Thoughts on preservation, memory, and ordinary, fleeting things
Thank you so much for this article. My grandfather, George Briehler, built Stage Depot and Pennytown village and I grew up there with the rest of my family through middle school. He also owned the bowling alley Patricia’s Hiohela, named after his wife and my grandmother, Patricia. It’s amazing to us the positive memories people have of the place, which was so central to our family. I wish my Grandpop was alive to still see how people remembered what he built.
I remember going there when I was a child. There was a peacock, among other birds there, and we used to love if and when it went open up and spread its tail feathers. So beautiful. Other memoirs flooding in like going there and getting an ice cream sundae at the little restaurant after seeing the Ho-Val high school musical with my Dad or cutting off my long blond hair and getting a Dorothy Hamill haircut at the salon which made me so excited. Haha. Fun little memories of a great little place.
In 1984 my husband and I used to take my son to the petting zoo to feed the animals and then get to sit on a merry go round type of horse to get his hair cut at this children’s salon. I think there was a baby store there too where one could buy bibs, outfits for infants and toddlers, if I remember correctly.
I just googled "Pennytown" and came across this article. We used to go there for dinner with my grandparents when I was a kid. The restaurant had a huge barrel of pennies and supposedly you could win them all if you guessed the right amount. They served cream sodas, fried chicken, and ice cream sundaes so the menu was a kid's paradise! We loved going out to the petting zoo. There was one of those feed dispensers so you could feed goats for a dime or so. Just seeing the old sign in the photo here brought back so many memories.
Just drove through Pennington looking for Pennytown, thinking I missed it, I’m sad to read this story today. My first job for $2.12 per hour was as a busgirl at the restaurant . It was a coveted waitress job for sure , always busy and affordable . Thanks for keeping it alive through your good work.
The Stage Depot was where we went for family dinners with my Trenton grandparents, always including a stop by the petting zoo. Stayed in the motel once also, which I remember had a pool. All a long long time ago.
Ugh. So sad about the demise of Pennytown - I used to drive by it every time drove to/from DC when I lived there and visited my parents in Milford. As an aside, their used to be a very divey strip bar on 31 neraby that burned down in the 90s, I think. I went there once with a work colleague during our lunch hour (!) when I worked in Flemington, but it was so underwhelming I couldn't be bothered to go back.