You are here

Idlewild Park

-A A +A
1878–present. 2582 U.S. 30, 2.2 miles northwest of Ligonier

Spread under tall oak and evergreen trees, Idlewild Park began in 1878 as a 300-acre picnic destination for Judge Thomas Mellon's narrow-gauge Ligonier Valley Railroad, which closed in 1952. Conversion to standard-gauge lines allowed families, schools, and church groups to travel directly from Pittsburgh to the park beginning in 1881. Among the park's oldest buildings are the frame train station (1878) and a white frame carousel pavilion (1896) with a cupola, which houses a Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel built in the 1920s and brought to the park in 1931. The Rollo Coaster by the same company opened in 1938. Other features at the park include manmade lakes, water slides, fishing areas, and mature shade trees. In 1956, the park opened Story Book Forest, a collection of fifteen life-size displays of nursery rhymes, and in 1989, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood of Make-Believe was built to honor Latrobe native Fred Rogers and his popular public television children's program. Taliesin-trained architect Peter Berndtson designed the entrance gates, now modified, along U.S. 30 in 1956. The Darlington Station (c. 1878), located at the western end of Idlewild Park, is one of the few surviving stations of the Ligonier Valley Railroad and is being restored to house the Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Idlewild Park", [Ligonier, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 227-227.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.

, ,