Aug 2, 2013

Drag Races And Such At Dorney Park

Dorney Park is celebrating it's 125th Anniversary, as noted by The Morning Call. A landmark that old, has provided memories for five generations. As a teenager in the 1960's, friday nights at Castle Rock, a dance hall from the twenties, were literally a Freddy Cannon moment. Park admission was free, and there were many attractions which no longer exist, most victim to fire. In addition to the dance hall, there was also a roller skating ring and a stock car race track. The picture above was part of a large neon sign on Hamilton Blvd., on the northwest corner with Cedar Crest Blvd.

In 2007 John Travolta,dressed in drag, portrayed Hollywood's version of Hairspray, initially made by campy underground film maker John Waters, and shot at Dorney Park in 1988. Travolta's part was originally played by a less wholesome, real life female impersonator named Devine, who died shortly after the movie was released.

In my father's time, you could get the trolley at 7th and Hamilton and take it to Dorney Park. Through the 1980's, you could still drive on the road which went right through the middle of the park. Now, combined with a water park, Dorney has become a regional attraction. Busloads of children and families come from New York and elsewhere, but it will always remain a rite of passage for local youngsters.

reprinted from May of 2009.

UPDATE: The large Dorney Park sign stood on the northwest corner of Hamilton and Cedar Crest.  Historic stone homes,  including the current King George Inn, stood on the other three corners. The intersection was called Dorneyville. At the Dorney Sign there was a diagonal road which also entered the intersection,  and the sign pointed to follow that road to the amusement park.


Anonymous said...

The trolley to Dorney Park departed from 7th and Hamilton Sts., not 8th and Hamilton Sts. It went south on 7th St. and west on Walnut St. on its way to the Duck Farm.

Jim Layland

michael molovinsky said...

Jim@10:40, i noticed that when i reprinted the post, but decided to stay with the 2009 version. actually, it is my understanding that the reading trolley ran from 7th, halfway between walnut and hamilton. i will change the post to 7th and hamilton, thanks

Anonymous said...

Lehighcounty land development 101, MM this story really brings back forgotten memories and the history of how this now thriving area was to come about¿ Bill Danials rock palace, Castel Gardens and than last but not least Rick Orloski's law officeses and many more¿ Now lighting has hit a house on canal rd on the way to catty and made that area developable¿

Anonymous said...

Some one told me this week a well known character at the park was ALFONSO the CLOWN... LOL! Was this true?

Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

This is true. He was the Dorney Park mascot. There was a statue of him there as you entered through through the main gate off of the drive-through road, if memory serves me right. Someone correct me if I missed a point of history here about the location spot of the statue....PJF

Anonymous said...

Chip and putt was always fun too¿ Does anyonelse see lehigh landholdings LLC, building there portfolio for future development in the northeast of lehighcounty¿
Futhermore from my first blog on this thred of yours MM, allentown paint under the bridge were american parkway runs, than there was the trexler lumber yard the lit up the sky over allentown and is now a oldfolk highrise¿

freddo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
freddo said...

"Alfonso" is close-it was actually "Alfundo". What "Alfundo" stood for was "Al" for Allentown-"Fun" for "fun" and "Do" for "Dorney Park"

A brief history of "Alfundo" is given here:

--FREDDO-Kid who grew up in Allentown who now lives in Philly.

PS-I love the historical stuff on this blog!

John Patton said...

Alfonso, it was ALFUNDO. Close, but no cigar lol.

Anonymous said...

See I knew I made a mistake somewhere there. It was "Alfundo!"
I am sorry about that Alfonso, but I was right about the clown. Many people think I resemble him in more ways than one. HA!....PJF