Skip to content

Towpath Park, where canal history comes alive

October 26, 2010

East Coventry Township has just two parks, but each one packs quite a lot of possibility into its space. Yesterday I told you about my visit to Ellis Woods Park, and today I’d like to share my impressions of Towpath Park, a grassy strip that lies between Route 724 and the Schuylkill River and Schuylkill Canal. To get to Towpath, turn into the park across Route 724 from the old, overgrown Pizza World at the intersection with Peterman Road.

Although you wouldn’t know it unless you are middle-aged or are wasting time on the Internet :-), the entrance to Towpath Park is perhaps best known as the longtime resting place of the former Rosedale Diner of Pottstown. A photo of the diner was featured on the cover of Daryl Hall & John Oates’ 1973 album, “Abandoned Luncheonette,” which contained the hit “She’s Gone.”

Moving on to more traditional historical matters, just as Ellis Woods Park & the nearby cemetery provided me with a little history lesson, Towpath Park provides some very interesting information about the Schuylkill River canal, the transportation of goods in the 1700s, and what life was like in the area of Frick’s Locks.

As part of his Eagle Scout project, William Dougherty erected a series of four story boards within Towpath Park memorializing the Schuylkill River Navigation canals. (He’s the same young man who made the awesome trail signs in Ellis Woods Park.) It’s best to read the historical markers in order. The first one is located near the children’s playground, which is on your right as you enter Towpath Park. (Except for an oversized, lone metal turtle, the play equipment has been removed, but plans are in the works for replacements.) The first marker is entitled, “Towpath Park Historical Trail.” As you move through the park, parallel with Route 724, you will come upon the other markers: “Life on the Canal,” “Schuylkill Navigation Company,” and “Canal Construction.”

According to the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area, between 1816 and 1825, the Schuylkill Canal was built by the Schuylkill Navigation Company to help move anthracite from the coal regions to Philadelphia. If you want to read more, check out their website.

But Towpath Park is not just for budding history buffs. It’s got a wide array of other facilities including a volleyball net, picnic tables, grills, port-o-potties, plenty of parking, a boat launch and mini-dock. The boat launch was upgraded about three years ago when the access road and approach to the boat ramp were paved to improve safety and maintenance. It also provided additional signage to encourage use of the launch. I was there on a gorgeous fall afternoon, and the water looked so inviting. I really wished I had a boat. Why don’t I have a boat? I wondered. I’ve enjoyed kayaking a few times when I’ve visited friends in Canada in the summers. A simple kayak or canoe would suffice in times like these. It’s not such a major investment. This is definitely something to antagonize my husband about as soon as I get home. “Honey, why don’t we have a boat?” On the other hand, an outfitter on High Street could be a really good business. Then I could just rent a kayak there. Oh… I’m actually blogging now…must get back to story…

Towpath Park serves as a gathering spot for children’s summer programs, the annual Township Park Day in June and an annual stream cleanup day. The park pavilion is also available for rentals, just get in touch with the Township at the number below…. And may all your boating dreams come true!

TOWPATH PARK

Location: Route 724, Pottstown, PA 19465, at the intersection with Peterman Road, across from Pizza World and the veterinary hospital
Size: 7 acres
Suitability: All ages. Site of several annual Township events.
Facilities: Tables, benches, pavilions, grills, volleyball, boat ramp, dock, port-o-potties, historical markers, contact with nature, water views. Pavilion is available for rental.
Activities and tips: The old playground equipment has been removed and plans are being made for its replacement. Young children through adults will enjoy the four historical markers which give some local history in manageable chunks.
Hours: Dawn to dusk.

For pavilion rentals, contact:

East Coventry Township
855 Ellis Woods Road
Pottstown, PA 19465
(610) 495-5443
(610) 495-9925 FAX
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. M-F
Website: http://www.eastcoventry-pa.gov/

Follow the parks series at Mission: Healthy LivingPositively!PottstownTwitter(PositivelyPtown), Facebook, and The Mercury.

