|Next Meeting ; July 23, 2018
|According to an article in the 1978 Proceedings of the Lehigh County
Historical Society, the project began as part of the demand during the
Great Depression for public housing for low-income workers. In 1937,
Congress passed the National Housing Act. Allentown already had made
plans for the housing and created the Allentown Housing Authority -- the
first in the state -- to take advantage of the federal program.
Between November 1937 and March 1938, plans for 322 brick-veneer
units were drawn up. Hanover Acres opened for public inspection in
December 1939. It was the fifth federal housing development built in the
nation and the first in Pennsylvania.
On May 26, 1942, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt came to Allentown to speak
at Muhlenberg College for Women's Day, part of the school's bicentennial
week program marking the arrival in 1742 of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg,
principal organizer of Lutheranism in America. Roosevelt's visit included a
trip earlier that day to Hanover Acres.
Roosevelt arrived at 3:15 p.m. from Philadelphia with Reba Tyson, wife of
Muhlenberg College President Levering Tyson, and was greeted by the
Allentown Housing Authority board: Charles W. Ettinger, Harry K. Harley,
Ray J. Bader, Lee R. Kahler and Robert Ochs. Other officials present were
Executive Director Anthony Bickel, counsel Linn H. Schantz and Anna
Eisenbach Erdman, tenancy relations counsel.
They took Roosevelt to 2204 Hanover Acres, then the home of Luther
Ebert, a Bethlehem Steel worker. He was at work, but his wife, Arlene, and
four of their six children, Sandra, Carol, Bruce and Gary, were at home.
As they walked, The Morning Call noted, several of the women who lived
in the development were overheard talking about the cotton, rather than
nylon, stockings that Roosevelt was wearing.
They were told that she was not wearing them because of necessity "and
possibly not of preferment, but the wife of the president was wearing
cotton stockings because it was just one more way she could set an
example of conservation to the rest of the nation in these critical times."
According to the Call, Arlene Ebert was ironing when the first lady walked
into her kitchen. Ebert was so startled, she nearly dropped her iron.
Roosevelt reached for Ebert's hand.
"I was so nervous my hand trembled when I was shaking hands with her,"
Ebert told the Call. "I will never forget this day."
Roosevelt walked around the development and was full of questions. She
talked about the need for a nursery school for Hanover Acres children.
Roosevelt expressed pleasure at seeing the wash airing on the
clothesline. In many urban apartments in that era, the poor often did not
have much room to adequately dry their clothes.
|It is the mission of the Allentown Fire Department to provide an environment
and social framework in which the lives of the citizens and the property of
individuals and business establishments are protected from harm or damage
through Fire Prevention, Inspections, Fire Education activities and
aggressive firefighting performances in conjunction with upgraded fire
equipment, ameliorated training and command enhancements.
The department personnel will perform as first responders to both medical
and hazardous material incidents. They will carry out duties equivalent to
their training in both fields. The department will also provide assistance
wherever possible with any other emergency situation that may arise
The Allentown Fire Department comprised 10 Companies within its then
current boundaries with the start of the annexation of the 14th and 15th
Wards in 1915 ... After annexation .... the East Allentown No. 12 fire
company (Dauphin and E. Walnut) and Rittersville No. 13 fire company
◾Rittersville No. 13 (2034 Hanover Ave.) became on line. But these fire
companies were relocated into one station in the 1950's when a new fire
building was built on IN. Irving Street .... Deterioration of this building led to
its demolition and the construction of a new fire building on Irving Street in
|Central Park's origins date to 1868 when J. Frank Reichart laid out a race
course north of the Allentown-Bethlehem turnpike (Hanover Avenue) which
was opened for trotting and pacing from May to August. In 1872 the
Rittersville Park Association was organized. The park was enlarged to 16
acres and was known as Manhattan Park.
When the Allentown & Bethlehem Rapid Traction Company took ownership
of the area from Thomas Ritter it was called The Greater Central Park.
Included in the park was a menagerie with quite a collection of animals,
including elephants. 
Central Park was what came to be called a "trolley car park." Trolley
companies did a brisk business during the work week when people went to
work but they struggled to get the public to use them on weekends. It was
decided that having an amusement park to lure people out of town would
increase weekend use, and as the public traveled they would go past
building lots suitable for houses that belonged to a land development
company that was a subsidiary to the trolley line.
The park opened on 2 July 1893 as Rittersville Park, offering 40 acres of
shady walks and ample park benches. It was built in a wooded area with
picnic groves, walking paths, a few amusements, theaters and food stands.
The first rides were a carousel, a toboggan chute, and the
"Razzle-Dazzle". About 1898 the menagerie closed and the owner of the
Manhattan Hotel bought two monkeys from the zoo keepr. Much to his
dismay, one of the monkeys set fire to the hotel. It was rebuilt the same
year. The new Manhattan Hotel was a place for the latest fashions to be
seen by the great crowds that would come from as far away as Mauch
Chunk and Philadelphia to the park which had one of the biggest outdoor
theaters in Pennsylvania
By the turn of the 20th Century, the park grew and grew, reaching its
heyday in the period between 1906 to 1920. In 1906, the transit company
built a theater that could accommodate 1,600 people and invited major
musical entertainers. One of the biggest draws was John Philip Sousa's
band. Soon couples were dancing the turkey-trout and bunny hug as older
folks wondered what this younger generation was coming to. Plays became
the thing and by 1912 the theater was expanded to 2,500 seats. The two
most popular plays were George M. Cohan's "Only 45 Minutes From
Broadway" and Lew Morton's "The Mayor of Tokio." 
