Island Park Easton (defunct)

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Island Park Easton (defunct)

Postby slnewbus » Thu May 24, 2007 9:21 pm


I did a little research and learned about Island Park in Easton. It was conveniently located on an actual Island on the Lehigh River, right by the Route 33 Boat Launch. So we figured let's take the boat out, fish, and check out the old park.

(rcdb entry)

To quote the Easton Express Times: "Built in July of 1894, Island Park on the Lehigh River was a popular amusement park advertised as "the most beautiful recreation resort in eastern Pennsylvania."

Advertisements in early 1900s editions of The Easton Express also referred to the park on Smith's Island as "The People's Popular Playground" and "Nature's Beauty Spot."

For nearly 25 years, park-goers enjoyed rides such as an early figure-eight-style toboggan roller coaster, a Ferris wheel, pony rides and the old mill.

There were concerts, Vaudeville shows, minstrels, and plays in an open-air theater known as the Casino and a nearby band shell. Among the band shell's many concerts was one featuring legendary march composer John Phillip Sousa.

The 100-acre island was also home to a bathing beach, sand pit, boating and picnic areas for visitors to enjoy.

Open-air trolley cars helped shuttle passengers back and forth from the bustling park, with trips running every five minutes.

Others visitors could elect to walk the "Donkey Bridge" instead.

But heavy ice flows along the river frequently damaged the trolley-trestle. That damage, in addition to severe flooding sustained in 1919, made repairs too costly, and the park was closed."

To start, here is the boat:

Here is a little Bass I caught:

If you haven't seen the impressive Route 33 Bridge from underneath, here it is:

Here is the head of the Island (the Island is really long, it is said to be 100 acres. The other side of the island has a navigable waterway with depths of up to 20 feet):

This is the most noticable artifact of what is left (it is amazing this lasted since the park closed in 1917) It appears to be either the trolley bridge or the donkey walking bridge:

Here is a closer picture of the old Bridge:

As you can see the island is really grown in:

Here is the dam just past the end of the island, this is right by the Hugh Moore Park where they do the canal rides and stuff.

Here is the other end of the Island:

Here is the waterway, note this is not the main waterway, it still is navigable though with depths of up to 10 feet, we almost had to walk it through the other end though because it got really shallow.

There is a little waterway that goes into the center of the island, this waterway was obviously put there, I would love to know the history of this park and have seen it in its hayday.

This is another picture of that waterway.

I hope you have found my post interesting, it was really neat checking that out. I wish I could know more about the history of this park and everything. It is a wonder though that this stuff still remains, since the park closed in 1919.

Postby alfundo » Sat May 26, 2007 9:29 pm

great post, very interesting. i lived in the easton area all my life and never heard of this park. before they built that bridge i used to drive my jeep down the towpath and look out over the dam.

Postby maeryk » Mon May 28, 2007 9:44 am

From what I understand from talking to people about that park, the remaining "stuff" was moved and became Bushkill eventually, after they got tired of the island flooding.

(Ironic, isn't it?)

Postby slnewbus » Mon May 28, 2007 3:43 pm

lol yeah, someday maybe i'll walk in and swim into the island and search it, it is hard to do that with the boat, I don't want to leave it alone in that part of the river because it is so close to the dam. There is no actual ride stuff left, just stuff that shows it was there. I have heard someone who went into that little waterway into the island on a canoe and he said there are some foundations of stuff left.

That is ironic with the flooding, it was never a problem for them though until the major development of that area began.

Postby Yoshi » Tue May 29, 2007 11:57 pm

I never heard of this park either. It's amazing how many parks the area used to have that are now closed.
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Re: Island Park Easton

Postby turfeyejoe » Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:58 pm

The photos you took are really interesting. Are there any trails or paths on the island, or is the entire thing like a jungle? I wonder if there's anything to see if you walk around, if it is possible to walk without a machete. Is it easier to launch the boat or canoe from Hugh Moore Park?

Re: Island Park Easton (defunct)

Postby djw44 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:09 am

I found this, there is the bridge in it's glory days!
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Re: Island Park Easton (defunct)

Postby djw44 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:11 am

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Re: Island Park Easton (defunct)

Postby djw44 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:15 am ... 9008r37834

Another one! It looks like someone is using this thread to sell their postcard haha.
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Re: Island Park Easton (defunct)

Postby Hooky965 » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:14 pm

Interesting, I never dug into this forum to see this thread, glad it got bumped.

This reminds me very much about a place in Lancaster that used to have a similar park. My boss lives in the community that was built on the land that the park used to occupy, and he showed me around the corner where a bunch of the older buildings still stand. You can still clearly see the trolley station, some park buildings, and the gazebo that used to house their merry-go-round. A B&B stands on the site where the park's owners used to live, and they're kinda sensitive to folks peeking around the place, but I might try to see if I can sneak a few pics anyway. The absolute killer is that they still have one of the trains from the old roller coaster under the roof of the trolley station.
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