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Monocacy Park

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1934. Illick's Mill Rd.

In the twentieth century, Bethlehem expanded north and west from its core, filling farmland with residential and small-scale commercial districts. On its way to meet the Lehigh River, Monocacy Creek wanders through this landscape, largely hidden in its narrow cut behind older houses and along a railroad spur track. But it is celebrated at one bridge crossing. Here at a site anchored by a nineteenth-century gristmill, a WPA project channels the stream into the rustic centerpiece of a linear park running perpendicular to the road. Two large open-air picnic pavilions line the east bank, their hipped roofs supported on square-cut stone pillars. One features a great fireplace, its stone backing forming an entire wall. At the end of the park two similar elevated pavilions flank a six-foot-high weir. A pedestrian suspension bridge supported by castellated stone piers crosses over the creek. The park and its appurtenances are reminders of how pleasing and useful were so many of the WPA's small-scale projects.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Monocacy Park", [Bethlehem, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 279-279.

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