meat before being taken out to the display cases, he never spoke.

Last time I spoke to Bobby, he told me that he appreciated that my father had taught him a trade, which he used throughout his life.

reprinted from 2014

advertisement shown above from December of 1949

Jul 28, 2021

Allentown Meat Packing Co.



My grandfather lived on the corner of Jordan and Chew, and butchered in a small barn behind the house. He would deliver by horse and wagon to his customers, corner markets. The house is still there, the barn, long gone. My father, and one of his brothers, acquired the H.H. Steinmetz packing house in 1943. Operating as Allentown Meat Packing, by 1950 they closed the slaughter house, and converted the front of the plant into a meat market open to the public. That continued to 1970, when it was leased to an operator who sold meat by freezer full packages. In 1975 the building was torn down, as part of a long term lease agreement with A&B, who wanted the space for parking. The photo was taken just prior to demolition. 

reprinted from previous years

Jul 27, 2021

The Butchers Of Allentown

photograph by Bob Wilt

A&B (Arbogast&Bastian), dominated the local meat packing industry for almost 100 years. At it's peak, they employed 700 people and could process 4,000 hogs a day. The huge plant was at the foot of Hamilton Street, at the Lehigh River. All that remains is their free standing office building, which has been incorporated into America on Wheels. Front and Hamilton was Allentown's meatpacking district. Within one block, two national Chicago meatpackers, Swift and Wilson, had distribution centers. Also in the area were several small independents, among them M. Feder and Allentown Meat Packing Company.

Allentown Meat Packing was owned by my father and uncle. The area was criss-crossed with tracks, owned by both LVRR and Jersey Central. All the plants had their own sidings. This is an era when commerce was measured in factories and production, not just relocated office workers.

Molovinsky On Allentown occasionally takes a break from the local political discourse to present local history.  My grandfather came to Allentown in 1891 and lived in the Ward on 2nd Street. By the time my father was born in 1917, they lived on the corner of Chew and Jordan Streets.

reprinted from previous years

Jul 26, 2021

Dead Artist Premium

This weekend I attended the show and auction of Greg Weaver artwork at the Penn State Campus in Center Valley. Although the show was very well done, I didn't stay long. Although the bidding was high, none of the money will benefit Greg or his wife, who have both passed away. Greg and I were friends in the 70's. He would frequent my photo shop, and I would enjoy his loft parties. Greg's loft moved from one low rent location to another over the years. It's fair to say that he made virtually nothing from the art that people were bidding against each other for this past Friday night. Those now benefiting from his mystique, an artist who went blind and continued producing art until he died young, hope to establish an alternative museum for local artists. I would like to see a permanent Weaver collection and designated room at the Allentown Art Museum. 

reprinted from December of 2014 

ADDENDUM JULY 26, 2021: Either this coming fall or spring, I will sponsor an art show for Jessica Lenard, at a gallery yet to be determined. She was a contemporary of Weaver, who was also producing art in Allentown during that era.

Jul 23, 2021

Morning Call's New Pet Pol


As somebody who has been trying to get a letter published in the Morning Call for five years, I was amused by a large picture of Mark Pinsley which accompanied his latest letter. Pinsley is a political opportunist, who runs for bigger offices, after just getting elected to a smaller one. Although no longer a South Whitehall Commissioner,  he still presides over their meetings, and was front and center at their recent new building ribbon cutting.

The reason that I was so amused is that the editor was recently touting the opinion page as a town square for various opinions. The reality is those opinions, for the most part, better conform with his, or there's no space at the page for you. This is Pinsley's second letter published within a month, and the paper even provided a link to the first one.

Pinsley just recently announced his newish political quest, state senator. With such an agenda, years ago the paper would have never run his oversized picture with his letter, which was actually just a campaign piece. 

With Ce-Ce tainted with bad judgement, Mark is now the new best in show.

Jul 22, 2021

Saving The Spring Pond


As a small boy growing up in the twin homes above Lehigh Parkway, I would go down the steep wooded ravine and cross the Robin Hood Bridge. The stone lined spring pond and miniature bridge was just the first in a series of wonderful WPA constructions to explore. Last year, when I organized the reclamation of the Boat Landing, my memory turned to the pond. Although overgrown with several inches of sod, I knew the treasure was still savable.





In the spring of 2010 I met Mike Gilbert of the Park Department, and pitched the idea of a partial restoration. On May 26th, I posted A Modest Proposal, which outlined my hopes for the pond. By July, Gilbert had the Park Department clear off the remaining stones, and clean up around the miniature bridge.


Park Director Greg Weitzel  indicated to me that the pond features uncovered will be maintained. Any further clearing would be at the discretion of Mike Gilbert. In our conversation he also stated that there are virtually no funds available for the preservation of the WPA icons.







I will attempt to organize a group and contributions for this most worthy cause. Between the Spring Pond and The Boat Landing there was once a bridge to the island. Wouldn't it be nice if a small boy could go exploring.

above reprinted from previous posts

UPDATE August 2013Mike Gilbert has retired, and the Park Department has a new director. Although grass and sod are starting to again cover the remaining stones that surround the pond, the miniature bridge is still visible. I will make it my mission to again pitch the new personnel.

UPDATE June 18, 2014. The grass and sod has reclaimed the stones that surround the pond. Only the very top of the miniature bridge is still visible to those who know that it's there. Unless there is an immediate intervention, it's days are numbered.
HISTORY IS FRAGILE

UPDATE February 2017:In 2015, in cooperation with Friends of Allentown Parks, I supervised college volunteers to clear the new sod off the pond stones, and the new bush off the miniature bridge. Allentown is on its third park director since this post was first written, and has acquired two large parcels to create new parks. To be planning additional parks, when our existing park features are left to abandonment, is incredibility poor management.

UPDATE May 1, 2018:  This past weekend the pond, miniature bridge and spring channel to the creek were once again cleared.  The work was done by volunteers from Faith Church, Asbury Church, Igesia De Fe and Salem Bible Church,  through Karen El-Chaar, director of Friends Of The Parks. Although the park department provided assistance in the two clean ups over the past several years,  they have  not provided ongoing maintenance to the site.  Understand that in the past few years they have constructed the exercise area at Jordan Park, the cement disc golf pads in the parkway and other recreational features. It is long overdue that the WPA structures be returned to the regular park budget and schedule.

