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HISTORY LIVES: 50th anniversary of Peace Valley Park


From Stories Behind Peace Valley by Kathryn McKenna, published by the Doylestown Historical Society:

The Neshaminy Creek watershed had suffered from decades of disastrous flooding. As a result, in the early 1960s federal, state and county agencies devised a plan to build nine dams along the course of the Neshaminy in Bucks County. (Ultimately only eight were built.)

The dams were to create reservoirs for flood control and water supply, and two were planned for eventual use as county parks with recreational facilities. Building an earthen dam across the north branch of the creek, which was completed by the fall of 1973, was the first step in the creation of Peace Valley’s Lake Galena.

The lake began to fill with water in the spring of 1974; and on June 14 of that year a dedication ceremony for the park was held, 50 years ago this week.

The County Commissioners, the Bucks County Park Board, and the Department of Parks and Recreation had planned numerous recreational amenities such as playgrounds, picnicking and fishing. Boating, biking and hiking were made available, as well as restrooms, a maintenance center and offices. Originally the plans included a swimming pool, camping, golf courses, tennis courts, open playing fields for organized sports, riding stables, a cultural center and a sports center. The boathouse was designed to accommodate 515 canoes and rowboats.

However, the public rejected these plans fearing they would detract from the serenity of the valley; and today’s passive recreation site was created.

Map title: Neshaminy Creek Water Resources Development Plan (the original proposal for the park in the late 1960s.)

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