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Old Chester, PA: Parks
Park History | Recollections
Entrance to Chester Park c. 1915
"The entrance arches on Edgmont avenue were designed by Theophilus
Chaudler, nationally prominent architect."
-1949 Chester Times Year Book
Chester Park, c. 1906
View in Chester Park - Post card scan courtesy of "Joker" Jack Chambers
Before & After - As of September 2005, the waterfalls have been dismantled.
Photos courtesy of Ray & Kathy Diggins & Ralph Hall
Farmhouse in Chester Park
Photo courtesy of Jane Calhoun Unger, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rock along side of stone
arch bridge in Chester Park
Photo courtesy of Gene "Zac" Zacniewski
"My buddies and I used to jump and dive off it swimming. Just wondering how many others in Chester did the same thing?" - Zac
|Park History:||In 1900 there was a zoo in
A band shell was planned to be built adjacent to the barn and near Elkington Avenue in July 1950. (Click here for a picture of the band shell, courtesy of the architect, Mr. Jack Swerman, AIA)
July 1952 - The Four Aces (Al Alberts, Sod Vaccaro, Lou Silvestri & Dave Mahoney) entertained a crowd of more than 20,000.
"Chester Park was given to the city by
Dickerson, for the city of Chester. The council wanted to call the
park Dickerson Park but Mr. Dickerson insisted that the park be named Chester.
He owned the land, he used to take the poor children on weekends and give them rides on a boat that he had up and down the river. It gave him great pleasure to donate this to the city for the children and their parents."
From the Chester Times Year book 1949:
a little kid (back in the early 50's), one of the earliest images I have
is of the Stone Arches at the entrance to Chester Park. We lived
right across the street from them up until I was five.
All-day strolls through the park were shared with me & my dad. Of course, hanging out by the falls was very cool. You could pick up the falling water noise from back by the bridge, and the excitement rose as the noise grew louder upon approach ... all the while glancing at the water to see the many carp weaving toward the surface.
Fortunately, when we moved
from Edgmont Ave, we didn't move too far away. Our next house was on West
Chelton Rd. (my back yard was the OLC football field .. where I attended
school). So the park was very much a part of my life all the way up
to age 18 when I joined the Navy. As a little older kid and
fascinated by things "water", I can vividly recall the
excitement of catching tadpoles and minnows at the "best" spot
... the intersection of where the little creek (or is that
"crick") coming down from Parkside School met the the
"main" stream. I packed a large jar, some food and a big
section of door screen with strings attached at all four corners.
Several minutes after dipping that contraption into the water, there were
many flip-flopping critters in the net as I pulled it out. I didn't
keep many minnows, but the tadpoles went home with me and I raised them to
frogs ... then released them back to nature behind Parkside
"I don't have pictures, but as a young boy (in the forties) I remember going to Chester Park for spring water. We lived at 11th & Highland Ave. and drove up to the park. I remember the water was so bad coming through the faucets at our house that it all had to boiled before using it, so we went to Chester Park for water. We would take many gallon jugs with us and wait in line to fill them up. I remember the line going all the way back across the bridge and part way up the hill. If the line was too long, we would go over to Sproul Rd. on the hill by the Sunoco gas station and get our water. A spring was on the side of the hill just above the gas station. Does any one remember those times?"
Park Days... Remember Hughie Coakley running the recreation baseball program and playing ball with all my old buddies; Richie Merchant, Joey McElvarr, Jerry Hall, Phil DiPietro, Johnny Crego, Rick and Skip Gamble; just to name a few. We lived to play baseball and Uncle Hughie--as we called him-- was a beautiful man, who was probably close to eighty back in the mid to late 50's. Really miss those days and that ole' timer. He was like a character out of a great novel."
"I grew up on East Avon Rd. near Chester Park. We had the absolute best summers! We listened to the band concerts, featuring the Chester City Band. We could also play tennis, or basketball, and especially loved the summer rec programs where we could play box hockey, make plaster of paris molds to paint, and made gimp lanyards. Sham battles were so exciting, and there was always Hall's on the corner of East Avon Rd and Edgemont Ave, for ice cream cones. During winter we had our choice of sledding hills, and would ice skate on Chester Creek.