UPDATE JANUARY 14, 2020:  Karen El-Chaar is now Director Of Parks. Hopefully she will have a soft spot for this particular WPA structure. I continue trying through this blog and facebook to keep these structures on the public agenda.

Jul 21, 2021

Allentown, A Revolting Development, Chapter 10

Over the years I have used Chester Riley as a meme on numerous posts, most of which complain about the declining quality of life issues in Allentown. Chester was the star of a 1950's sitcom called The Life of Riley. Every episode, after his workday at a factory, he would have to solve a family dilemma within the allotted 30 minutes of his TV show. 

So much has changed in Allentown as I watched that program every week as a little boy.  Fathers coming home from the factory with their curved black lid lunchboxes are a thing of the past.  Now a days, Allentown factories are mostly a thing of the past.  Worse yet,  father's coming home is also for too many a thing of the past.

Last evening, while driving on busy Tilghman Street, two cars following each other skidded through a red light, and then swerved across the two lanes to turn off at the next corner. 

Several years ago Morning Call columnist Bill White described me and this blog as dour and misguided. Of course at that time he and his employer were still praising Pawlowski and Allentown. I'll take dour over indicted, and I'll take the old Allentown over the revolting development it has turned into.

Jul 20, 2021

Morning Call Donates In-Kind To Ce-Ce

Since the Morning Call has publicized Ce-Ce Gerlach's Go Fund Me campaign, complete with a link, her contributions have risen 600%. One anonymous ponied up $500. Seeking $100,000 to defend against two misdeameaner charges is almost a crime in itself. While the paper for 6 days solicited funds for her, remember they have been invested in her for a long time. 

Ce-Ce was one of the Morning Call's Go To people. They have a stable of people they quote time after time on certain subjects... Iannelli for business, Jennings for poverty, Borick for politics, and Ce-Ce for affordable housing. 

While Ce-Ce may well end up too tarnished to keep her Morning Call post, editor Miorelli is apparently in a damage control mode regarding her.

Jul 19, 2021

Front & Union Streets 1958

In the mid 1950's, Midas Muffer's first shop in Allentown was just off Front & Union, just west of the former Hamilton Street Bridge. The current bridge was built in 1959. 

Shown above, in addition to the muffler shop, is the Russ Bankes auto repair/ gas station, and the rear of the C Keller & Sons Moving and Storage warehouse, which faced Hamilton Street. The section of Front Street between Hamilton and Union was eliminated for the new bridge ramps. The gas station was torn down to accommodate the new bridge's Union Street off ramp. The warehouse would remain until destroyed by a fire in 1982. 

The former muffler shop was later torn down to build a larger auto body shop. That newer building is now Los Primasos Tire Shop.

click on photo to enlarge

Jul 16, 2021

The Fountain Of My Youth

Just west of the Robin Hood Bridge is a fountain which quenched the thirst of my summer days. Built during the WPA era, it overlooked the creek. Although the water was turned off years ago, so now is the view. The weeds and assorted invasives growing are not a riparian buffer. Science says that a buffer has to be 25feet wide to be of any value. A reader described this thin strip of wild growth as neglect, masquerading as conservation. All it does is block both the view and access to the waterway. It denies our current citizens the beauty and experience for which the parks were designed. Although the Wildland's Conservancy would like you to believe that the Allentown Parks are there to be wildlands, in reality they were designed by landscape architects, to provide the citizens of Allentown with what Harry Trexler called serenity. He did also appreciate conservation, but for that he created the Trexler Game Preserve, north of Allentown. There are places in the parks which can accommodate the riparian buffer zones, without compromising the intended public experience of waterway view and access. Riparians could be created and maintained in the western side of Lehigh Parkway, between the pedestrian bridge and Bogerts Bridge. In Cedar Park, the riparian section could be in western side, between the last walking bridge and Cedar Crest Blvd. It's time that the parks were given back to the citizens of Allentown. They are not funded, or intended by our tax dollars and the Trexler Trust,  just to be a venue for the Wildland's Conservancy to harvest grants.  Let a child again giggle by the creek's edge. Let us get back our intended park experience.

reprinted from August of 2013

ADDENDUM: I have lobbied the park department to leave the creek accessible in a couple small areas in Cedar Park.

Jul 15, 2021

Lesson At Dieruff


A Dieruff High School social studies teacher would not have to take his class very far for a lesson in Allentown's history. Although never elected, East Side activist Dennis Pearson has been complaining for thirty years that the East Side always get short changed in Public Works. Such was the case in the mid 1930's, during the WPA work in Allentown. Roosevelt's New Deal program built the elaborate walls in the south side's Lehigh Parkway. Central Allentown received the magnificent Lawrence Street stairwell. The culturally elite of west Allentown received the Union Terrace Amphitheater, envisioned for Shakespeare. Pearson's east side got a few scattered steps to nowhere. The steps remained, and thirty years later Allentown built Dieruff High School. With expansions and renovations, some of the steps now adjoin the school. Flash ahead to the summers of 2009 and 2010.




I lobbied Allentown City Council members to appropriate some of the $millions of dollars in Cedar Park plans to begin preserving the irreplaceable WPA structures, starting to crumble throughout our park system. East Side elected councilman, Michael D'Amore, assured me that he only signed off on the Administrations plan, with the stipulation that the steps in Irving Park-Dieruff area would be restored at the same time. The work in Cedar Park was completed last year, including $millions of dollars with of recreation equipment from catalogs. The deterioration of the steps around Dieruff continues. Now there's a lesson in government!
photos courtesy of Mark Thomas

reprinted from September of 2011

ADDENDUM: Flash ahead again four more years, and the steps at Irving Park are now finally being repaired, using a $20,000 grant from the Trexler Trust. Although the grant was secured through Friends Of The Parks, it's actually also the fruit of my labor. That organization's director learned of the plight of the WPA structures through meetings I conducted at the Allentown Library in 2011. I then took her on a WPA tour of the parks, and we have been collaborating on the WPA ever since.

At the city meeting last week, I asked the councilmen to compare $20,000  from an outside source, to repair something as tangible as the stone structures, to the $1.4 million of city money, to buy land that we didn't need, nor are using.  I explained that the consequence of the WPA neglect was that our largest park, Lehigh Parkway, is now virtually inaccessible.  Considering that I had approached both previous park directors about the WPA, with no success, I asked council to appoint me special WPA envoy, and to instruct the new director to consider my suggestions in both her plans and budget.

