Griftlo Park

In 1911, the Allegheny Valley Traction Company leased land behind the present day Dairy Queen and Citgo Gas Station in North Apollo to provide a park for the community. The park was named Allison Park for the family who owned the land.  Griftlo Park is still privately owned by Henry A. St. Peter’s descendants.  Henry purchased Allison Park, December 30, 1922.  He renamed the Park to Griftlo Park shortly afterwards because of mail mix-up with Allison Park near Pittsburgh.  The name Griftlo Park combined the last syllables of Vandergrift and Apollo.

Griftlo Park featured a swimming pool, boating pond, carousal, 2 dance halls, and a bandstand, as well as a large picnic area with pavilions and a ball field. The park was a very popular place in the Valley until 1936, when much of it was destroyed by the St. Patrick’s Day flood. The last public picnics were held in 1964.

This aerial view was taken in 1929 by Clyde King.
Great map to show where Griftlo Park is.
A ticket from Griftlo Park (no year)
This photo shows the pond’s two islands and also the Vandergrift foundry in the background.

This picture is of the lake in 2014.
The swimming pool was a popular attraction for area residents.
This photo of the Dance Pavilion was taken in 1914 before the name was changed.

Leaving Griftlo Park by streetcar, this photo was taken in 1916.

Thanks so much to Deborah Daugherty and Ed Newton for some of these pictures.

22 thoughts on “Griftlo Park

  1. Jackie Hiner August 3, 2017 / 9:27 am

    This park is privately owned and is not open to the public.

    Liked by 1 person

    • apollopahistory August 3, 2017 / 10:46 am

      Thanks for your comment. We did add that to the above description to make it very clear!!


  2. Lawana Murphy January 23, 2019 / 10:48 am

    Our family had reunions & picnics there. My older sisters & brother went to that swimming pool & one or more of them told me the pool closed after someone drowned in it. It was a huge pool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • apollopahistory January 23, 2019 / 11:02 am

      No drownings; it was closed in the 1950’s due to the high cost of operating it.


  3. Loretta Beaver January 23, 2019 / 11:20 am

    Remember some church picnics there.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ken Artman January 23, 2019 / 1:06 pm

    That’s a great article. I often heard my parents talk about it. I seem to remember in the 60’s hearing about dances held there. I might be wrong about that. I love your Facebook posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jeff January 24, 2019 / 10:37 pm

    I moved to Stoops Court right behind the Dairy Queen, wondering if the hillside behind me was part of the trolley. Where is the pond at that is in the picture from 2014?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debbie D January 25, 2019 / 9:32 am

      Oh my goodness, thank you all for the interest in my heritage, history and my home, Griftlo Park! As a youngster, I remember the picnics at the Park. After my Grandpap, Buss St. Peter, closed the park as a business, my mom and dad, Bill and Virginia Whitacre, used the park as their private campground. We had many camping trailers there and spent many wonderful evenings by the pond with a giant campfire burning. As a teen, my cousin, Sharon, and I rode our motorcycles around the Park for HOURS. It kept us out of trouble, sorta. I left home in the 80’s to follow my husband, Kevin, around as he served our country in the US Navy.

      As stated before, the park closed to picnics sometime in the mid 60’s. The pool actually closed in the mid ’50’s due to the high cost of maintenance. According to Uncle Gene, there were a couple of cold summers and the Government wanted Grandpap Buss to put a filtration system on the pool that would make the water clear. It was just too much money and with the weather being fickle for swimming, they decided to close the pool. The cement is still there, and intact, the pool is slightly filled in with dirt.

      When Kevin and I came back “home” after 20 years away, my widowed mother offered us the Park to keep her safe and to keep the Park in the family. I sometimes have to pinch myself knowing I am the 4th generation to own this beautiful property. My cousins own my Uncle’s parcel of the Park, which included St. Peters Tavern and the gas station and where the dance hall was located.. I love having the property still in the family, makes us feel whole.

      I own what was the picnic grounds, ponds, swimming pool and ride area. Yes, the embankment by Stoops court was the bed for the trolley tracks.

      Again, I thank you for your interest in my home and my family history.
      Deborah Daugherty

      Liked by 2 people

      • apollopahistory January 25, 2019 / 9:59 am

        Thank you, Debbie for this excellent personal history of Griftlo Park. It seems like many people have fond memories of the park!


      • Diane February 13, 2019 / 9:04 pm

        I worked with your mother at the Elks Counry Club. Wonderful lady and could be very funny too.

        Liked by 2 people

    • MICHAEL E TARDIVO March 14, 2022 / 6:05 pm

      Yes that is the old trolley tracks behind your place, it ran from Apollo to Leechburg.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Deborah Daugherty March 4, 2019 / 11:45 am

    Diane, After my father died in 1973, mom worked, for many years, at Isaly’s in Vandergrift. I used ride my bicycle over to visit with her. Mom had a dry, sometimes impish, sense of humor! I miss her so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dave Turner September 5, 2020 / 8:30 pm

    My Father worked there when the fireworks all went off at the same time

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kevin Gibbons July 25, 2021 / 8:55 pm

    I remember living down in Griftlo Park, for a 5 year periodic the late 80’s and early 90’s. I rented a spot from Gene, “Butch”, and Ronnie St.Peter and had a mobile home there. It was surreal living at a beautiful historic landmark. I enjoyed having Donna and her girls, Virginia and her son, the St. Peter’s and later, Kevin and Deb as neighbors. They all made me feel like part of their family when I lived down there. But it also helped working for the Sheriffs department and with Ron at Rainbow Control. LOL. That was certainly a time that I will never forget.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Bob Haggart January 18, 2023 / 1:37 am

        As a very young boy, my brother would go to Griftao Park and went square dansing and rolling skateing at the Roller Rink. Thet was back in the late 40s and early 50s. Never did learn to skate backwards. But I do remember it well.

        Liked by 1 person

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