(As it appears in the Program of Memorial and Dedicatory Services, June 6th, 1948)
In the spring of 1944, Harvey Steckel, Esq., of Allentown, suggested to several person of Egypt the appropriateness of establishing a park as a "Living Memorial" to the men and women of the community who served in World War II. During the summer of the same year, several informal conferences were held by Mr. Steckel, Francis Reinert, Edward Renner, Dallas Kohler and the Thomas Brendle at which the possibility of establishing a park was thoroughly explored. It was felt that the land along the historic Coplay Creek from the Troxell-Steckel House to Kohler coal yard would be a suitable site, not only for the beauty and advantages which a stream of water gives to a park, but also because that location would be an extension of the Troxell-Steckel project and to a certain extent form a unit with it.
THE FIRST MEETING
In response to the call a goodly number of people assembled in the Fire Hall. Mr. Steckel addressed the assemblage. He pointed out the value of a community park and suggested the lands along the Coplay Creek as a suitable site. The address was favorably received and immediate steps were taken to effect an organization for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a community park along the Coplay Creek. Temporary officers were elected: President, Thomas Brendle; Vice-President, Raynold Hankee; Secretary, Frances Reinert; Treasurer, Preston Smith; and Directors: Dr. Edwin Minner, Samuel Neupauer, Edward Renner, Dallas Kohler, Harry Weaver, Harry Grammes, Estella Reinert, Florence Kachline, Minnie Ritsick, Gertrude Leh and Florence Eberhart.
THE YEAR 1945 AND THE FIRST DRIVE
The first meeting of 1945 was held in May. Unexpected difficulties had arisen in obtaining title to the land, but faith in the ultimate realization of the project was not at all dimmed and plans were laid at this and subsequent meeting to raise the funds needed for development and improvements. A card index was made of the residents of the town and surrounding community; the area was divided into sections and canvassers appointed for each; and Henry Haberern was elected Financial Secretary. These preparations having been made, a drive for funds was scheduled to begin on July 21, 1945 and to close on August 15th. The goal aimed at was set at $25,000.
THE GREAT MEETING OF APRIL 29, 1946
The results of the drive showed that the community was wholeheartedly behind the project. The horizon, however, was not clear. The acquisition of the desired properties along the Coplay Creek was meeting with difficulties and, as often with delayed projects, undesirable features in the original plan itself began to be noted – there was the problem of flood waters, the distance from the center of the town, the difficulty of carving out a suitable playground and a baseball diamond, and of constructing a swimming pool which would meet the approval of the State Board of Health. All this came out in a discussion of the Coplay Creek plan at a meeting held on April 16, 1946. As a result, the Association turned to an alternate plan, the establishment of a park along Hill Crest Lane, with the baseball field as the primary unit.
THE YEAR 1947
The feverish activity of 1946 was not followed as one might suppose, by a letdown, and the work done in 1947 was equal to that of the preceding year. In spring, an anchor fence was erected around the entire property. The Tulip Poplars which had been planted did not thrive and were replaced with Oriental Sycamores and Oaks. Benches were bought at the Fogelsville Park, and also bleachers. A refreshment stand was opened and operated through the summer and fall under the supervision of William Hoffman.
In the past 65 years, the park has nearly doubled in size to 16 acres. Many improvements have been made, including more baseball fields, a band shell, an enclosed pavilion, a roof between the band shell and pavilion, new basketball courts, new playground equipment, new restroom facilities, and storage garages.
Today, as it has in the past and will continue in the future, the park is the scene of many activities. The traditional Easter Egg Hunt is held annually. The playground equipment is enjoyed by children of all ages. The athletic facilities are utilized to their fullest capacity by people of all ages. The park is home to many social activities, such as church picnics, birthday parties, graduation parties, family reunions, fish frys and other special events.
Several great improvements were made to the park in 2011. In June, the park had the good fortune of being the recipient of a field makeover through the Chevrolet Diamonds and Dreams contest won by Martin Chevalier, a gentleman who lived nearby. Part ofMr. Chevalier's prize was a field makeover, valued at $20,000, to a local organization of his choice. Ripken Designs of Baltimore engineered the project and the work was completed in October by a former major league groundskeeper.
With the gracious help of Whitehall Township, modern restrooms in the pavilion were completed in July. These restrooms will enable the park to utilize the pavilion year round for park functions and rentals. The first Egypt Memorial Park Christmas party was held on December 14, 2011. Plenty of food, drinks, games and a visit from Santa Claus helped make it a great success. It is sure to be an annual event.
The park also initiated a new website, egyptpark.org. The website includes news and events, photo galleries, game, field, and snack stand calendars and information on park rentals.
We will continue to update our facilities wherever and whenever needed. Goals include adding security cameras, a new sound system, a laptop computer, a new freezer, high-efficiency lighting in the kitchen and pavilion, concrete flooring and heaters for the pavilion, dugouts for all baseball fields, and the building of a fifth field on land shared with Whitehall Township, just west of little league field number three.
Original members of the Association toiled long hours to raise funds and to maintain the park. Those challenges remain, and presently active park members work hard to keep our park the pride of the community.
We would like to thank everyone who has contributed, with both time and money. With the help of the Egypt community and Whitehall Township over the past 65 years, the park has continued to be a great place for everyone. We look forward to continued success and fun for generations to come. To those of you who conceived this idea and are gone from us, we, who continue to enjoy the benefits of your efforts, say THANK YOU! To those of you who are active today, we know we could not continue without your help. To those who are not active, become active, for there is no greater reward than sharing a common goal with your fellow man, especially in sharing the principles upon which the Egypt Memorial Park was founded and continues to thrive and grow.