Council didn't respond to my request. I think that maybe they were preoccupied with the mob behind me, the ones with the pitchforks and torches.  As things simmer down from news of  the FBI investigation, and council has to deal with the business at hand,  perhaps they will reconsider my offer.

above reprinted from August of 2015

UPDATE JULY 15, 2021: Since this was written seven years ago, Mayor Ed is in the pokey. Although convicted for receiving payoffs on about ten contracts, I believe that the FBI actually had a much larger menu of corruption from which to choose 

Because of my blunt outspokenness,  city council never acknowledged my work with the parks and WPA structures.  However, the former director of Friends Of The Parks, Karen El-Chaar, is now park director, and she does have an appreciation of the WPA.  The problem now is budgetary,  appropriating funds for repairs. Several structures remain in peril...I will continue to speak out.

Jul 14, 2021

The Morning Call's Mistake

Mike Miorelli, editor of the Morning Call, had a recent piece where he touted the paper's Town Square, as a place where the community can be heard. He did add the following caveat.

Some of you haven’t always been happy when submissions were rejected for various reasons. Some may have been too promotional. Some alleged things that were not verified by our reporting.
"Not verified by our reporting" is quite a story in itself. If something was reported, there would be little need for a member of the public to write in. But more importantly, just because their reporters couldn't verify it, doesn't mean that it isn't true. I have a long standing spat with the paper about Wehr's Dam. When their reporter asked public officials if they if did anything behind the scenes, the officials replied "certainly not." Public officials not admitting to their shenanigans is par for the course. One would think that a paper which was oblivious to a corrupt mayor for over a decade, might realize that public officials don't admit and confess to every reporter's question. 

The paper could simply add a disclaimer that the opinion expressed is that of the writer, and not theirs. They could say that they have not verified the information in the letter. In truth, their editorial page is not a town square, but an echo chamber. It echoes their opinion, or the opinion of their pre-approved go to submitters.

Jul 13, 2021

Brightline Of Florida

While Biden and the new administration are promoting their $Trillion dollar infrastructure program,  and an improved Amtrak would supposedly be a benefit,  the Republic Of Florida has its own program, with no cost to the taxpayers.

The privately owned high speed train has been operating since 2018 between Miami and West Palm Beach.  Richard Branson, who spent this past weekend near outer space, envisioned a high speed Virgin Train brand between Orlando and Miami. While Virgin is no longer involved with the project,  the extension from West Palm Beach to Orlando is being built.  The Brightline extension requires seventeen new bridges and 170 miles of track. The new track is next to the old existing single track, now in use for freight.

The project is not without controversy. While very few towns would have a station or benefit from the high speed line, the train will be speeding through them.  A concern is the danger imposed by such high speed at all the crossings.

The new bridges are a massive undertaking. Shown above is the bridge construction over the Crane Creek in the Space Coast area.  A temporary bridge was constructed to hold the massive equipment necessary to build the new bridge.

Florida was developed a century ago by Henry Flagler and his train company. Private enterprise does still exist.

Jul 12, 2021

Crimes By The Wildlands Conservancy

photo by Tami Quigley

The top photo shows the Robin Hood Bridge, before the Wildlands Conservancy demolished the little Robin Hood Dam, just downstream beyond the bridge. The dam was only about 10 inches high, and was built as a visual effect to accompany the bridge in 1941. It was the last WPA project in Allentown, and considered the final touch for Lehigh Parkway. Several years ago, the Wildlands told the Allentown Park Director and City Council that it wanted to demolish the dam. The only thing that stood between their bulldozer and the dam was yours truly. I managed to hold up the demolition for a couple weeks, during which time I tried to educate city council about the park, but to no avail. If demolishing the dam wasn't bad enough, The Wildlands Conservancy piled the broken dam rubble around the stone bridge piers, as seen in the bottom photo. I'm sad to report that the situation is now even worse. All that rubble collected silt, and now weeds and brush is growing around the stone bridge piers. I suppose the Wildlands Conservancy considers it an extension of its riparian buffers.

The Wildlands Conservancy is now going to demolish Wehr's Dam at Covered Bridge Park in South Whitehall. The township commissioners are cooperating, by having a grossly inflated price associated with repairing the dam, to justify a disingenuous referendum. Sadly, by next spring I will be showing you before and after pictures of that crime.


top photo by Tami Quigley

above reprinted from August 2016

UPDATE: To everyone's surprise, especially the Wildlands Conservancy and the South Whitehall Commissioners, the referendum to save the dam was approved by the voters in November of 2016. The Wildlands Conservancy and the South Whitehall Commissioners are now conspiring to have the dam demolished anyway, by exaggerating its problems with the Pa. DEP...I have documented the communication between the Wildlands, State and township,  As for Lehigh Parkway, the Wildlands Conservancy should be made to remove the former dam rubble that is despoiling the vista of the Robin Hood Bridge piers.  I have been trying to interest the Morning Call about the voter suppression in regard to the Wehr's Dam referendum.  In today's paper there is an article about the danger high hazard rated dams pose to residents downstream.  I hope the paper's article today is a coincidence, and not intended to serve the Wildlands conspiracy about Wehr's Dam.  BTW,  Wehr's Dam is rated low hazard, because it poses no danger to residents.

reprinted from November of 2019 and before

Jul 9, 2021

Crime And Punishment For Allentown


Readers of this blog, and the facebook group Allentown Chronicles that I moderate, know that I shy away from crime reports. Quality of life in Allentown certainly hasn't improved in the last decade, despite all the new construction on Hamilton Street. 

The map shown above was produced by WFMZ to illustrate a spat of stabbings and shootings the other night in center city.  The recent May primary election featured several candidates who advocated defunding the police, in favor of more assets going to social agency intervention.

At the western end of the map is the West Park neighborhood, where I lived for over a decade. As a resident I would take more comfort in more police, not more social workers.  

While the defunders made the most noise during the primary campaign, fortunately, they didn't get the most votes. Come 2022, I hope that the new mayor understands that he has a mandate to increase the police presence.

Jul 8, 2021

The Dam Story

I believe that Wehr's Dam will be preserved, but it may cost much more than was needed. Here's how it came to pass.

