Valley Glen

One of the first attractions of particular drawing power was the Flying Horse Machine or the Merry-Go-Round. Mr. Kline owned a sawmill and with ingenious skill in planning or inventing, he began cutting out and painting horses to mount on the machine. It was run by a steam engine and was operated from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. at a cost of a nickel a ride.


COTTAGE
In the perimeter of the Flying Horse Machine were posts on which torches were lit at night, giving the area a weird, uncanny feeling. As the machine whirled around those burning torches, who knows the limits of a child's imagination as the child tried to look beyond the circle of light.

Another example of the innovative ability of Mr. Kline was in using to the best advantage that which was at hand and was known as the Shooty-Chute. The Chute was built 60 feet into the tree-tops and sent the daring young men and boys hurtling through the air and crashing into the water with a tremendous splash.

One soon learned to separate oneself from the sled before entering the water, otherwise the rider could rattle every vertebra in his spinal column. This proved a great attraction for the more adventuresome young men and maidens.

A float was anchored in the deeper water which occasioned many a game of King-of-the-Hill. During quieter moments, the bather could stretch out on the float and enjoy the sun until some mischief-maker swam past and splashed cold water on the bather.


BOATING
There were 72 lockers available in which to change clothing. Men's woolen suits and the ladies suits were rented for fifty cents. It is recalled that on one July 4th, 400 bathers patronized the Park.

Those of a more sedate nature or more romantically inclined could enjoy a half-mile ride on a paddle boat named "Steamboat Annie" at a cost of a nickel a ride. Where the Raccoon Creek enters the Swatara, a channel was dug, permitting the boat to go beyond that point. On its return, the operator would pull the cord, sounding the steam whistle as they came roun t e en in t e cree is was a signal to the children to come running to the creek bank to witness Annie's return. Since the people of Lebanon had no facilities such as this, many patronized the Park. Mark Light had a number of busses and some Sunday afternoons he was known to bring four busloads to Valley Glen Park.

On many occasions, Milton S. Hershey brought factory employees to the Park for an outing. Church picnics and school functions, as well as social affairs enjoyed the Park. On one such trip, Paul Daub, of Palmyra, from whom much of this material was gleaned, heard his grandfather say to Mr. Hershey, as they were seated on a bench, "Milton, why don't you start a park on your hilly country where nothing can grow?" Mr. Kline's suggestion was accepted and Hershey Park is now the pride of Central Pennsylvania.

Another unusual feature of the Park was the Ice House. At the southern end of the Park, the Swatara was dammed in order to direct the water into the Union Canal. When the Canal was no longer used the dam remained. This area was highly regarded by fishermen. It was here, too, that Mr. Kline saw the possibilities of harvesting ice in the winter and storing it in the ice house. He built a windowless structure, 36 feet square, and this held a two year supply for summer use. The ice was hand-sawed into blocks two feet by four feet. The ice was then delivered by wheel-barrow throughout the park to the people occupying their cottages in the summer.


Excerpted fromWe Love PALMYRA 225THAnniversary