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John MacCarley collection of Willow Grove Park concert programs


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Once touted as "America's finest amusement park," Willow Grove Park was established in 1896 by the People's Traction Company, which had built a trolley line to Willow Grove the year before. Located between Welsh Road and Old York Road in Montgomery County just north of Philadelphia, the park offered many attractions to local and out-of-town visitors, including concerts and dining; picnic facilities and nature walks; rides, a racetrack, games, and gambling; and illuminated fountains. During the park’s formative years, its popular outdoor concert series brought many well-known band leaders to the region, including John Phillips Sousa, Arthur Pryor, Victor Herbert, and Walter Damrosch. By the mid-twentieth century, the grounds had evolved into a full-fledged amusement park; however, it fell into a slow decline over the 1960s and 1970s. The park finally closed in the mid 1970s and was soon after razed to make way for the Willow Grove Park Mall, which opened in 1982.

This collection contains roughly three hundred daily, weekly, and seasonal programs for musical concerts at the park held between 1904 and 1925, with the majority of the programs dating from the years 1906 to 1914. Altogether, they highlight a concert series that was held during the summer, from the end of May to the beginning or middle of September. (There are no programs from other months.) In addition, there is a group of undated weekly programs and an undated program for a special event entitled "Nine Days of Gala Music." Each program contains images of the day’s or week's featured band leader, the list of works to be performed, and a list of the park's features.

Images of America: Willow Grove Park. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, South Carolina, 2005. (Call number UPA/Mt F 159 .W73 W54 2005)

Gift of John MacCarley, 2002.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Cary Majewicz.
Finding Aid Date
, March 2010
Processing made possible by a generous donation from Carol A. Ingald.

Collection Inventory

Programs, (1904-1910).
Box 1 Folder 1
Programs, (1911-1914).
Box 1 Folder 2
Programs, (1920, 1922-1923).
Box 1 Folder 3
Programs, (1925, undated).
Box 1 Folder 4

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