By 2014, the Wildlands Conservancy was well entrenched in South Whitehall Township. The son of their chief financial officer was director of parks.  They had an ally as the president of the commissioners. The Wildlands helped design the new park master plan for Covered Bridge Park, and took the liberty of showing Wehr's Dam no longer there. The Wildlands approached the commissioners with a proposal to demolish the dam at no cost to the township.  Yours truly was in attendance, and outraged by the disregard of both history and beauty.  The dam has been a destination for generations, and it is the only location where you can see water go over a dam and under a covered bridge in one place.  The commissioners agreed to defer their decision to allow for public notice and input. An article on the meeting generated interest by other dam defenders, including descendants of the Wehr family.

The state had recently inspected the dam, and found it to be in good condition.  They identified a small crack on one face that needed to be addressed, and some bank erosion downstream that also needed attention. It is rated a low hazard dam because a failure would have no consequence or risk to people or private property.  It was originally overbuilt as a promo for the local fledging cement industry. It is a massive concrete wedge sitting on a massive concrete platform.

The Wildands commissioned a study which was intended to show how expensive repairing the dam would be.  Although the water at the foot of the dam is only a few inches deep, they even hired a scuba driver.  They presented the commissioners a report showing that it would cost close to a million dollars to restore the dam. Never mind that there was no necessity or reason to restore a low hazard scenic dam to as new condition.  While the commissioners were actually on board with demolishing the dam, by now there were political considerations. Thousands of people had rallied in defense of the dam, and over a hundred were now attending the meetings. The commissioners decided to commission their own study, again designed to encourage demolition. The new study put the cost of restoration at 600K, again unnecessarily rebuilding a portion of the low hazard dam. When the commissioners put the issue to voter referendum, they never expected the voters to approve the cost and possible tax increase. It was their plan that the voters would decide to do away with the dam, at no political consequence to themselves.

The Wildlands Conservancy started undermining the dam by sending their engineering reports to Harrisburg, which is anti-dam anyway. South Whitehall should have never condoned the Wildlands interfering with the legal status of township property.  But rather than reprimand the Wildlands,  the park director, now public works director of the township, awarded them the contract to oversee the Greenway Project in the park. 

It took me five years and three editors at the Morning Call to get a story about the dam. Although I provided the reporter with all the information, they chose to take all the inflated costs at face value. If it is naive on their part, or covering up for the Wildlands and establishment,  I do not know. There will be a new board of commissioners starting in 2022...Hopefully they will defend the dam with Harrisburg, and save the taxpayers some unnecessary expense preserving our history.

pictured above in 2014, I'm starting the fight to save our dam

Jul 7, 2021

Morning Call Whitewashes Wehr's Dam

The reporter in yesterday's Morning Call article about Wehr's Dam went out of her way not to mention me. I say this because for five years I have been urging the paper to write about the status of the dam's repair.  After a heated discussion with the current editor this past February, he finally assigned a reporter to the topic, one year after agreeing to do so in February of 2020.  Although the reporter did use some material that I supplied her with, and she did interview a former commissioner I recommended,  for an advocate in her article she used someone not involved with the issue since 2016.  I suspect that the reluctance against mentioning me came from her boss's attitude about me and other bloggers. 

Worse than my slighted ego is the whitewashing of what has transpired, and the chicanery of the Wildlands Conservancy.  The reporter quotes a Wildlands director saying... 

“We don’t go pushing it if it’s not wanted,” she said. “It’s really the township’s call."
Actually, they did go pushing, and they pushed very hard.  The Wildlands communicated with the state back channel attacking the structural integrity of the dam.  The reporter knows this, because I supplied her with copies of the letters.

The only reason the township is beginning the repair permit procedure is because one of the main Wildlands supporters, Tori Morgan, lost the primary election.  However,  the director of public works in the township, Randy Cope, continues to stall, because he is the son of a former Wildlands director and joined at the hip with them.

Had the Wildlands Conservancy not muddied the waters with the state, the dam repair would have cost 50K and been done five years ago.  It will now cost 700k and take years.

photocredit:Gregg Obst

ADDENDUM: In the last state inspection all the state wanted was one small crack filled in, and the one bank downstream fixed. The township allowed the Wildlands Conservancy to go back-channel with the state DEP, and raise numerous superfluous issues in an attempt to fiscally condemn the dam. We will now have a dam way over-repaired, costing the taxpayer 10 times more than necessary. Hopefully the new commissioners will reconsider the township's relationship with the Wildlands Conservancy.

Jul 6, 2021

The Vegetable Gardens Of Allentown

When Charles M. Ritter passed away in 1964, his obituary headlined that he was a star athlete at Allentown High School when graduating in 1910. He spent most of his working career at Kuhns and Shankweiler, a major men's clothing emporium at 7th and Hamilton. In 1948 he was president of the Kiwanis Club.  During that era,  many men belonged to one service club or another.

He and his wife Anne lived near 12th and Linden, where his row house yard was dominated by a summer vegetable garden.  They had an outside cellar entrance,  basement stove and sink to facilitate canning vegetables.  

Their long, old harvest table shown above probably came from his rural childhood home in Orefield.  By summer's end it was covered with mason jars filled with vegetables, like those grown in hundreds of other backyard gardens across Allentown.

Jul 5, 2021

Morning Call Malarkey


Mike Miorelli published an editorial on Sunday about the charges against Ce-Ce Gerlach. He defended the paper not publishing the allegations against her before the election...  But there was never a political consideration given to not publishing that story. We would have done the same for any politician, or official for that matter, of either party.

Mr. Miorelli, not quite for any politician. You certainly didn't extend that courtesy to Emma Tropiano, when you assigned a reporter to ambush her at the Women's Club debate.

You certainly didn't extend that courtesy to me in 2005,  when your daily debate promo only showed pictures of two candidates, when there were three on the ballot. In addition to excluding me from the mayoral debate, you never ran a profile on me, or published my picture.

You certainly didn't hesitate to write an explosive article about Marty Northstein, right before the congressional election.

Mike Miorelli can claim that the paper treats everybody fairly, but its victims know better.  

UPDATE JULY 6: Blogger Bernie O'Hare reacts to Miorelli's explanation.

