American History, Idlewild, Ligonier Valley History, My Writing, Pennsylvania History, Westmoreland County history

Seeking Stories & Photos for New Idlewild Park Book!

Photo by David Zajdel
Photo by David Zajdel

The next year is going to be pretty busy! I’m pleased to announce that I have started working on my second book for The History Press, which will tell the story of Idlewild Park, Pennsylvania’s oldest amusement park!

I need your help! I’m seeking never-before-heard stories and rare photographs from past and present visitors, employees and amusement park enthusiasts to feature in this forthcoming book on Idlewild Park. Anyone interested in sharing their memories is encouraged to join my Idlewild Park Memories Facebook Group, tweet me, or contact me through my website.

For more than a century, Idlewild and SoakZone in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, has captured the hearts and imaginations of those who grew up visiting what’s considered one of the most beloved children’s parks in America. What began as a scenic picnic ground for the Ligonier Valley Rail Road in the late 19th century is now recognized as the oldest amusement park in Pennsylvania, the third oldest in the country and the 12th oldest in the world. The park will celebrate its 140th season in 2017. This new book will revisit the history of Idlewild, from the historic land on which it was developed, to its connection with the railroad, the innovators that commercialized and expanded the park, the classic rides and attractions created there and the cherished memories of people who grew up or worked at Idlewild.

Idlewild Park is one of the best known and treasured landmarks in not only the Ligonier Valley but also in western Pennsylvania and beyond. I’m looking forward to delving deeper into the park’s fascinating history and sharing new and unique stories with the public!

Click here for official press release.


2 thoughts on “Seeking Stories & Photos for New Idlewild Park Book!”

  1. Jennifer, my dad C. Merle Stough graduated from Ligonier High School in 1938 and started looking for permanent employment. Given the lingering effects of the Great Depression there weren’t too many jobs around but he spent that summer working at Idlewild. The summer of 1972 I had completed my junior year at CMU and found a summer job at Idlewild in that it was pretty good money for college students in those days and there were lots of high school and college kids working at the park.
    Good luck with your latest venture!
    Charlie Stough

    1. Hi Charlie! Thanks for your message! I am finding that a lot of families had multiple generations that worked at Idlewild, which is pretty cool. I’d love to know more about your dad’s experience and your experience working at the park. I think I still have your contact info from when we talked last year on the LWA’s McConnaughey farm renovation project. By the way, I just wrote an update on the project – it’s been so neat to follow its progress!


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