Park Stories – Ep. 1 – Fred Maurer, Friends of Tacony Creek Park

Fred Maurer (second from right) receiving the TTF Legacy Award in 2016.

A native Philadelphian and longtime Olney resident, Fred Maurer has been a member of the Friends of Tacony Creek Park for more than 25 years, serving as Vice President of Conservation Matters. He has dedicated countless hours to the park’s conservation, and even today, you can find him out on the trail, cleaning up the park.

In the first episode of Park Stories: An Oral History of Tacony Creek Park, Maurer sits down with Dr. Matthew Smalarz, Chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Manor College, to discuss Maurer’s strongest memories of the park and its changes through the years, including the following indexed segments:

0:30 – Growing up in Kensington, moving to Olney, horse-drawn wagon rides, and Mustang Stables. “When I was, uh, probably about seven years old or eight years old, my sister took me to have a wagon hay ride.”

4:30 – The changes in recreational use before and after WWII, and the development of the park’s first recreational building at Whitaker Ave.

8:30 – Park improvements in the 1970s made possible by U.S. Bicentennial funding, including a hard bicycle path, picnic groves, fire rings, and last but not least: bridges!

14:15 – Cold War-era development plans and how losing a $25 million William Penn Foundation grant actually ended up saving the park

20:00 – Tacony Creek’s influence on Fred’s views on the environment, including how several months hiking the Appalachian Trail led to 30 years working on it

22:30 – Parks as a place of refuge during 9/11

30:15 – Changes in the communities around the park and the educational void left by the loss of funding for Park Guards

34:15 – This year’s major park improvement at Adams Avenue, thanks to PennDOT

37:45 – What Tacony Creek means to Fred after all these years

CLICK HERE to listen to the full interview with Fred Maurer.

Do you have a story to share? Whether you’ve been visiting the park for 50 years or just a few months, we’d love to hear from you. We are committed to gathering stories from the wide range of perspectives in our culturally and ethnically diverse park community.

Interested in sharing your stories from the park? Contact or call 215-744-1853.

This project has been made possible with support from the Joseph Robert Foundation.

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