Jul 3, 2021

A Fixture of Hamilton Street's Past

The store cabinet shown above began its commercial life at Edwin H.Young's,  one of Allentown's first drug stores, located at 639 Hamilton Street. At some point in the mid 1930's Lloyd Buchman acquired the shelf and drawers for his book store at 920 Hamilton Street.  Aral Hollenbach acquired the business from Buchman's widow, Florence, and moved it to 1021 Hamilton.  After Hollenbach died, his widow Naomi continued operating the store, still called Buchman's, and stayed in business until the mid 1990's.

The drawer and shelf unit, with such a long Allentown history, is for sale by Alderfer Auction this coming Thursday.

Link to sale. 

Jul 2, 2021

Ce-Ce's Morning Call Merry-Go-Round

Just when I thought I was done writing about Ce-Ce Gerlach and The Morning Call, another doozy graces the paper... Paul Muschick, the columnist with whom I usually agree,  defends the embattled council woman. He thinks that she shouldn't resign, even citing that Pawlowski stayed on as mayor until forced out by his court conviction.  He argues that Ce-Ce hasn't been convicted yet, and is henceforth entitled to retain her council seat. I wish that columnist Paul was writing satire, but unfortunately he's serious.

Paul Muschick sets the Allentown governance bar pretty low when Pawlowski is the gold standard. Paul cites that you're innocent until proven guilty, but in Ce-Ce's case she has admitted dropping the boy off at the tent city and not reporting it, which is illegal for a social worker.

Ce-Ce championed for increased social worker response, financed by defunding the police, but ironically personified the weakness with that ill-conceived theory. 

The Morning Call has taken to printing exclusive reports, only visible to paying subscribers.  That  strategy eludes me as a business incentive.  In the case of this particular column by Muschick, perhaps paying customers shouldn't have to see it.

Jul 1, 2021

The Morning Call Massaging

The Morning Call has been massaging the local news over the decades... Yesterday's Ce-Ce Gerlach story is just one of the latest examples. When the paper gets caught in these awkward positions, they do damage control. Yesterday they put Gerlach's disclaimer in their headline... I have not committed any crimes.  The paper knows that it has already been established that she dropped the boy off at the tent city, and that as a mandated reporter she failed in her duty, and that is legally a crime.  Nevertheless, they printed her disclaimer in the headline as damage control, not for Gerlach, but for themselves.  Ce-Ce was one of their go to people, whom they have quoted dozens of times about affordable housing.

But exactly who is the Morning Call? The Morning Call for the last number of years is mostly Mike Miorelli. As the long time editor, and now as publisher, these omissions and decisions reflect his opinions.  The amount of verification necessary for a story depends on his attitude about the person or topic.  While I disagree with him, and him with me, on numerous topics,  I must admit he still puts out a good paper with ever decreasing facilities and staff.

AMENDMENT JULY1, 2021: A lot happened overnight at virtual 6th & Linden....The corner is still there, but the paper isn't. Emperor Miorelli has now given Gerlach the thumb down, and the new city beat reporters (Shortell and Hall) have started to dig her political grave.  I seldom now link to Morning Call stories because too many of my readers hit a paywall, and recently the paper has started exclusive articles, only visible to their subscribers.

Jun 29, 2021

Morning Call's Go To People

I have often complained about the Morning Call's go to people.  They ask the same people over and over for their opinion about certain topics....Tony Iannelli about business, Alan Jennings about the poor, Chris Borick about politics and Ce-Ce Gerlach about the NIZ and affordable housing.

While Ce-Ce came in fourth in the May 18th mayoral primary,  many had considered her the person to beat. While the separate candidate election treatment was fair enough,  Ce-Ce's name had long become a regular in the paper.

When the news broke today about Ce-Ce being charged by District Attorney Jim Martin for her less than responsible action with a runaway youth,  frankly, I suspected that the paper had purposefully sat on the story until after the election.  However, I've been assured by the reporter that although the allegations were widely known on facebook and O'Hare's Ramblings,  they could not be confirmed independently by the paper.

I do believe the reporter that he couldn't go with a story that couldn't be confirmed.  Unrelated to the Ce-Ce story, there will now be a new reporter for the city (Allentown) beat, because the current one is coincidentally taking a management offered buyout.*  He hadn't been on the job long enough to have what I would consider institutional knowledge of the city or players. The same was true for his predecessors...it has been at least a decade since anyone had the beat long enough to know the back stories.  That problem with the paper only gets worse.

* The city beat reporter's departure actually occurred this past Friday, but he is credited as a contributor to today's MC story.

UPDATE 5:25 PM:  The Morning Call story has been amended with quotes from both Gerlach and her attorney, but with no indication of such amendment.  Ironically, Gerlach's attorney calls the charges politically motivated.  From my viewpoint,  the editor not insisting on the story before the election, despite it breaking on social media in early May, was politically motivated. 

Blogger LVCI also reports on the Gerlach case

UPDATE JUNE 30 1:58AM: In addition to the Morning Call updating the story, they also changed the headline to include Gerlach's denial of any criminal act. After using Gerlach as one of their go to people for so long, the charges must be awkward for the paper. Blogger Bernie O'Hare also notes the paper's shortcomings in regard to Gerlach in his post today.

The Fountain Pool Of My Youth

While I've been involved in many issues in Allentown over the years, defending the park system of my youth is the one I find the most rewarding.  It's not my personal memory lane I care about, but rather an iconic park system that was in itself a designation. 

I remember the picture postcard racks in the dime stores on Hamilton Street.  They were full of postcards of the Allentown parks,  including the rose garden, and along the different creeks. The card shown above is the former Fountain Park Pool, now closed for many years.  Although most of my swims took place at Cedar Beach Pool,  our gang would visit the other four pools when one of us could borrow the family car.

Although budget and staffing concerns have closed several of the pools, wanton destruction now ruins the remaining.  Cedar Beach had to close because of broken glass in the pool. The spray park at Bucky Boyle closed because of a contaminant dumped into the drain. 

We're now in an era when we need police in the schools.  I suppose we'll soon need them at the park pools as well.

