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You’ve heard of Eldora Park before, but had no idea where it was. Now is your chance to satisfy your curiosity.

One of the many benefits of urbanization and industrialization was the development of leisure time for the laboring masses. What was once the exclusive domain of the “Idle Classes,” wage laborers working timed shifts, found themselves with two things they never had before: free time and discretionary income. This newfound leisure did not go unnoticed by enterprising entrepreneurs who realized providing service to fulfill the needs and wants of this new class meant big business.  


One of the more interesting combinations of service and entertainment was the trolley park. As the urban landscape expanded, mass transportation became a necessity in moving people from place to place. In an effort to increase ridership, provide a rural escape from urban living, and tap into discretionary income by selling entertainment, the trolley park was born. Eldora Park followed in the pattern of Kennywood, Luna, West View and dozens of others across the United States. Located three miles west of Donora, Eldora Park opened in 1904 to an overwhelming throng of five thousand people. Compared to the more famous trolley parks, the amusements were relatively meager: a gravity roller coaster, a carousel, a “bamboo” slide, and games of chance and skill. Just as important were the picnic pavilions, the bandstand and dance pavilion (converted into a roller rink in the winter), an “Electric Theater,” a picture gallery, a restaurant, and curiously Landfeld’s Men’s Clothing Store. Still, this tiny, out-of-the-way trolley park was able to attract world renowned speakers and performers.

After six years of successful tours, the Donora Historical Society has scheduled their seventh annual Eldora Park Walking Tours for Saturday, April 15 at 12:00 noon and Sunday, April 16 at 1:00 pm after the winter has lessened the forest’s undergrowth. These will be the only Eldora Park tours this year. 

Names, phone numbers and email addresses are now being accepted and added to a RSVP signup list. It’s anticipated that both tours will fill up, so please respond with your flexibility for each of the two dates. You will be contacted by phone or email to confirm your RSVP. There may be a possibility that we may have tours on Saturday, April 29 at 12:00 noon and Sunday, April 30 at 1:00 pm. If you can’t make this year’s tour, it’s encouraged that you still contact the Historical Society to get on a RSVP reminder list for next year.

The tours will start at the Smog Museum (595 McKean Avenue) with a photo and newspaper article presentation highlighting the amenities and personalities mentioned above. Two century-old Eldora Park panoramic photos will also be featuredThe presenter will be Smog Museum curator and archivist Brian Charlton.

The tour groups will then drive the three miles to the Eldora section of Carroll Township to conduct the walking tour portion on the historic Wickerham farm, retracing the trolley line and trample through the wooded footprint of the original park with the help of one of the Wickerham descendants.

Two hiking routes can be taken, one more demanding than the other. You may do as much hiking as you’d like to see the ruins and understand where the park amenities once existed a century ago. Three guides will be on hand to tell stories, point out ruins, and guide the groups. The cost is $12 per person and you should allow two hours for the presentation and walking tour. Appropriate footwear is suggested due to potentially wet or muddy conditions on portions of the trail. Hiking or walking sticks are also encouraged. Space will be limited for each tour.

If you have any questions about our Eldora Park Walking Tours, please consult our website and click on “Donora History” then “Eldora Park Walking Tour” tab, or contact the Historical Society.  

ADDITIONAL INFO                

If you have additional questions about the subjects mentioned above, the historical society, museum, presentations or possibly volunteering, feel free to stop by on Saturdays or by special appointment (with at least a week’s notice), email us at, call us at 724-823-0364 and leave a message, visit us on the web at, or follow us and Like Us on Facebook at “Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum.”



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