Pen Argyl’s Weona Park Carousel a Long-Time Beacon of Summer in Lehigh Valley
By Andrew Kleiner on November 12, 2019
This article originally appeared in the November 14, 2019 issue of “LV Connections,” a quarterly newsletter LVEDC distributes to municipal officials in the Lehigh Valley.
The Made Possible in Lehigh Valley initiative has been sharing the success stories of the people and companies in our region and marketing the region as an attractive location for businesses and talent. This exciting campaign may be brand new, but Lehigh Valley has a long and storied history of making great things possible.
For proof, look no further than the Weona Park carousel in Pen Argyl.
Alongside Route 512, the sight of the Weona Park carousel has been a beacon of summer for generations of people from the Lehigh Valley and from points beyond. The carousel was built by Philadelphia’s Dentzel Company in the early 1900s and has been spinning on warm nights in Pen Argyl for 96 years. The stewardship of Pen Argyl Borough and its residents have made this cultural touchstone possible.
Pen Argyl Borough Manager Robin Zmoda noted that the “Pen Argyl community has always really come together to support the park”. Weona Park existed in the years before the carousel arrived in 1923. Back then, Zmoda said the park had “a dirt bottom pool, the baseball field was a football field and most of the amenities were absent.”
The first major series of changes to Weona Park came in the 1930s with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Works Progress Administration (WPA). WPA constructions have become iconic structures and places in the Lehigh Valley, from the staircase at Martin Luther King Boulevard in Allentown to Monocacy Park in Bethlehem. At Weona Park, according to Zmoda, the WPA helped build “the band shell, bath house, and stand.” Years later, in the 1950s, the Community Center was added to the growing park.
In 1994, the citizens of Pen Argyl came together and raised $100,000 to restore the animals that serve as the seats on the carousel. Ms. Zmoda noted: “The fact is that Pen Argyl residents hold it so near and dear to their hearts and support its improvements while embracing the past but moving things forward.” Ten years before this conversation with Robin in Pen Argyl, the carousel has been added to the Natonal Register of Historic Places.
Ninety-six years after the carousel arrived in Weona Park, there are no signs that people’s love and enjoyment of those spinning animals has waned in the slightest. Parents take their children there and those children bring their children years later and the cycle continues. Weona Park and its historic carousel are at once remembrances of the Lehigh Valley’s past and a beacon into the future. The citizens of Pen Argyl are the caretakers that made this landmark happen. Lehigh Valley made it possible.
LVEDC Issues RFP for Alumni Survey
The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) has issued a formal request for proposals (RFP). It can be found below, and a DOC version can be downloaded here. [...]Continue to Next Page