Jun 28, 2021

Around The Corner


Yesterday's post about the zoning hearing for Rite-Aid, out on North 7th Street, showed a classic 1950 black and white photograph of Hamilton Street. Today, we go right around the corner, on South 7th Street. Being the oldest blogger in the valley, and being an aficionado of old photographs, you will be submitted to these excursions. Before we begin, a few notes about yesterday's image. Notice that there are many more shoppers on the north side of Hamilton, than the south. This phenomenon always existed. Were the better stores on the north side? Real estate prices and rents were always higher on the Hess's side. OK, lets go around the corner. The Suburban Line Bus is getting ready to head west, the county poor home being the last stop; Today it is known as Cedarbrook. The Lehigh Valley Transit Company had their main stop a block west, on S. 8th Street. The bus is parked in front of the YMCA, which housed a market at street level. If the photograph was extended on the right side, you would see the monument. Across Hamilton Street is Whelan Drug Store, that location currently occupied by a bank. The billboard above, then advertising local Neuweiler Beer, was a prime sign location. Behind the drug store stands the Dime Bank, which will remain as part of the new transformational Arena Complex. Glad you could join me, now get off the bus, and back into 2011.

reprinted from November of 2011

Jun 25, 2021

Morning Call Columns Part 2


Yesterday, I took chocolate cake recipe columnist Bill White to task for a little bark with no bite.  I think much more of Paul Muschick, but even he seems to walk the Morning Call Line, which is always to go gentle on the establishment and its shakers.  Muschick rightfully questioned the concept of rail from Lehigh Valley to New York City.... It would be an enormous cost for not that many riders.  He even mentioned that the money could be better spent on local roads.

What Muschick didn't mention was the Route 22 bunnyhop.  The clogged highway was finally set to be widened,  when Pat Browne had the funds diverted to build an additional interchange west of Allentown, which would enhance Jaindl and other developers' warehouse portfolios. Although there was a pretense that Rt. 78 is an interstate, and that is the federal funding priority, local taxpayers had already paid for the engineering for 22's widening.

Drive over Rt. 22 on the Cedar Crest Blvd. overpass any afternoon at 4:30, and see the highway bumper to bumper. 

Jun 24, 2021

Adorable Columns In The Morning Call


Mike Schlossberg's opinion piece in the Morning Call was rich in irony. He was rallying against House Bill 1300, which he called a vile attempt to undercut our democracy. Mike felt that the bill would make voting less convenient, something that he knows about and cherishes. Mike likes voting to be easy, even when he's casting a vote for someone else.

In 2015, Mike was caught voting for a representative who was not in attendance at the state house. Furthermore, it was determined that he had no permission from the missing representative to do so, and that the vote cast didn't even reflect that representative's preference. This being Pennsylvania, Scholossberg's punishment was a silent reprimand. 

Adding to my amusement was a column by Bill White. In it Bill claims that he always advocated for term limits. I don't recall Bill ever saying that Mike has been there too long... Bill never gets that specific.

Mike went directly from college to the state house, and into the Morning Call's good graces.

Jun 23, 2021

Allentown's Vanishing History


Years ago a reader sent me the above image.  It looks down the hill from 7th and Hamilton, north, toward Linden Street. He had been attempting to locate the old Lafayette Radio store on 7th street, because of a pleasant memory from his childhood. By my day the store had moved onto the southern side of the 700 block of Hamilton Street. History is quickly succumbing to the wreaking ball in Allentown. All the buildings shown above, on the unit block of 7th Street, have been knocked down for the arena and Reilly's Strata complexes.  When Salomon Jewelry departed,  Tucker Yarn remained one of Hamilton Street's last remaining businesses from the glory days.

Phil and Rose Tucker opened their first yarn store on N. 7th St. in 1949. That first store can be seen on the left side of the above photo. The Tucker Yarn Company had been at its current location at 950 Hamilton Street for over 50 years. For knitting enthusiasts the endless inventory was legendary. Phil told me years ago how even in May, traditionally a slow month for the industry, Hess's annual flower show kept Hamilton Street and his store busy. A busy Hamilton Street is a memory now, shared only by a couple of surviving merchants. Although many of Tucker's customers were elderly, the business was much more than a time capsule. His daughter Mae, nationally known in the trade, gave classes and operated a large mail order web site.

Tucker Yarn has closed.  In the near future you will see the building replaced by one more new office building.  This blogger will continue his downtown recons, but I will no longer be sitting in a familiar place with familiar faces.

The above image can be found in Doug Peters' Lehigh Valley Transit

reprinted from November of 2019

Jun 22, 2021

Two Ton Galento


In an era of tough men, Tony "Two Ton" Galento was a standout. Although he would never win a Mr. America contest, his left hook could knock down any man, including the legendary Joe Louis. Tony owned a bar in Orange, New Jersey, didn't train, drank beer and ate large meals before he fought. Between 1928 and 1944 he fought 110 times, knocking out 56 of his opponents.

He met the Baer brothers in back to back fights later in his career, losing both bouts, but not before knocking 6'7'' Buddy Baer down. The famous fight with Louis occurred at Yankee Stadium in June of 1939, before Galente beat Lou Nova in the infamous dirty fight. Tony was king of the world in the third round as Louis lay on the canvas, but he got up at the eight count, and knocked Galante out in the next round. Louis would later say that Tony Galante was one of the toughest men he ever fought.
post reprinted from May 30, 2010, bottom photo, after Lou Nova fight, added

Jun 21, 2021

Boxing's Giant Era


In California these days, everybody walks around with a yoga mat strapped to their back. That certainly wasn't the case in the 1930's, when heavyweight contender Lou Nova studied yoga. Nova was the World Amateur Heavyweight Champion and a proponent of clean living. He won his first twenty two fights as a professional. His promoters said he perfected the Cosmic Punch. Only 6'2", he fought in the era of giants. He handed giant Abe Simon his first defeat after thirteen victories, eleven by knockout. Nova knocked out 6'4'' Max Baer twice. The 1939 knockout is one second away, in the above photograph. Baer himself had won the championship by knocking out Primo Carnera, the Italian giant who was 6'6" and weighed 284 lbs. Baer lost the championship to the Cinderella Man, Jim Braddock. Joe Louis took the belt from Braddock and held it for twelve years, being arguably the best fighter in history. Clean living didn't serve Lou Nova so well with the notorious dirty fighter Two Ton Tony Galento. Galento almost gouged his eye out, putting him in the hospital for weeks. Nova got his shot with Louis on September 29, 1941, but fell in six. Nova would go on to act in movies and even was a write-in candidate for President of the United States. He dropped out of the campaign because his mother was afraid he would catch a cold shaking so many hands. She wasn't afraid of him being in the ring with some of the toughest men in the world.

