Dec 20, 2006, 12:10 PM
WOODLAND PARK ASHLAND PA.
COAL AREA SKATING RINK SCENE
Apr 16, 2007, 05:59 PM
Re: WOODLAND PARK ASHLAND PA.
Before the days of automobiles and coal was still king in the region, the Schuylkill Traction Co., which operated a successful trolley line, built a park northeast of Ashland to encourage trolley usage on the weekends.
Woodland Park, located in the patch of Big Mine Run was like the Knoebels Amusement Resort of those days, with its hurdy-gurdy man, popcorn stand and amusements, according to Klock.
"It gave people from Mahanoy City to Shamokin something to do, somewhere to go on the weekend," he said.
In operation from 1892 to 1929, Woodland Park, with its open-air theater, skating rink and dance hall was a favorite gathering place on Sunday afternoons where families could picnic and commune with nature.
Dated June 28, 1907, a clipping from Ashland's former newspaper, The Evening Telegram, is included in the case. It announces that the locally popular band, The Dorsey's Band from Mahanoy Plane, will be playing at the opening of the skating rink in Woodland Park. The Dorsey's were regular entertainers at Woodland's dance hall on Sunday afternoons also.
Klock gathered most of the information, photographs and enlargements of postcards included in the display from George T, Sharp, Media. Sharp, in his 90s according to Klock, is the grandson of Kimber C. "KC" Lee who managed Woodland's theater as well as the former Temple Theater in Ashland and the Girard Opera House in Girardville.
The Woodland Theater would host vaudeville shows and was a favorite venue for silent movies or "flickers" as they were called.
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Ashland's own, Goldie Job, were shown at this open-air theater.
In 1929, the rise in use of other forms of transportation, as well as a strike by trolley employees, forced the closure of the Traction Company, which led to the closure of the park, according to Klock.
"It certainly was a good time in its heyday," noted Klock.
According to Ford, one visitor to the Post Office commented his grandparents had gotten engaged at Woodland. Today all that recalls the picturesque park enjoyed by numerous local families of yesterday are some ruins near Big Mine Run and this charmingly rendered display.
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