Central Park's Racing Coaster, also known as the Derby Racer that it
claimed "surpassed any ride of its kind in existence in the eastern United
States." The Frolic, the Circle Swing and the "Shoot the Chute," a water ride
that concluded with an incline that dropped into a lake, were on the order of
what might have been found at New York's Coney Island. In addition,
Central Park hosted family reunions and picnics for businesses, clubs and
churches. A large sandbox for children provided enjoyment for the young
family members while their older siblings played on the swings and enjoyed
the rides. Among the events held in the park was the baby parade.
When the Allentown-Kutztown Traction Company completed its trolley line
from Allentown to Kutztown in 1899, the company added a stop at Dorney
Park, Central Park's competitor in the area. However, Central Park held its
own. In 1922 the Manhattan Hotel was torn down and in its place the
Manhattan Auditorium was built. An attempt was made in 1933 to establish
the first supermarket in this area, but was unsuccessful. It was used for
marathon dancing, later for auto shows, home shows, roller skating, to
name a few. In 1927 when Dorney added its first thrill ride, a roller
coaster. Also, by the late 1920s, automobiles were in widespread use.
Unlike Central Park, which was tied to the streetcar, Dorney Park had
plenty of space for parking.
The sign and last of the buildings of Central Park was demolished in the
summer of 1964.
The first of a twenty-year string of fires that plagued Central Park began
with one on 16 August 1932. A funhouse, the Mystic Castle and the outdoor
theater were the primary victims. The next was the fire that destroyed the
Cyclone Coaster in 1935. Fires in June, 1940 and April, 1941 destroyed the
popular Dodge'em ride and burned the dance hall. And in 1944 the bowling
allies and a billiard parlor burned. In 1946, the park was leased by the
Transit Company to a private operator. On Christmas Day, 1950 the
venerable carousel and the prized Derby Racer were destroyed by a fire.
On 2 August 1951 a fire alarm sent Allentown firefighters again to Central
Park. This time it was the second outdoor theater, the replacement for the
one that had burned in 1932.
With that fire, the park was closed in December 1951 and the land was
vacant for just over a decade. In the early 1960s, it was sold for real estate
development, and the last of Central Park was sold for real estate
development, and the last of Central Park was razed in 1964. Today a few
abandoned concrete footings remain in wooded areas intermixed between
clearings and homes and buildings which now exist on the site.
|Public Meeting Announcements
|Allentown Environmental Advisory Committee ---
Monday July 9 --
5:15PM --- Allentown Public Library Small Conference Room in
Bill 61 Amending Articles 533, Parking Meters the City of
Allentown by changing the hours of operation of on street
parking meters from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM (rather than 10PM)
in the central business district; and from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
(rather than 10:00 PM) in areas outside the business district.
6:00 PM --- City Council approval of Approval of
7:00 PM --- Regular City Council meeting
Lehigh County Commissioners
Wednesday January 26, 2017
7:30 PM --- Regular County Commissioner Meeting
Lehigh County Authority
All meetings begin at Noon and will be held at LCA’s Main
Office at 1053 Spruce Road, Wescosville, PA 18106.
Monday, January 23, 2017
Concern of previous LCA meeting:
Review of Administrative Order Improvements Discussion
Liesel Gross reviewed the purpose of the presentation and
provided a PowerPoint presentation overview.
An integrated program has been developed to address four
primary goals associated with eliminating sewer system
overflows to achieve compliance with USEPA Administrative
Order: address the root cause, build network to handle peak
flows, effective treatment of wastewater, and ongoing
maintenance. The components of the Allentown Lease and
other aspects of the Authority’s roles and responsibilities were
discussed. Ms. Gross explained the blending scenario, which
is a component of the City of Allentown’s proposed plan for
addressing peak wet-weather flows at the City’s wastewater
treatment plant. She plant. However, because of the terms of
the lease agreement with Allentown, the City retains
responsibility to determine what improvements are made at the
Jan Keim stated that raw sewage is raw sewage.
Richard Bohner asked how the excess flow is controlled.
Liesel Gross explained that it is treated in the beginning of the
process and at the end of the process so that all discharges
meet permit requirements. The Board discussed the blending
Deana Zosky stated she does not support blending and is
against the strategy of blending and commented that if the
Authority is committed to cleaning up the stream and then
allows for blending, this does not fix the problem. She also
commented that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) are opposed to blending and the Authority
should follow current regulations in this regard.
Liesel Gross clarified the EPA does not oppose blending and
has permitted it in other locations.
Ms. Zosky feels the solution, in the long term, should be to
eliminate the need for holding tanks but in the short term, we
need to utilize those storage tanks and fix the problem and not
put any sewage into any stream. Then do the required
maintenance over the long term to make sure it never happens
Scott Bieber disagreed and said that the City is not making an
impact on the Lehigh River flood flow any worse by blending,
and should pursue blending as the less expensive alternative to
protect water quality.
Brian Nagle explained that the Authority, in Phase 1 of the
Administrative Order, is addressing the long term solution to
Liesel Gross reminded the Board that blending is an “end of
pipe” solution that will not address upstream sewer overflows.
She explained that the Authority’s priority should be to focus on
the work upstream to reduce the peak flows and address the
bottlenecks in the system so that the Little Lehigh Creek is
protected from sewer overflows, which is a common goal of all
Norma Cusick asked at what stage of work are the other
municipalities in fixing their sewer collection systems. Pat
Mandes explained that the Authority is heavily involved in
planning the work being done by the Western Lehigh
municipalities, but not easily able to track the work of the other
City signatories. She said that the Authority does not have a
list of planned projects from the other municipalities, but the
municipalities will be meeting monthly in 2017 and the Authority
will work on additional information sharing on this topic.