History of the Park and Pool
In 1915, William and Minnie Thomas began a campaign for a Catasauqua Park and Playground, secured an option to buy 12 acres of land on the Kurtz farm, which was subsequently purchased by the Yeager brothers of Allentown for building lots as the East Catasauqua Land Development Co. Regarding the land along the creek that was subject to flooding, Thomas convinced the borough and school district to exempt the land from taxes and allow a park to be created there. The Park and Playground Association was formed which raised the funds to purchase the land from the Yeagers and construct basketball courts, tennis courts, volleyball courts and a bandshell. A lake was hand dug and water lines extended from Walnut Street to the park to provide fresh drinking water. Administrators were hired to run programs for boys and girls and fund raising to maintain programs and facilities was ongoing, including running a week-long carnival before each Labor Day to raise funds for the upcoming season. The Association managed the playground until 1930 after which a supervisor was hired to direct activities. The lake remained a problem as the water level seemed come and go, and a curfew had to be established to prevent children from potentially drowning in the lake after dark. When Mr. Thomas died, the Association deeded the park and playground to the Catasauqua School District in 1931.
Under the WPA program, the borough was able to further develop the playground and park. The creek bed was enclosed with limestone walls, an athletic field was established (the Atlas Cement Co brought crews to survey and level the land) and in 1932 the field was dedicated as Thomas field. A second WPA project resulted in the construction of the swimming pool and bathhouse which opened in 1936.
In 1938 an area was leveled for roller skating and ice skating: now the parking lot. Also under the WPA program, new playground equipment was installed. The school district operated and maintained the playground until 1936, at which time it became a shared responsibility of the school district and borough for six years. During the 60’s the state considered taking over the schools and consolidating them in county districts. Rather than risk the park ownership transferring to the county, ownership was completely transferred to the borough in 1969, except for Thomas Field. The Fuller family paid to improve the tennis courts in 1964.