Saturday, September 26, 2020

Saturday's postcard: Whale at Moon Valley Park in Milford, Pa.

In 2020, the idea of being swallowed alive by a whale doesn't necessarily seem like the worst possible outcome.1 Which leads us to today's vintage postcard, Pinocchio and the Whale from Moon Valley Park in Milford, Pennsylvania. 

Let's skip past the fact that the whale looks like a goldfish on steroids and start with the information on the back of this postcard, which was mailed to an address in Brooklyn, New York, with a 3.6¢ bulk-rate postmark. The text states:

Walk inside the Whale and relive the storybook experiences of Pinocchio. 
One of the most enchanting and unique exhibits in the East. 
 Story Book Land and Animal Farm
 Western Pioneer Town 
U.S. Routes 6 & 209 
Milford, Pa.

There is an additional stamped bit of text that encourages folks to inquire about brochures, cottages and group rates. (See below.) 

The postcard was "Photographed & Published" by Albert W. Koster, Pocono Scenicards & Photographics, Stroudsburg, Pa. It was made by Dexter Press of West Nyack, New York.

There's not a tremendous amount of information about long-gone Moon Valley Park available online. Here are some of the puzzle pieces I put together:

-- I can't find exact dates for when the park was in operation, but the best guess appears to be the 1960s until the late 1970s or early 1980s. 

-- "Memories of Milford" is a five-minute video produced by Knowles Media and narrated by Theresa Rocco. She talks a lot about Moon Valley Park, and you can watch it on this Vimeo page. In a comment on that video, Jeremy Wolfe notes: "I worked one summer at Moon Valley Park running the pony concession. I was 14 or 15 and this was 1974 or 1975 and I lived with my grandmother for the summer. It was my first 'real' job as a youngster." Wolfe also notes that he spent almost as much time reading Tolkien books (while waiting for customers) as he did working that summer.

-- In 2014, Jessica Cohen of the Times Herald-Record provided this bit of related info: "Built in 1850, the Hiawatha stagecoach, which will be displayed at the Tri-State Historical Exhibit, was once a busy vehicle. But a few decades ago, it found itself enclosed and neglected in a barn in Moon Valley Park, a children’s fantasyland in Milford on Route 6 and 209. The park vanished, but the Hiawatha was given to the Pike County Historical Society in the 1970s, says Lori Strelecki, Columns Museum director. At the age of 6, she had walked into the mouth of a whale at Moon Valley Park, and as an adult she had an opportunity to ride in the stagecoach, as the Historical Society restored its splendor."

-- Finally, there's an extensive February 2017 post about Moon Valley on the Dingmans Ferry - Delaware Twp Historical Society Facebook page. One of the predecessors of Moon Valley, at a different site, was Rainbow Village, which featured storybook-themed colleges. The operators of Rainbow Village, the Kerns, later decided to create a pioneer-themed attraction. The Facebook post states: "Lovers of nature, the couple rescued and raised orphaned animals and thus began the addition of a petting zoo which grew to include a bobcat, lynx, raccoon, ponies and llamas. The petting zoo led to the creation of a game farm and there was no stopping there! Storybook Land was born and to the delight of adults and children alike, continued to grow with the inclusion of Mr. Kern's fairytale exhibits. The park was advertised as 'One of the most enchanting and unique exhibits in the East, where the young at heart can relive the experiences of their storybook friends.' Children could visit the old woman in the shoe, spend time with Pinocchio in the belly of a giant yellow whale or play on the (wooden) horse drawn stagecoach before hiking the path to 'Rainbow Falls.'" The Kerns sold the property to the Canouse family in the mid-1960s, and the Canouses renamed the attraction Moon Valley Park. More exotic birds, a gift shop and a snack bar were added. It didn't last forever, of course. But it had quite a heyday.

1. I mean, Reichstag is trending on Twitter this morning. So that can't be good, right?

1 comment:

  1. My family vacationed several times at Moon Valley Park in the ‘70’s and early ‘80’s. It was a wonderful place for children. I loved the 2
    bears and the beagle pups that they sold. The Canouse’s were a
    wonderful family. Loved walking up to see the 2 waterfalls. We were
    very sad when we heard the property had been sold. Ourlast visit in the “Bambi” cabin was in the early ‘80.