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The Neighborhood Playground

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The official playground for the Beth-Allen Gardens subdivision in northwest Bethlehem was King's Mansion Park, which was built when the King's Mansion subdivision to the east was added. Hordes of kids could be found there on any weekend or summer day, playing basketball or tag football, or using the swing set, sliding board, jungle gym, or seesaw. The basketball court had a raised rim around it made of asphalt, so in winter it was flooded to make a skating rink. There were no organized sports in the early days; kids would just walk or ride their bikes to the park and make their own fun. Later, the Bethlehem Steelers football team would use the park for their games. Before there was a park, and before the King's Mansion development and Valley Park Apartments were added to the east and west of Beth-Allen Gardens, there was much surrounding farmhand to be explored by inquisitive kids. Maybe because he wanted to be able to keep an eye on us, my father built us our own private playground in the back yard. It included monkey bars, a swing set, a jungle gym, a playhouse, and a sandbox. Soon our yard was the destination spot for all the neighborhood kids. Injuries ensued, as one of our neighbors broke her arm on our monkey bars and I had my shin sliced open by the swing set. Good times! The attached photo shows me with my brother, Jerry, sitting on the jungle gym, about 1965.