Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Catty Playground - 100 years

Since this weekend was the 100th year celebration for the Catasauqua Playground I wanted to re-publish two blogs I wrote back in 2011 - I was laid off at the time and spent some time researching the history of Catasauqua.  On Friday night I was down at the park to hear the Large Flowerheads and Deb Mellish did give a little of the park history - so it made me look back - please enjoy this blog from June 2, 2011 -


So, I just rediscovered a great place in Catasauqua and that is the Catasauqua Public Library. Got myself a new Library card, haven't seen my old one for over 25 years probably. But, I wanted to do research on the Catty Swimming Pool and couldn't find the information online so it was off to the Library. I must say I will be stopping in more often they have a lot of James Patterson books, who I love to read and since I am not working and I am almost through the books I had piled to read, it will be a great place to go.

Anyway, I found what I wanted and so much more. Here we go. John and Lesher Yeager sold 15.728 acres of land for $3,145.60 to the newly formed Catasauqua Park and Playground Association, with the stipulation that the area remain as a playground for 30 years. In 1921 the Association bought the area known as "the Dips". Bascom and Sieger Construction was hired in to do the work of building a playground and on July 3, 1916 the playground opened with 2 basketball courts, 4 tennis courts, 2 volley ball courts and a band shell.

A hand dug lake which was dammed below Bridge Street was built. The lake was 600 feet by 100 feet and was 5 to 6 feet deep.

During the post war years the park and playground where the hub of the community.

The only disappointment was the lake, the water was good for a couple of years, but then it began to drain. It became muddy after rains, it developed sink holes and eventually turned into a marsh, which kids loved to muck through.

There was a park curfew at 9:00 PM, the whistle from the water works would blow and it was time to go.

Improvement came to the Catasauqua playground in in the form of funds from the WPA Program (Works Projects Administration) and the Borough used these funds to develop the playground.

The Works Progress Administration (renamed during 1939 as the Work Projects Administration; WPA) was the largest and most ambitious New Deal Agency, employing millions of unskilled workers to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads, and operated large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects. It fed children and redistributed food, clothing, and housing. Almost every community in the United States had a park, bridge or school constructed by the agency, which especially benefited rural and Western areas

There are TWO (we all know the pool was one, but what was the other?) great projects that were built by the WPA at the playground, and I will discuss them in my next blog and with that...... it's another day in Catasauqua.