PHOTO GALLERY


 

Canal Path

 

 

TowPath Park Open Space

 

 

Tow Path

 

 

The End

 

 

Table & mini-pavilion

 

 

Playground, waiting for new equipment

 

About these ads
6 Comments
  1. dinerhotline permalink
    October 27, 2010 4:03 am

    Thank you for linking to my Diner Hotline weblog and the story I co-wrote with Matt Simmons on the history of the Rosedale Diner (AKA the Abandoned Luncheonette)! This story was 19 years in the making, I originally wrote the first part (in 1991) about finding the diner back in the winter of 1982. That version of the story appeared in Roadside Magazine. After starting the blog 3 years ago, I mentioned that I would update the story which finally all came together this summer.
    Larry Cultrera, http://dinerhotline.wordpress.com

    • October 27, 2010 2:10 pm

      Hi, Larry – glad to link to your and Matt’s story. I definitely like to make those authentic, local connections in my blog posts whenever I can. Your story definitely took me back to that era when we were proud to know right where that album cover came from.

      Cheers!
      Sue

  2. Matt Simmons permalink
    October 27, 2010 1:46 pm

    I was delighted to discover this blog devoted to the Pottstown area. Despite being a metro Detroit resident, I love Pottstown and have visited the area at least once in each of the past 3 years. I have made friends there, and plan on continuing to visit for as long as I am on this earth.

    You see, I am an enthusiastic fan of Daryl Hall & John Oates’ “Abandoned Luncheonette” LP. I am not sure if that makes me middle-aged or a time-wasting internet surfer, but I know that my love for Hall & Oates’ 2nd album has led me to joyfully discover Pottstown and its surroundings. I cherish coming to Towpath Park, rummaging through the woods for remnants of the diner, and then walking down to the little dock by the water for a beautiful, peaceful view. I will definitely be excited when they add new playground equipment, since I’ve begun to bring my young daughter along on my visits.

    Thank you, Sue, for devoting your time to shine a spotlight on a town that occupies a special place in my heart. I sincerely look forward to discovering this blog’s past and following its future.

    And for those who may appreciate the historical significance of The Rosedale Diner/Abandoned Luncheonette & Pottstown’s most famous native (Daryl Hall), I highly recommend the August 14th entry of diner expert Larry Cultrera’s blog at http://www.dinerhotline.wordpress.com

    • October 27, 2010 2:06 pm

      Hi, Matt —

      Well, I guess you just never know who will become your friend through the blogosphere! Thanks for writing in and sharing your story here. I didn’t even think to scavenge for diner remnants, but maybe on my next visit.

      I didn’t mean to insult any readers…. I AM middle-aged and a time-wasting internet surfer :-) but it’s not hard to imagine that Hall and Oates fans cover the entire human spectrum. In any event, it’s great to hear from someone who really appreciates Pottstown and the surrounding areas. Hope you have many more enjoyable visits!

      Sue

  3. Matt Simmons permalink
    October 27, 2010 4:37 pm

    Oh, Sue, it’s ok–no offense taken. :) While perhaps more blunt than I probably would have had the nerve to put it, it’s kind of hard to argue that most of the people who know about Abandoned Luncheonette are either, shall we say, of a certain age, or people who enjoy searching the internet for things that are, well, essentially frivolous. If I came off as a little sensitive to it, it’s only because I’ve gotten to know family and friends of the late Pizza World & Rosedale Diner owner, so I’ve become very emotionally invested in his place in history and how he is remembered. But honestly–I’m not upset. I think it is incredibly awesome that you linked to Larry’s blog and that you wrote a feature on Towpath Park and mentioned the nearby pop culture references that are so dear to my heart.

    Oh, and speaking of Larry, his comment following your post had not yet appeared when I posted my comment, so I apologize for my redundancy.

    Keep up the good work, Sue!

    • October 28, 2010 3:05 am

      Sometimes, in my attempt at humor, I forget that I might sound blunt! Good to re-set that impulse every now and then :-). I realize I didn’t get Larry’s comment up first, but that’s okay – it was great to hear from both of you. Thanks again for reading!

Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 687 other followers

%d bloggers like this: