Formerly known as the Trading Post restaurant as part of Indian Trail Park, it was rebuilt and reopened in 2007.
HISTORY OF THE LEHIGH TOWNSHIP HISTORICAL CENTRE
On May 15, 1929, James and Mary Hower sold land in Pennsville to two brothers, William and Samuel Solliday; the property was then sold by the Indian Trail Park Company. The property had several owners over the years. In September of 1977, the property was sold at a sheriff's sale to the First National Bank of Allentown and on April 21, 1978, the bank sold it to Lehigh Township and it was then added to the township recreation system. Saullo Amusements leased the park up until 1984, at which time the lease was terminated. In 1939, Rollin and Anna Minnich bought the property east of Cinchona Road which contained the pool and the Trading Post (a restaurant up until 1959) from the Sollidays. Eventually, the property would be used as a garment factory for several years and a poultry business. Over the years, the well-known park had changed its appearance many times. Today, the amusement rides are gone. The penny arcade, swimming pool and grist mill were torn down. For many years, the Trading Post had been neglected; it was run-down and in a deteriorated state; the roof was leaking, the wood was rotted, and floors were termite infested. Mae Bowman, of the Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors, was aware of the approaching 250th anniversary of Lehigh Township in October of 2002, and made some calls to residents to inquire about an interest in forming a historical society. Mae was instrumental in publishing a newsletter, "The Lehigh Township Voice." In the newsletter, there was information concerning the formation of a historical society in Lehigh Township and it also included a questionnaire concerning the Indian Trail Park restaurant building which asked for input as to whether the building should be torn down or restored and used. For several years, there were discussions to tear down the building. The majority of replies was in favor of preserving the building. Early in 2001, a small group gathered at the Lehigh Township Municipal building and founded the Lehigh Township Historical Society. They elected officers and set goals for the organization. One of the first orders of business was to investigate the restoration of the old Trading Post for use as a museum. In November of 2002, Society members took a giant leap to move forward with preserving this historical site which was part of Indian Trail Park. A 29-year lease was signed with the option of purchasing the building. Following the signing, members manually started to tear down rotted wood and hauled nine tons of trash away, which included brush that had been growing around the building, to get ready for the restoration. The fireplace and stone supports for the porch roof, the most important features of the building, remained undamaged and are still standing today. The Society hired a contractor to construct a building which resembled the original one as closely as possible. A big disappointment came when the original walls to be salvaged were blown down in a windstorm. Over the next several years, work continued to complete the historical centre. When the building was completed, memorabilia stored in St. Paul's Schoolhouse was moved to the new site. A grand opening was held on July 14, 2007, with great pride of the Society members and those involved in the project. It was quite an accomplishment for the small group who had worked so hard to reach their goal. The Lehigh Township Historical Society celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2011 and because of overwhelming support from the residents and members of the Society, an addition is needed to house all of the items donated to the Society. An addition was started in February of 2012, on an existing foundation. The exterior work of the centre addition has now been completed with the interior work yet to be finished. As early as April of 2007, plans had begun for an addition to the historical centre. The historical society has had an overwhelming response of its residents to donate items, books, maps, information, etc. More space was needed at the historical centre. Over the years, plans were reviewed and plans were changed. After receiving approval to begin the addition, the actual work began in 2012. There were regular inspections required. Stone was hauled in and the foundation was poured. Pipes were installed and the addition was framed. After the addition was under roof, windows and spouting were installed. Shingles were applied to the roof. Inside work included electrical work, installing insulation and dry wall, spackling, painting the walls and window frames and then, flooring. The final stages were installing cabinets and fixtures. Since the work was completed, items are being moved and organized. The addition provided a storage area, a small kitchenette, a meeting place, and an area for archives, office area, etc. The main building will now be used entirely for displays and showcases of memorabilia. Thanks to everyone who labored with this big project! After seven years of planning and work, it has finally come to fruition! The Lehigh Township Historical Society, with the continuous support of volunteers, has been able to accomplish remarkable progress and growth over the last ten years and looks forward to successful and productive years ahead. Our progress at 10 years was acknowledged in an article in the Times News on August 26, 2011. This year, 2016, we celebrate our 15 years of preserving the history of Lehigh Township.