reprinted from December of 2012

Jun 18, 2021

Images Of Allentown Past


Tillie's Bakery, on the narrow 900 block of Liberty Street, was actually a family factory outlet store. Behind the house, whose living room served as the store, facing an alley called Fountain Street, was Long's Bakery. Long's produced small plastic wrapped shoefly pies and breakfast cakes, which were distributed in local grocery stores throughout Allentown. Tillie Long would open the bakery store several hours each day, and the small selection of wrapped bake goods would quickly be snatched up by knowledgeable neighbors. Peter and Tillie operated the factory and bakery front for the better part of a century. Afterwards, the business was operated by their son, William. The bakery building on Fountain Street is now apartments.

reprinted from May of 2013

Jun 17, 2021

How You Were Cheated

At the end of 2000, despite the majority of neighbors in opposition, The West Park Historic District was enacted. The City Administration, City Council and The Morning Call all cooperated in ignoring the true sentiments of the property owners and the State guidelines to implement what they felt was in the public good. I mailed the below documents to the opposing property owners, and for a return address the envelope said How You Were Cheated. My intention is to show how we must guard and fight against this sort of assumption by our elected leaders. I mean no offense to my friends who were on the other side of this issue.
click on documents to enlarge



reprinted from February of 2008

Jun 16, 2021

J. Molovinsky, Part 3, Wenz Company

This past weekend there was an auction at the former Wenz Company monument factory in the 1900 block of Hamilton Street. This facility has played several parts in Allentown's history, besides having produced thousands of tombstones. Enormous blocks of granite still remain from when it was the last stop on the Quarry Barber railroad branch line. Sculptures remain from the Phil Berman era, when artists used the Wenz equipment for monumental art. lastly, there are hundreds and hundreds of old tombstones, which were replaced over the decades, in local cemeteries with replacement markers. As mentioned in Part 1 of this post series, part of an old tombstone led me to discover my great grandmother's grave on Fountain Hill. That sculpture was made at Wenz, and Jennie Molovinsky's original stone also lies at Wenz's.

My grandfather came to Allentown as a young man in 1893. After working and saving for a number of years, he brought his parents over from the Old Country. The former synagogue on 2nd. Street had just acquired their cemetery off Fullerton Avenue when his mother died. Jewish tradition dictated that a man was the first burial in a new cemetery, so she was buried in an old Jewish Cemetery, on Fountain Hill. Several years later her husband, my great grandfather, was killed while being robbed on Basin Street. He is buried on Fullerton Avenue.

reprinted from June of 2014

Jun 15, 2021

What The Morning Call Could Learn From Allentown

I chuckled the other day when I read Bill White's column about what developers could learn from Levittown.  White was referring to the planned neighborhood development in the early 1950's with its own school.  What he didn't realize was that south Allentown's Little Lehigh Manor, from the early 1940's, was one of first in the country complete with its own school. It was followed in a couple of years by Midway Manor on the east side.

Allentown and the Lehigh Valley led the way during post war era with its heavy industry, commerce and technology. More so, we had a locally owned paper familiar with both the history and local doings of the time. The publisher then was a founder and partner in Park & Shop, a cornerstone of the booming Hamilton Street in Allentown. 

The Morning Call changed from local ownership to national newspaper chains. Although only a few blocks from city hall, they were clueless about a mayor rigging contracts for over a decade. Whistle blowers such as myself were branded naysayers and blocked from the letters page. 

Now I still learn from the paper...There are good reporters covering local government and events. However, it is up to readers and local commentators like myself to point out patterns and possible abuses.... The Morning Call has no motivation to take on the establishment in any way.

photo shows Mayday at Parkway Elementary School, one of the first planned neighborhood schools in the country

Jun 14, 2021

Fairview Cemetery, An Allentown Dilemma

The condition of Fairview Cemetery has been in decline for decades.  It first caught my attention in 1997, when I began hunting for the grave of a young woman who died in 1918. 

By 1900, Fairview was Lehigh Valley's most prestigious cemetery.  It would become the final resting place of Allentown's most prominent citizens, including Harry Trexler, John Leh, Jack Mack and numerous others.  Despite my status as a dissident chronicler of local government and a critic of the local press,  my postings caught the attention of a previous editor at the Morning Call, whose own grandmother is buried at Fairview.  While the paper did a story on my efforts in 2008,  and I did manage to coordinate a meeting between management and some concerned citizens,  any benefit to the cemetery's condition was short lived.

Internet search engines have long arms. In the following years I would receive messages from various people upset about conditions at the cemetery.  A few years ago, Tyler Fatzinger became interested in the cemetery, and took it upon himself to start cleaning up certain areas. I suggested to Taylor that he start a facebook page, so that concerned citizens and distressed relatives might connect.  Once again the situation caught the paper's attention, and another story appeared in 2019.  Tyler Fatzinger was recently informed by the cemetery operator that he was trespassing, and must cease from his efforts to improve the cemetery.

Why would both the cemetery and city establishments reject help, and discourage shining a light on this situation? Orphan cemeteries are a problem across the country. An orphan cemetery is an old cemetery no longer affiliated with an active congregation or a funded organization.  These cemeteries are often large, with no concerned descendants or remaining funds.  While perpetual care may have been paid by family decades earlier,  those funds in current dollars are woefully short.

In Fairview's case, the current management operates a crematorium and also conducts new burials on the grounds. Funds from the previous management were supposedly not passed forward.  While the Trexler Trust maintains Harry Trexler's grave, and a few other plots are privately maintained,  there understandably is no desire to take responsibility for the entire sixty acre cemetery. The current operator provides minimal care to the cemetery,  with even less for those sections toward the back.  While the cemetery grass may only be cut twice a season,  that's still more care than a true "orphan cemetery" would receive.  Some of the new burials appear to be on old plots, owned by other families, but unused for many, many decades, and on former areas designated as pathways between those plots. There seems to be no regulatory oversight. Recently, both state senator Pat Browne and the Orloski Law firm have acted in behalf of the cemetery operator.

While family members may be exasperated by the neglect,  local government does not seem eager to adopt either the problem or the expense of Fairview Cemetery.

