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Lorimer Park has been a staple of Montgomery County for hundreds of years. How did it become what it is today, though? In this article, we will discuss the history of the park and show off some of the great things you can do while you’re there. Let’s get started!
History of the Park
Long ago, the land now known as Lorimer Park was owned by The Lenni Lenape. That name will likely be most familiar to those who have visited the park before and gone to see Council Rock. This beautiful rocky location overlooking the meadow across the Pennypack Creek is actually one of the main locations where the tribe would have meetings. With a height of nearly 100 feet, it’s not hard to see why it wouldn’t be an attractive place.
In 1867, a man named George Horace Lorimer decided to buy the 2000 acre property. As you might surmise from that size of a purchase, he was already fairly wealthy. He was the successful owner of the Saturday Evening Post. Perhaps less known today, the paper was once a titan in American households and would be a staple of American culture for decades. He single handedly turned the business from one dangling on the edge of irrelevance into one of the most successful magazines in the country. The paper is best remembered today for having the now-famous painter Norman Rockwell paint hundreds of their covers over the years and was a big reason for how he became so well known.
However, Lorimer learned fairly quickly that owning all that land and just sitting on it was a bit of a waste. So, he began selling much of it off. By the time he died in 1936, the land was just 132 acres. This size would slowly increase again over the years to the size it is today at around 230 acres, the perfect size for a beautiful wildlife and flora sanctuary.
During his life, he used the park as both a retreat from his busy life as the editor of the Post as well as inspiration for his own writing. In a great act of generosity, he left instructions for after he died for the land to be permanently kept as a public park for all to enjoy. His intention was for the land to never be commercialized and be kept “in as nearly its natural state as shall be possible.” He dedicated the park in memory of his daughter, wanting it to be even enjoyable “for little girls”.
Something to Do for Everyone
When visiting the park it’s easy to be overwhelmed with ideas of what to do with your time there. For people who enjoy hiking on trails, this park has an abundance. At over 6 miles of crisscrossing paths, it would be impossible to see it all in a single visit. Not to mention that the park allows not only for walking but biking and horseback riding as well. And when it snows, plan to visit Lorimer Park to go sledding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing!
For those looking for a quieter and slower-paced activity, this park is also perfect for fishing, bird watching, and observing wildlife. As part of being an island of nature in the middle of suburbia, the land naturally attracts birds and animals from every walk of life. Don’t be surprised if you run into animals like bunnies, groundhogs, and even deer. Listing off all the birds that call Lorimer Park home would take another article of its own. The Wyncote Audubon Society actually holds regular guided bird walks, so even people who aren’t seasoned observers can get to experience them..Remember to bring your binoculars!
With all that being said, is it any wonder that so many Montgomery County residents travel there all year round? If you want to show off your love for the park and the county, consider picking up a t-shirt from our store.