Nestled in the “Slate Belt” and originally inhabited by the Lenni Lenape tribe, Pen Argyl Borough was part of the land created by the “walking purchase” made by William Penn’s sons, John and Thomas, in 1737. It was home to many famous citizens, notably Jayne Mansfield (buried here), Aldo Ray and Olympian Kristen Maloney
The region’s geology created its first industry and in 1854, the first slate quarry opened in Pen Argyl and soon many others followed. The need for “slaters” – quarry workers- brought a wave of immigrants from England. As these workers and their families arrived, row homes and company stores were built to house and feed the laborers. The town was originally known as “Slateville” or “Wind Gap Quarries”. Legend has it after visiting the area in 1865, Augustus Wolle, found of Bethlehem Iron Foundry, coined the phrase “Pen Argyl”; Pen is the Celtic word for “mountain” and Argyl is Greek meaning “slate rock”. In 1882, the town council met for its first session and officially adopted Pen Argyl as the town’s name.
As the Slate Industry declined, a textile economy grew, highlighting a people ready for hard work and its ability to adapt and change with the world’s needs.
Pen Argyl’s crown jewel, a circa 1920 Dentzel Carousel was purchased in 1923 and placed in Weona Park which was chartered in 1920. One of only 2 left in the country with original factory paint, the Carousel is a circa 1900 machine with a menagerie of 44 animals; 34 horses and ponies, 3 goats, 3 giraffes, 3 deer, 1 zebra and 2 chariots. In 1994 the animals were restored to their original glory and in 1999, the Carousel was entered into the National Historical Registry of Historic Places. Weona Park also boasts a swimming pool, miniature golf course, skate park, recreational fields and pavilions for public use. Each year in the fall is the Lookout Fire Company Labor Day parade and carnival, the largest of its kind in the area.
Pen Argyl is “close to everywhere”, but retains the traditional hard-working qualities upon which it was founded. Visitors who take the short drive off the major highways will find beautiful Victorian houses, locally owned eateries, and service businesses ready to greet you with a smile and provide for your needs.