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Free rides at Dover Township’s Brookside Park: ‘Oh yes, but you were Dover kids so it was OK’

Dover Township (Pa.) Supervisor Madelyn Shermeyer provided this architectural rendering of the proposed carousel building, under consideration to replace the historic building at Brookside Park that was demolished after it was infested with destructive powder post beetles. York Barbell’s Bob Hoffman owned the park, built originally to spark trolley traffic in off-peak times. Also of interest: Trolley ran both ways between Manchester and Mount Wolf and ‘Teapot Dome’ back in York’s Continental Square: ‘It’s the historical significance of it’ and Trolleys helped make York’s Avenues sought-after locale.

Madelyn Shermeyer
has written a short history of the carousel building and other fixtures in the Dover Township’s Brookside Park.
Her hope is to stimulate the sale of bricks to be laid at the main entrance to the new carousel building, set to open in August.
To do this, she referenced “A History of Dover Township,” past conversations with former park owner Alda Ketterman and with Ketterman’s daughter, Miriam Lamparter.
Here’s what she wrote:

“Brookside Park was opened in 1901. Mr. Bob Hoffman bought the park in 1940 and it was his intention to restore the part to useable condition. I’ve been told by family members that Bob bought the 32-acre plot because when it came to “trees” he wanted to make sure they weren’t destroyed. Alda Ketterman related to me that Bob had a milch cow and tethered the cow in the park across from his residence. The cow was milked and Bob drank the cow’s milk – he wanted milk that had no additives. Mr. Hoffman installed the carousel in 1942/43.
“At the demise of Mr. Hoffman, Alda Ketterman was responsible for the park and carousel. She kept the carousel intact for quite a few years. After several break-ins and damage to the carousel figures (eyes gouged out, etc.), she had them repaired at least twice then she decided to sell the carousel. The purchaser promised he would keep it intact – not sell off the figures individually; unfortunately that didn’t happen. I understand from conversations I had with Alda there are a number of these figures in ‘stars’ homes in CA and the purchaser moved south of the border with the balance.
“Sometime after the carousel was removed, Alda gave Brookside Park to Dover Township. The Township rented out the buildings to various groups and organizations. There were weddings in the park and the receptions were held in the carousel building; family and school reunions rented the carousel building. Dover Township Recreation Dept. held Christmas in the Park and Halloween in the Park for a number of years. The township would use the carousel building in every event they sponsored.”

Madelyn wrote that she invited Alda to a Christmas in the Park event, and she watched the children line up for a visit with Santa. She said that this is what she had hoped to see – the park being used for children. She said she was happy with the programs the township sponsored and was most pleased with the carousel building in use for such programs.
In recent years, an inspection showed the powderpost beetle damage was so severe that the engineer would not certify that the building was safe. The township decided to demolish the building.
Madelyn continued:

“There was a majority of the Board of Supervisors that said, we went to re-build the carousel building as close to the exact likeness and size as the original. In my queries of some residents, they ALL agreed the carousel building should be re-built as close to the original as possible. Passing on the heritage of this building and park to future generations is most important.
“Being the oldest member of the Board of Supervisors, I have very fond memories of visiting Brookside Park, many rides on the carousel (admittedly not always having a ticket). When I asked Alda if she knew how many free rides she was giving, she laughed and said, “oh yes but you were Dover kids so it was OK.”

Madelyn wrote this about her short history: “A writer I’m not.”
I beg to differ.
A writer she is.

This shows the now-demolished building, a fixture at the old trolley park for years. The Dover Township Rec Department is selling bricks that will be engraved with the names of individuals or companies. The proceeds will go to offset the costs of the new building. For more information on Buy a Brick, call: 717-292-3634.

Also of interest
Historic Brookside Park carousel building v. powderpost beetles: The bugs are winning.