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

On This Day in Idlewild History: Frontier Safariland Opens

In 1965 the Idlewild Management Company decided to resurrect the zoo concept that had faded away during the World War II years. Featuring a collection of North American wild animals and a domestic petting zoo, Frontier Safariland debuted to the public on May 23, 1965 at the start of Idlewild Park's new season. It was built… Continue reading On This Day in Idlewild History: Frontier Safariland Opens

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

Idlewild’s Opening Day

Today, Saturday, May 19, 2018, marks the official opening day for Idlewild and SoakZone's 141st season! Although the park has already hosted some events this year and the once-separate Story Book Forest used to open the first weekend in May, traditionally Memorial Day weekend marked the formal opening of the park each year, back to… Continue reading Idlewild’s Opening Day

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

Idlewild: The Right and Privilege for 140 years

Happy Birthday, Idlewild and SoakZone! Today marks the 140th anniversary of Pennsylvania's oldest amusement park. On May 1, 1878, William Darlington penned another letter to Judge Thomas Mellon settling terms for the Ligonier Valley Rail Road to lease part of a scenic Ligonier Township estate for "picnic purposes or pleasure grounds."   Dear Sir: In compliance with… Continue reading Idlewild: The Right and Privilege for 140 years

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

A Deal with Darlington

This is the first in a series of "behind the book" posts I'll be publishing periodically to highlight my research behind Idlewild: History and Memories of Pennsylvania's Oldest Amusement Park. I'll also be sharing photos that didn't make the book and digging deeper into Idlewild's history. Enjoy! Spring has finally arrived in Western Pennsylvania. Trees are… Continue reading A Deal with Darlington

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

Idlewild: History and Memories of Pennsylvania’s Oldest Amusement Park – Coming April 2, 2018!

I’m thrilled to announce that my new book, Idlewild: History and Memories of Pennsylvania’s Oldest Amusement Park, will be published April 2, 2018 by The History Press! Idlewild will be available at local stores and Idlewild Park as well as through online outlets, including Arcadia Publishing/The History Press. I am also taking pre-orders and will… Continue reading Idlewild: History and Memories of Pennsylvania’s Oldest Amusement Park – Coming April 2, 2018!

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

Seeking Stories & Photos for New Idlewild Park Book!

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… Continue reading Seeking Stories & Photos for New Idlewild Park Book!

American History, Pennsylvania History, Valley Voices

“When the Whistle Blows, Come Home,” by Jim Ramsey

“When the Whistle Blows, Come Home” The Sounds of My Home Town: Ligonier, Pennsylvania Valley Voices - August 2013 Written by Jim Ramsey Transcribed and edited by Jennifer Sopko Pictures courtesy of the Pennsylvania Room, Ligonier Valley Library I was born and grew to adulthood in my home town of Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Many of my… Continue reading “When the Whistle Blows, Come Home,” by Jim Ramsey