Wehr Dam – South Whitehall Township

I’ve been following this issue with interest over the last couple months. Primarily through “Molovinsky on Allentown“. The blog’s author Mike Molovinsky is a state house candidate running as an independent in the 183rd. Mr. Molovinsky has long been a champion of preserving Allentown Parkways historic WPA structures. Here his focus turns west to South Whitehall Township.

The Dam and Bridge are visually linked as the centerpiece of South Whitehalls flagship park.

The Dam and Bridge are visually linked as the centerpiece of South Whitehalls flagship park.

First, generally I support Dam removals. There are numerous environmental reasons and rationales. I also think historic preservation is important. So here, in this unique case we have competing historic and environmental arguments. Both things I’m concerned with. In this case I think the dam’s aesthetic and historic significance trumps the environmental concerns.

Like covered bridges, Mill dams are a part of our history. As Mike points out, we don’t build em anymore. Our area once had many. Some have been removed and more are likely to be. If there is one case for a single century old dam to be preserved I think that case can and should be made at Wehr.

I spend a good amount of time in this park since it has one of the areas best novice disc golf courses. I play it a couple times a year. So I’m familiar with it. I for one would definitely miss the dam since it’s clearly visually linked to the covered bridge as the centerpiece of this beautiful park.

Wildlands has stated the dam is neither historic nor aesthetic. As a general supporter of the wildlands and the work they do, I feel compelled to call them out on that statement. Seems a little insincere. Wildlands does important work. But I’m sorry, No one goes to that park without focusing their eyes on that Dam and Bridge. 

I do acknowledge the scientific arguments. But believe use of a little common sense in this unique case dictates recognizing that this dam/bridge combo is unique. Basically, there are lots more dams for the Wildlands to remove. Let’s keep at least one in the name of historic preservation.