Jun 11, 2021

A Family Story

This post is unusually personal for this blog.  My grandfather came to Allentown from Russian Lithuania  in 1891.  In the next few years he was joined by his parents, and five siblings.   The family settled on 2nd Street, along with many other Jewish immigrants of that period.  He worked in various jobs, including a cigar factory, until he could establish himself as a butcher, as in the old country.  Because we were here for over a hundred years,  I consider myself somewhat of a local historian.

As a boy growing up in Little Lehigh Manor, on the ridge above Lehigh Parkway, I explored the WPA structures when they were still comparatively new.  Because of that background, I was able to uncover the Boat Landing, and advocate for our  traditional park system.  One of my father's uncles worked for the park system, caring for Lehigh Parkway.

What brought me to this post is my great grandmother's tombstone in Fountain Hill, which I recently visited.  She is buried in an old Jewish cemetery that is no longer in use. Although, her tombstone is very old, it replaced an even older one , that then laid behind the former Wentz's tombstone factory at 20th and Hamilton, for many decades.  I am the last Molovinsky in Allentown.

photo taken behind Wentz's before recent demolition of that facility.

reprinted from previous years

Jun 10, 2021

Waging War Against Allentown Park Weeds

Today, molovinsky leaves downtown Hamilton Street, and travels twenty blocks west to Cedar Park.  As an advocate for the traditional park system, I have been waging a war against the riparian buffers, which make our  magnificent parks an unsightly mess.  In Allentown, because the storm runoff systems are piped directly into the park streams, these token buffers are just a useless, unsightly insult.  This hot summer, this insult is added to injury, because Cedar Beach Pool is closed. Along the entire length of Cedar Park, there is not one area cleared of high weeds.  You would think that out of a mile of creek side,  we could mow the grass for at least fifty feet,  so that some children might enjoy the stream, as generations have in the past.

photo by molovinsky

above reprinted from July 29 of 2015 

UPDATE JUNE 10, 2021: I haven't made much progress in my park battle against the weed wall. There is now a very small area on either side of the creek by the wooden cross over bridge, just west of the Rose Garden, where a mother with children can access the creek...There should be more such spots.  The park system still struggles to find lifeguards to man our swimming pools.  I still speak out on such issues.

Jun 9, 2021

The Arts Walk, Taxpayer's Merry-Go-Round


I find the revitalization of Allentown incredibly unexciting... It's rather unbelievable that there could be a $billion dollars of new construction, but not 10 cents worth of new vibe.

Despite Morning Call article after article, about both new office workers and more apartments, nothing has changed. Walking or driving down Hamilton Street during the week shows little sign of life. On the weekends, there is no sign of life.

By any measure other than J.B. Reilly's real estate portfolio, it is an incredible taxpayer funded failure. The only enthusiasm is from those with a vested interest.

pictured above, some former merchants of the Arts Walk who have come and gone.

Jun 8, 2021

Allentown School District Retrospective


One of the most amazing things about Allentown is that the population, despite the problems, has remained about the same since 1928. That was the year Allentown celebrated reaching 100,000. Today, we are about 106.000. Although the numbers stayed the same, the demographics have changed drastically. We are now officially a minority city. When I grew up, there was a saying, If you ain't Dutch, you ain't much. How's that for political correctness? Today, if you want to see a Pennsylvania Dutchman, you have to look at the picture on a bag of pretzels.

During my school years, a delinquent was a kid smoking a cigarette in the alley. Today, we have machete attacks, and parents beating someone else's kid in a classroom. In this environment, should we be concerned about math scores in Singapore? There is a disconnect between the discipline problems and the preoccupation for better scores on the standardized tests; Increasing civility is much more important. If we could get that math score up, will the public overlook the machete attack? We'll build a new school next to Jackson Elementary, move the students, and put the machete attackers in the old Jackson. Then, we'll take the real achievers and put them in an academy of excellence. Let's hope not too many parents insist that their child belongs in the academy. Let's hope that the prison school works out. We all agree that all the students are a precious commodity. What we really need is safe classrooms, conducive to learning. We need supervised streets, conducive for getting to and from school safely. Isn't it interesting that a child can leave Central Catholic at 4th and Chew, and be safer than a child leaving William Allen at 17th and Chew?

The photograph, from the late 1940's, shows a kindergarden class before Lehigh Parkway Elementary School was completed. One of the twin houses served both as the neighborhood school and church.

reprinted from December 2010

UPDATE JUNE 8, 2021: Several years ago the district had a national search for a new superintendent, preoccupied with hiring a minority, who more resembled the students. The gentleman is now moving on to a bigger district and paycheck, and the district is again conducting a national search. If the school board weren't such slow learners they would hire their best administrator from within, regardless of color.

Jun 7, 2021

Kids Of The Parkway






There were hundreds of us, we were the baby boomers. The neighborhood was built for returning GI's, and the streets were named after the planes of WW2; Liberator, Catalina, and Coronado. The twin homes were wedged between Jefferson Street and the southern ridge above Lehigh Parkway. Now called Little Lehigh Manor, we knew it simply as Lehigh Parkway, and we had our own school.

Historical Fact:
The original part of the school building contained four classrooms, a teacher's room, and a health room. It replaced the Catalina Avenue School which existed in a home near the present site. Lehigh Parkway received national publicity because it was being build as a result of the new neighborhood. Thus, the "Neighborhood School Concept" was born.









Because of the school and the park, the neighborhood was really self contained. The Lehigh SuperMarket on Lehigh Street was within walking distance. Soon, FoodFair would build their first large Supermarket, also on Lehigh Street, which was even closer. Today it has developed into The Parkway Shopping Center. We kids enjoyed our own Halloween Parade and Easter Egg hunt.






Because there were so many of us, Parkway Elementary only went through 2nd. grade. We would take the bus to Jefferson Elementary for grades 3 through 6.

Historical Fact:
Jefferson Elementary used to be a high school, and for years, it had separate girls' and boys' entrances. These entrances were turned into windows at some point, but the exterior of the building still has the two entrances marked.


These were some of my friends from 3th grade. They all lived in the Parkway. Not only were they all boys, only yesterday, 56 years later, I learned the name of the girl I'm holding hands with in the May Day picture above.

Historical Facts from Allentown School District Website

ADDENDUM: other Parkway Neighborhood Posts,
Time Capsule
Allentown On My Mind

reprinted from previous years