- Kathy, email@example.com
"Sledding was great in Chester Park, so was the swimming, but if you did both on the same day, as I did some of the joy is taken out of that day. I didn't make the turn at the bottom of the hill once and my sister and I went in below the falls. Yes it was cold!"
- John J. Flanagan, firstname.lastname@example.org
"I too remember Chester Park sledding there in the winter and swimming in the summer however it is not Chester Creek that runs through Chester Park it is Ridley Creek."
- John R. Spedden, Jrstrolley@aol.com
"I used to live on E. Mowry St., which is right
next to the Chester Park playground. I lived for the summer recreation programs, which
they held at the park from June to August from 9 till 3. We made potholders,
plaster-paris, gimp. (Some of our Rec teachers were Ms. LaSpada & Ms. Holt). We played
box hockey (Where did this go to?) I was champ one year. I remember the concerts at the
bandstand on Tuesday nights, the Zangara's water ice
truck (for a dime you could get a water ice & pretzel). I remember the fireworks
and the time the wheel came flying off and almost hit my brother, Chris. We played tag in
the rose garden. I took tennis lessons on the tennis courts. We would hang out in the barn
with the workers. I remember the Crystals that lived in the house by the barn. I remember
when the bug spray man would come around and we would run behind the truck. I remember
when the City of Chester dumped all the snow from a big blizzard in the 60's and we had
igloos in our backyard until spring. I remember when Patrick May needed stitches in his
face from a sled cutting his face while sledding next to the bandstand. Remember the
towers on Chestnut Pkwy that stood for decades unfinished? I had the best childhood.
Chester Park was the greatest back then; I hung there even in high school. I remember the
Flyers winning in 73 & 74 and being in the street hollering we're #1. The good old
"I remember Chester Park when I was a kid having the biggest hills a Flexible Flyer could ever handle and the never ending energy going up and down them. I tried the same hills when my daughter was 2 which was 15 years ago, it's a lot different pulling someone up and down, we made 4 trips from top to bottom and then it was back to the car for me. LOL. I too, remember the best 4th of July times at the park with the free concerts, picnics, fireworks and what about the Helicopter rides that was really cool."
- Tom Bulger, email@example.com
"I have such wonderful memories of Chester Park that I will never forget.
"The 4th of July Fireworks, they were the best that any town had in Delaware County.
"I lived on W. Parkway Ave. and we would always cross Edgmont Ave. and take a walk in the Park.
"The beautiful Rose Garden with such an array of roses that made Longwood Gardens jealous! The "wishing well" near the farmhouse where you would always throw a penny in it and make a wish. Or going down to "Chester Creek" where you could fill up on spring water. There in the summer people in the 1960s would go swimming or in the winter skating on the frozern creek. And don't forget the waterfalls!
"Thanks for a great life in Chester!"
- Karen Zimmer Cardwell, firstname.lastname@example.org
"I am the grandson of the last married couple that lived in and worked on the Farm house in Chester Park. I spent allot of time in the house and spent many Thanksgivings & Christmas days there. I had allot of old pictures of the house and would like to share them with you. If you would Like to know I had the biggest and best time there when I meet Ike Eisenhower & Richard Nixon at the Rep. BarB Q they had for them in the Park when they were running for office. My Grandfather, John M. Crystle Sr., was the caretaker of the grounds of the park and I used to ride the trackers to help (HAHA) him cut the grass and trim the bushes at the entrance. I played on the tennis courts all summer and started the tennis lessons there. Mr. Smedley was in charge of the parks and recreation of Chester while my Grandfather was living there. I could go on and on about the years they lived there... Riding my bike from 13th and Crosby out to the Park passing the OLD houses and the cemetery's and the Churches to get to the Park."
- James Crystle, Sr., email@example.com
Rick Sapovits, RickSap@aol.com,
recalls, "I grew up in Garden City on Ridley Drive. I lived directly across
from the park. I remember the fire works, PMC used to have war games down
there. I played on the rocks that can be seen from the bridge as you drive towards
Garden City. My Grandmother lived on Sunny Side Ave. and I could walk to her house
and she would meet me so I could cross the street... We could sit in my front yard and
hear the music from the band shell. I saw Sally Starr make a personnal appearance on
the Chester side of the park, near the band shell also. Thanks, this brings back
great memories !!!"
If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about Chester Park, please forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 John A. Bullock III.
This page last updated 08/24/10