17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Thursday, August 22, 1912: Rufus and I went over to Ottawa this morning. We did quite a bit of traveling around before the day was over. Uncle Sam took us for a drive down to Billmeyer’s Park and back.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Grandma and her sister Ruth—Grandma calls her Rufus in this entry— probably took the train the ten or so miles to the small town of Ottawa (Montour County), to visit their uncle Sam Muffly.
Billmeyer’s Park, a popular wildlife park, was located a few miles from Ottawa, near Washingtonville.
According to the History of Montour County by Fred Diehl:
This park was maintained by Mr. Alexander Billmeyer, one time a member of the Pennsylvania State Legislative.
The park consisted of some twenty-five acres, mostly woodland, completely enclosed by a high woven wire fence, and contained at one time twenty elk, seventy deer, and hundreds of wild turkeys and squirrels. No hunting was allowed in the park. . . .
Along the enclosure was a 20-acre picnic area. On a Sunday a thousand people might be there, for it was free, and a spot renowned for miles.
11 thoughts on “Billmeyer’s Park”
I wonder what happened to it. It looks like a lovely spot to spend an afternoon.
The book says that after Alexander Billmeyer died in 1924, his son took it over. His son closed the park in 1928 because it was too expensive to maintain.
I was just thinking…could this the PPL preserve now? I will have to check it out…
I’m not sure where it was–though I don’t think that it is the PPL preserve. (I can remember when the land that is now the PPL preserve was owned by several different farmers. I think that several houses and barns were torn down when the PPL plant was built.) The book says that Billmeyer’s Park was located just east of Washingtonville in Derry Township.
I looked it up today and yes, the preserve was actually built for PPL, and no mention of Billmeyers Park. I will have to ask a friend of mine if she knows exactly where it used to be. She has lived in the Lewisburg area for over 45 yrs and was an Avon rep, all that time and knows all the little nooks and cranys and knows all the stories.
I hope she know where it was. Let me know what you find out.
I will be in touch….Blessings Patty
How lovely and interesting. I do expect the park was expensive to maintain, though. I’m glad your grandmother had a nice, late-summer afternoon with her sister and uncle…
It does look like a lovely park.
It’s hard to image how the owner was able to afford to maintain the park without charging an admission fee. No wonder his son decided it was too expensive.
I just purchased the old Billmeyer Park ground. One pond is still there and a number of other ponds are now dry. It is interesting to look at the history. It is across rt 254 from the Billmeyer house which is now for sale.
Your property has a fascinating history. It’s amazing to think that hundreds of people visited Billmeyer Park on week-ends a hundred years ago.