Kiosks, Signs and Such

Last Monday night was the way-finding presentation in Lansdale. The consultants presented the various ways to inform the public about where to park, where White’s Road Park is, where Borough Hall is, etc. Not very exciting stuff as evidenced by the reaction from the Public, and I’ll have to admit that my mind was also wondering during this presentation until our presenter mentioned kiosks.  We could have the kiosks– they’re innocuous enough– but we could also add a few historical markers that would show residents and visitors alike that we are a bit off-center and fun-loving. How about a marker near the train tracks on Main Street that peaks the interest of visitor and resident alike by describing an interesting occurrence from the early part of the last century. It is more elaborately detailed by Richard Shearer, President of the Lansdale Historical Society, but here could be the brief, summary for the marker:

Lansdale Legends

In or around 1910 at Main Street and Railroad Avenue, an unusual culinary event took place involving a butcher prone to seizures, a performing bear and a raucous group of residents.

Now that would make an impression, in addition to piquing one’s curiosity about the event and Lansdale itself! gypsy bear 3

Another idea for a marker would be to incorporate the H or Hell Tree. According to legend in the book, Weird Pennsylvania, Lansdale was home to one of three H-trees that exist throughout the world (it doesn’t offer information where the other two are). It stood on a 12 foot hill and was an entrance to– of all places– hell. The legend stated that one would have to circle the tree six times and then jump off of the 12 foot cliff at which point the ground would open up and welcome you to hell. Unfortunately, the tree like many other attractions in town, was bulldozed to make room for a housing development or something like that. If the H-tree was found tomorrow, all of Lansdale’s marketing problems would be solved. Think of the potential revenue from a location in Lansdale where people could actually go to hell? Now that’s what I call a transportation hub! But back to reality, an H-tree historical marker in town makes Lansdale interesting.

Lansdale Legends

Somewhere in Lansdale– we’re not exactly sure– was an H-tree which marked the entrance to Hell. To enter one had to circle the tree six times and then jump off a 12 foot cliff at which point the ground would open up and welcome them to their destination.

H tree

Imagine the photo ops for residents and visitors alike for this one!

My point in all this is to embrace the odd, which makes Lansdale a more personal and memorable place. Put up markers that highlight these oddities. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I probably will when I say that the new Lansdale logo on flags hanging from the lampposts throughout town is generic. Strip malls have them. Let’s do something different.


3 responses to “Kiosks, Signs and Such

  1. Andy,

    Love your ideas on creative ways to enhance the kiosks. I certainly think things like this would work well in a walk-able community such as ours, and could also be incorporated into the walking tours that I know we’ve heard about before at CommComm/EDC.

    I’ll be the first to admit that street signage isn’t (by its nature) the most exciting thing in the world, but I’m sure you’ll agree that a well-planned, consistent and functional way-finding program is essential for a town that’s looking to direct people quickly to the right places, be parking or parks. I think that Merje has done a nice job of putting us on just such a path to an excellent way-finding system that is consistent, sharp and functional.

    I do certainly recognize that it’s tough to have a signage presentation be exciting enough to keep your mind from “wondering.” We’ll have to think of ways to spice it up in the future. :-)

  2. I like it. It would be great to invite the community to submit ideas. My neighbor is in his mid-80s… he was postman back in the day when 4 of them covered the town on foot. He’s got stories. We recently lost another great storyteller who was in her early 90s and filled me in on some colorful history about my block. Even if all the stories didn’t make it onto signs, they could make a great living history addition to the boro website which sorely needs some warmth and character.

  3. Laurie Hilderbrand

    Surely someone must remember where the H tree location is? I grew up in Lansdale, but I never heard this legend? It would be interesting to know more.

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