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Remember: Park Log Supplemental: Desolation Towpath

Monday, July 13, 2009

Park Log Supplemental: Desolation Towpath

I made a discovery this weekend at Canal Park. Before I get to that though I must describe the west end of the park; I neglected it when I wrote my park log. When driving to Canal Park if you make a right after crossing the train tracks you will drive over a ridiculously pothole riddled gravel road and reach a small parking lot just past the Hamilton Street Bridge.

Here you will be treated to a marvelous view full of both the history of Allentown and her future.

In the distance, on the site of the former A+B slaughterhouse sits the America on Wheels museum. It is here that the beginnings of the long awaited and almost storied “Lehigh Landing” project may one day begin to take shape. The last remnants of the old Hamilton Street Bridge that was wiped out in a flood during the fifties are visible at the edge of the dam, in front of the museum.

On this side of the river, there are ruins and edifices to industries past aplenty. Here is where at one time the Lehigh Canal powered Allentown into an industrial and manufacturing future.

My discovery however, is further past the dam, down river. There is a trail here.

This trail bears no resemblance to the D+L towpath that lies feet to the east. This trail is much more emblematic of the current state of Canal Park than the D+L. It is a sad wasteland. The railroad has killed the vegetation on the right bank and there is more garbage on the left than plant life.

Here, under the garbage, could be another great addition to our parks system.

I hope that in the trails plan this area is addressed. It is unique in its closeness to the Lehigh; there is no other park in Allentown that could offer the views and closeness this area can. As it is now, it would be hard for me to even recommend you visit it.

As I left the park in the beginnings of a thunderstorm, I took the time to think about the limitless possibilities this area and the still undeveloped “Lehigh Landing” project has and I watched the reflection of our city in the waters of the river. I pray that more people see what I see here at Canal Park and realize what can be. If you aren’t sure what I am sure of; please take a walk further down and journey on the towpath. They got it right there.

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Blogger michael molovinsky said...

andrew, i too discovered an impromptu dump this weekend, in lehigh parkway. it is on the old wagon trail, which leads from the top of the park (southside) to the hill above the log and stone cabin. this trail, like the towpath, predates the park system and is an important link to our history. i believe preservation and maintenance are much more important than a new destination playground or wedding pavilion. at any rate, continue your endeavors, they are a real contribution.
ps. the gunite shown in your photo of the mirror pond was necessary because the city over-dug the pond, undermining the walls. the "operation" almost killed the patient

July 13, 2009 at 12:23 PM  

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