Forest Park, Chalfont: 1885 - 1964

Sependipitously (is that a word?) I recieved two seperate e-mails yesterday about Forest Park, which was in Chalfont from around 1885 to 1964.

Today it looks like this:


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I grew up in New Britain and Chalfont. It's odd to think I tromped across all that history as a kid; drove past it countless times without knowing. One of my friends even lived in the development that eventually replaced the park.

Mark from Doylestown wrote:
Hi Rayna,

Are you familiar with Forest Park in Chalfont? Years ago after he retired, my father volunteered to do research at the Spruance Library. I remember him showing me stories about Forest Park.

The railroad had a stop there and it was around for about 80 years. Sort of Chalfont's version of Willow Grove Park. Thought you might be interested and am sending along a reference to it from an amusement park website.

Amusementparknostalgia.com

By the way, whats left of the park is well hidden back behind businesses that line 202 after you cross the tracks into Chalfont and are also somewhat visible from Park Ave where the NP Water plant is.
The link Mark included is great — lengthy, but great. Check it out when you have a couple (or more) minutes.

Carol from Myerstown read about the park as well. She wrote:
Rayna,

My Dad used to talk about Forest Park in Chalfont PA. He used to go there as a young man.

I read up about the history of the park online and was surprised to read that there were race riots there in the late 1950s. The park permanently closed in 1965.

I can remember as a child riding on the train between Doylestown and Philadelphia you could still see remnants of the old park.

Here's a photo that was taken in July 1936 at the park. They were famous for their swan boats! My Dad's good friend, Clifford Smith, who lived in Gardenville, took this photo!
Click the image for a larger view.
I love that photo! The kid's expression is sort of unreadable, isn't it? He's either like, "This is great!" or conversely, "I'm so miserable. Can we go home now?"

Who else remembers Forest Park? I've seen the post cards but Carol's is the first candid photo I've seen. I'd love to hear more stories.

There's some great stuff on Willow Grove Park around here that I'll post soon too.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

My husband grew up in this area, and used to fish and explore these ruins as a kid. He's always surprised that more people don't know about the park, and no books or official information can be found on it. As a kid, he collected many items that he found in the park, and the concrete bases to the picnic tables are still there. His Grandfather did all the stone work around the swan ride and bridge.

Anonymous said...

Although we lived right around the cornor from W.G. Park my dad would sometimes take us to Forrest Park in Chalfont for the day. It was not as big a W.G. Park but had it own uniqueness. Can remember the string bands playing there.

Seaton Cram said...

Though the development in the pic above was undoubtedly built on a portion of the park the main body of the park is to the left and is still there in the woods. You can walk the perimeter of the pond by following the sand which is still there and was imported to make it like a beach. The remains of benches, tables and even parts of rides are just sitting there rusting away. http://www.flickr.com/photos/s4stevearcher/6798767945/in/set-72157629122500061

John Elmes said...

I the early 60's my father would take my sister and I there for nickle day on Thursday's....All rides were 5 cents that was a buy even in those days. I remember the wild mouse and the space ship ride, the good old days!!

Daniel Fleckenstein said...

Thanks for the info, sounds like a great spot. I am doing some design work for a local bank and they would love to do a feature graphic wall that has images from Chalfont's history, can anyone help me find some more classic images of the area and it's attractions?
Thanks, Dan Fleck
dlfleck23bvf@gmail.com

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