FOPP FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
by: Harvey Cantor
Each month the FOPP receives questions on a variety of topics via our e-mail address: FriendsPennypack@comcast.net. Here are the most frequently asked questions.
- I am having a party in the park do I need a permit? OR whom do I need to call to reserve our traditional spot for our annual family gathering in the park?
A: Contact: The Fairmount Park Commission, Permits/Special Events: (215) 685-0060.
- Where is the best place in Pennypack Park to have my bridal party photographed?
A: Without a doubt, Crystal Springs at Rowland Avenue and Rhawn Street is the best place. It is the site of the Crystal Springs Inn that stood there during the 1800's and early 1900's. The Fairmount Park Commission, with the help of the Friends of Pennypack Park restored the site several years ago. The landscaped setting makes a great backdrop with an assortment of flowers, bushes and trees.
- Do you have a trail map of Pennypack Park?
A: There are actually several maps of the Pennypack Park. Three are available for printing at the Friends of Pennypack Park website: http://www.balford.com/fopp. A donation to the Friends of Pennypack Park enables future reprints of the trail maps.
A full color map of the Pennypack Park is available through the Fairmount Park Commission. To receive a full color trial map(s) of the Wissahickon Valley and/or the Pennypack Parks, you can fill a form that is available at: or mail a donation of $2.00 per map (check or money order only -- payable to Fairmount Park Commission) to:
Attention: Trail Maps
One Parkway – 10th Floor
1515 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
The trail permit application and map request are also available for download: at www.fairmountpark.org
- Why hasn't the dam at Frankford Avenue been rebuilt and the dam at Rhawn Street been repaired?
A: The dams along the Pennypack are old and do not really benefit the creek. They were originally built to provide power for the grist and factory mills that once lined the Pennypack. They were built where the mill owners owned land, and not built with the environment of the creek in mind. Later the dams were rebuilt at their present locations to provide swimming holes that where maintained and staffed by the Park Commission during the 1930s and 40's. The commission does not have the funds to maintain them. Therefore, they are hindrance to the natural flow of the creek, as over the years debris has collect behind them. They were built when the area around the park was less populated, and before there were miles of streets with stormwater inlets feeding into the creek. Over development causes excessive flows during storms. There is the issue of safety and liability. Over the past several years there have been deaths and injuries from people swimming at the dams.
All over, the world governments and agencies are reevaluating the need for dams in specific locations. One reason for the increase in decommissioning activities is the poor condition of the nation's dams, 1,800 of that are officially deemed unsafe. By 2020, 85% of all government owned US dams will be at least 50 years old, the typical design life-span. Supporters of dam removal are calling attention to a serious lack of funding for dam safety programs.
You can learn more about this subject on the Internet, especially the November 1998 Smithsonian Magazine at:
- Where can I get information on the Pennypack Park Concerts?
A: Pennypack Park Music Festival: Pennypack Park Bandshell, Welsh Rd & Rowland Ave; (215) 745-5689. Call after 2 p.m. for schedule.
You'll often find a link to the schedules posted on the FOPP Home Page.
For Information on the Friends of Pennypack Park visit our website at: http://www.balford.com/fopp. In addition, while you are at our website you can link to other places of interest.