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Remember: Allentown Park Log 18: Irving Park

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Allentown Park Log 18: Irving Park

Located next to Dieruff High School on the eastside of Allentown, is “the park of the future”. I mean, it was once billed as such following its construction by the WPA in the thirties. I would have to say that Irving park has not lived up to its former moniker. The sets of stone staircases built there by the WPA are all but ruins today:



It is sad to see a living piece of history sit in that kind of a state. I have said many times on this blog that we owe our park system to the WPA and in turn I think that we owe the WPA the proper maintenance that keeps these structures intact. Not every WPA project is an untouchable sacred relic; I remain firm in the resolution that the walls around the Jordan Creek at Jordan Park need removing. At Irving Park, these staircases need to be fixed. They define the park in a way that separates it from nearby Keck Park and the East Side Reservoir.

Without the stairs, Irving Park would be an ordinary urban park. There are various courts and a baseball diamond. A pool and adjoining pool house sit near a corner of the park. The pool house was erected at the same time as the staircases.




During my visit to Irving Park, while saddened by the state of the staircases, I thought the park to be a great asset to the local community and perhaps even to the high school. There are active community groups over here that apparently put on a holiday display in Irving Park around Christmastime.

If you are in any way interested in the history of WPA projects in our area, Irving Park is a must visit. It may not have lived out the promise of its early nickname but it remains an urban asset and a beautiful green space in an otherwise entirely developed area.

Directions from 15th and Chew in Allentown:

View From 15th and Chew to Irving Park in a larger map

1 Comments:

Blogger michael molovinsky said...

i have said on my blog, and i repeat here, shame on the trexler trust and shame on Friends of the Parks for funding and supporting new projects while the icons dissipate.

August 22, 2009 at 10:09 AM  

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