When Sue first approached me about this parks project, I have to admit I felt a little smug. After all, I have been raising my kids in Pottstown for the last ten years and have seen my fair share of the area’s parks. I really thought I was a bit of an expert on the subject, or at least had something of an advantage when it came to the parks. Many of those in the study have been familiar to me, but this one took me completely by surprise.
My family and I had made a pit stop at the Wawa at the corner of North Charlotte Street and Swamp Pike for supplies (coffee for my husband and me, water bottles for the kids), and I asked a New Hanover Township Police Officer for directions to Swamp Creek Park. I had seen the signs for the park over the years, on my way up and down 663 or Swamp Pike but had never actually been to the park.
The officer said, “Oh, the airplane park, right?” And then nicely gave us quick and easy directions to this unique spot that sits behind the New Hanover Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Still, I wasn’t quite sure what the officer meant until we got to the park and realized that it has a huge open space, dedicated to model airplane flying-not something you see every day. We parked the car and got out to take a look around. Although Swamp Creek doesn’t have a playground, my kids were enthralled with the whole place. There is something so peaceful about the setting. They especially loved the bank of white birches at one end of the one-mile trail that circles the park. The airfield sits in the center, with its manicured grass and the equipment for flying the planes. I knew that day that I wanted to come back to catch the airplanes in action, so this past Sunday we went back to see what it was all about.
I have to say, we were not disappointed. The model planes are truly amazing and the members of the Swamp Creek Radio Control Modelers were friendly and helpful and more than willing to explain the different aircraft they were using. We were fascinated watching two members with their gliders, deftly flinging them skyward and then using remotes to control their movements. If you want to see the airplanes for yourself, just make plans to visit the park in the morning, between 9 a.m. and 12 noon on a day that’s not too windy; you are sure to find at least a few members using the park.
The Swamp Creek Radio Control Modelers meet monthly and fly their planes as often as weather permits. You don’t have to be a member to use the park airfield, but you will have to obtain a permit at the New Hanover Township Building and have a current membership with the Academy of Model Aeronautics.
After spending some time looking for white birch bark that my kids could take to school for show and tell, we started walking the path around the park. My youngest two took off running and made use of the benches that dot the trail to wait up for the rest of us as we were moving at a more leisurely pace.
The park is also home to two sites being restored by the New Hanover Historical Society– the Swamp Creek Schoolhouse and the Dengler Summer Kitchen.
According to their website: “Built in 1853, the Swamp Creek School on Reifsnyder Road has been carefully restored by society volunteers and today serves as the society’s home and meeting place. Housed there is a collection of township school memorabilia and an extensive school book collection. Additionally, the school serves as a field trip destination for school groups where Nineteenth Century school life can be experienced.”
I’m looking forward to taking my kids back to Swamp Creek Park when the schoolhouse is open so we can fully enjoy the historical aspect of this beautiful park, and walking the trail again and again as the leaves fall this autumn.
SWAMP CREEK PARK (New Hanover Twp., Montgomery County)
Location: 3179 Reifsnyder Road, Gilbertsville, PA 19525
Size: 27 acres
Suitability: This beautiful park is great for all ages. The level walking/jogging path appeals to all ages and abilities.
Facilities:Picnic pavilion, paved trail, model airfield, historical features, exercise equipment
Activities and Tips: Weekend mornings are a great time to catch the model airplanes in action-as long as it’s not too windy. Drop by the park on a Sunday afternoon to get a glimpse of New Hanover’s past in its historical schoolhouse. Get your exercise by walking or running the one-mile path around this beautiful park.
Hours: Dawn to Dusk. Schoolhouse open Sundays, March through November from 2-4pm
New Hanover Township
2943 North Charlotte Street
Gilbertsville, PA 19525-9718
Phone: (610) 323-1008
Fax: (610) 323-5173
Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30am-4:30pm
New Hanover Township Historical Society
c/o New Hanover Township Building
2943 North Charlotte Street
Gilbertsville, PA 19525
Meets the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Swamp Creek Schoolhouse at 7pm for a program, followed by a business meeting. New members and visitors are welcome.
Swamp Creek R/C Modelers
Meets every third Sunday at Swamp Creek Park, April through September, at 12:30