Learn About Lost Parks

Below you’ll find a selection of public programs – both in-person and virtual – where I’ve been privileged to be share interesting lost amusement parks history!

PCN TV’s Pennsylvania Parks History: Monarch Park

I’m proud to share the next Pennsylvania Parks History interstitial I collaborated on with the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN TV), which covers Monarch Park, a trolley-turned-amusement park that operated for about a quarter century between Oil City and Franklin in Northwestern Pennsylvania’s famed oil region. After the amusement park closed, the property was acquired by the Oil City Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, a conservation group that promotes outdoor sports and now leases the grounds from the Waltonian Park Association.A few traces of the former Monarch Park can be found throughout today’s Waltonian Park, which still provides recreational opportunities to the community much as it did at the turn of the century. Special thanks to Dale Truby of the Oil City Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America and the Waltonian Park Association for for allowing us to visit in September 2022 and create this piece. And as always, thank you to the wonderful individuals and organizations who have shared images of Monarch Park: Bonnie Streyle, the Oil City Library/Oil Region Library Association, the Venango County Historical Society and the Venango Museum of Art, Science and Industry.

Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum
Carrousel Chats Episode Two: Lost Parks

Thank you to the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum for hosting Rose Hirsch and me on March 3, 2022 for Carrousel Chats Episode 2 where we discussed lost amusement parks! I focused on a selection of Western Pennsylvania amusement parks with interesting carousel histories and mysteries, including Cascade Park in New Castle, Olympia Park near McKeesport, Monarch Park between Oil City and Franklin, and Four Mile Creek Park in Erie.

Carrousel Chats is a free virtual presentation series made possible by the Museum Association of New York Building Capacity Grant.

PCN TV’s Pennsylvania Parks History: Eldora Park

In March 2022, I worked with the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN TV) and the Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum to produce a short interstitial covering Eldora Park, a lost amusement park in Carroll Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania (c1904-1946). The historical society offers spring walking tours of the former park site where you’ll find scant remnants of the streetcar line that brought folks to Eldora Park, the yellow brick entrance road, restaurant and dance hall. Special thanks to Mark Pawelec and Brian Charlton of the Donora Historical Society as well as John Kifer, a descendant of the Wickerman family who owned and leased the park property for the amusement park more than a century ago.

Where Industry and the Appalachians Meet:
Creating Amusement Parks in Western Pennsylvania” –
Ephemera Society of America 2022 Annual Conference

On March 18, 2022, I had the honor of speaking at The Ephemera Society of America’s annual conference in Old Greenwich, CT. The theme for Ephemera 42 was “Creating Places and Spaces” and the assignment was to develop a presentation that would illustrate this theme using multiple types of ephemera.

My presentation, “Where Industry and the Appalachians Meet: Creating Amusement Parks in Western Pennsylvania,” was a unique chance to to showcase my current research on the many lost amusement parks in the region, Using maps, blueprints, souvenir postcards, broadsides, pamphlets, letterhead, watch fobs, buttons, train and trolley fare, newspaper articles, journal advertisements, photos and a matchbook cover, I explained how amusement park owners created their recreational spaces within the diverse landscapes, along the transportation networks, and among the populations boosted by industry all found in Western Pennsylvania. 

McKeesport Regional History and Heritage Center
Lost Trolley Parks of Western Pennsyvania

In January 2021 I had the pleasure of sharing images and history share images and the history of forgotten trolley parks, with a special look at Olympia Park, during a virtual event holsted by the McKeesport Regional History and Heritage Center as part of my research for my forthcoming book on lost Western Pennsylvania amusement parks.