Jun 30, 2016

Lehigh Parkway's Forgotten Island

Director Harms Lehigh Parkway
February 04, 1993|The Morning Call
To the Editor:

The WPA in the 1930s created a three-acre island by diverting water from the Little Lehigh Creek. The island had remained a source of joy for birders, naturalists, and nondescript strollers. No one foresaw Marushak arriving on the scene with wrecking tools to rip up the bridge, terminating public access to the island. Three masonry piers remain in place. Also remaining are 12 discarded auto tires gathering silt in the small stream.

ALLENTOWN (February 4, 1993)

20 years later......
Most people have long ago forgotten that there was a bridge to the island, although the stone piers still remain, obscured by overgrowth. The curved wall and landing of the Boat Landing, shown in the lower right of the photograph, are buried. In 2009, with help from others who appreciate our treasured parks, I had the privilege to
rescue the steps which lead to the landing.  Over the decades, the debris and silt mentioned above has enlarged the island, almost to the boat landing.  This Saturday, April 6, in conjunction with Friends of The Parks, I will conduct a tour of current and former WPA sites remaining in Lehigh Parkway. 

Michael Molovinsky

 reprinted from April of 2013


spencer said...

Funny you mention this. I was biking with my dad thru lehigh parkway once. I was always curious why there were was structure there for a brdige. yet no bridge. I asked my dad why this was, (as he worked for the city for some 20 years, until the mid 90s), and he said it was closed down in the 80s due to a criminal element operating out of the island, Drug dealers and such.

Jamie Kelton said...

Mr Molovinsky

This is an area of the parkway I never knew about until reading your post. I found it using google images on the north side. We must have driven over that bridge and gone up the hill a thousand times, but I never noticed it until now.

This looks like a wonderful recreation area for small non-motorized boats or canoes to be recovered, or even kids floating in the creek in innertubes. Yes, it would take some money to restore it, but not an overly large amount, comparing to what is being spent on Hamilton Street for arguably less benefit to the public.

Restoring this area, along with the island to a decent, usable condition should seem to be on the radar of the Trexler Trust. I know Pawlowski wouldn't spend a nickle on it, but the trust was established for just this kind of thing. And yes, I also know that the Trust is very reluctant to spend money on maintenance projects, but then what exactly do they do other than attend board meetings and put that they are members of the trust on their resumes?

Now that I know that this part of the Parkway exists, next time I'm up in Allentown I'll head over to it and actually see it in person. Thank you for sharing this.

george schaller said...

The previous poster used kind words for you and trust board appointees?!($ There seems to me too be deep underlining issues and agendas that the public will not be part of design implimentation!?($

George Ruth said...

If true, it says wonders about the decadence of my Baby Boomer generation. That the bridge might have been removed because it was a drug haven is disheartening. It is right in line, however, about the wisdom of free needles and condoms and abortions.