trolley parks

General discussion about fallen trolley and interurban lines in North America, past and present.

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Postby Disney Guy » Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:04 am

>>> I'm not trying for a 'big list' but there were many ...

One source I read (I forget where) mentioned around 2,000 "amusement parks" in existence in the mid 1920's. I take it that this encompasses parks with at least some major man made attraction, even if just an open but roofed pavilion for roller skating and dancing.

It wasn't said what percentage of the parks was owned and operated by trolley companies.

Alas (the same source) mentioned that after the depression of the 1930's only about 200 of those parks survived.

Trolley companies certainly had the advantage of their own electric power when it came to building amusement parks with powered attractions. Back then there were several companies that made carousels at a rate of more than just one a month each, so there must have been more than a few hundred parks that had carousels.

No doubt, many men brought cards and money to gamble with at the casino, which the open pavilion was called back then, while their families enjoyed the other attractions. Thus "casino" today refers to a gambling parlor.
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Postby TB Diamond » Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:25 pm

Out west, in Utah: Saltair on Great Salt Lake, served by the SLG&W. Abandoned in 1958, burned to the ground by vandals in 1970. Lagoon, near Farmington, served by the Bamberger. Still extant in the early 1970s.
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Postby Trackseventeen » Wed May 02, 2007 12:37 pm

Walt, in one of the earier posts in this thread, you mentioned quite a number of Philly area parks. Im surprised with your vast knowledge of these things you left out Clementon Park. I dont know what trolley line owned it, but it is still open today and doing very well.
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Postby StevieC48 » Wed May 02, 2007 1:43 pm

There is a park that i didn't notice in Mass.Riverside Park in Agauam,MA which was a trolley park but don't know which co.It's a 6 flags theme park now. As for the Revere Beach sites we know they were not trolley parks however.The Boston Revere Beach And Lynn Narrow Gage railroad ran there before trolleys.The BRB&L was steam powered then converted to electric by GE before it's closure.So it was a RR park? Hope this helps.
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Postby zz4 » Mon Jun 04, 2007 5:52 pm

2000 amusement parks ??


Trouble is anybody have a list of names/places ??



It seems all this old info is elusive.



Just a list of Carousel sales probably would show a grand list of prior unknown parks.



It would seem around the turn of the century (1800-1900) the Amusement Park was the popular thing. I think to anybody trying to index them a new one pops up all the time.



The midwest/Pennsylvania seems blessed with elusive ones.



It was not just the trolleys but railroads themselves---an amusement park !!!!



I do have a question.



CASINO.



Back in those old days a CASINO often meant other things at same location. Dance Hall. Perhaps even some 'amusement' devices.


What exact was a CASINO back then ?? Gambling legal ??
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Postby sixflagscoasters » Sat Jul 28, 2007 2:00 pm

Trolley Parks that are still operating:

1. Sea Breeze Park, Rochester, NY, USA 1879
2. Dorney Park, Allentown, PA, USA 1884
3. Lakemont Park, Altoona, PA, USA 1894
4. Waldameer Park, Erie, PA, 1896
5. tie Midway Park, Maple Springs, NY, USA 1898
5. tie Kennywood, West Mifflin, PA, USA 1898
7. tie Canobie Lake Park, Salem, NH, USA 1902
7. tie Camden Park, Huntington, WV, USA 1902
9. Bushkill Park, Easton, PA, USA 1903
10. Oaks Amusement Park, Portland, OR, USA 1905
11. Clemonton Amusement Park, Clemonton, NJ, USA 1907
12. Quassy Amusement Park, Middlebury, CT, USA 1908

info is from NAPHA.
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Postby walt » Sat Jul 28, 2007 7:38 pm

Trackseventeen wrote:Walt, in one of the earier posts in this thread, you mentioned quite a number of Philly area parks. Im surprised with your vast knowledge of these things you left out Clementon Park. I dont know what trolley line owned it, but it is still open today and doing very well.


Clemonton Park was not exactly a trolley park. Its founder, Theodore Gibbs, was on the board of directors of the Atlantic City Railroad, but he owned the land on which the park was built long before he became affiliated with the traction company. The park was at the end of a trolley line, and probably did operate in the same manner as trolley park, once Gibbs became affiliated with the ACRR.
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Re: trolley parks

Postby 4266 » Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:12 pm

This does clear up the mystery of the aptly named "Portland trolley Park" outside Portland Maine. Its pretty much just a forest preserve now, but I always passed the sign hoping it was some sort of trolley museum (we have a few of those in Maine).
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Re: Trolley Parks: Some possibly useful resource material

Postby walt » Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:54 pm

Jerry N3AA wrote:I discovered this site and topic while researching the Washington, DC trolley route(s) my fiancé Bev used (as a kid) to travel from her home in upper NW Wahington to Glen Echo Park (which is along the Potomac River palisades just west of the DC/MD border). The DC trolley lines from long ago disappeared in 1962 by Congressional mandate and agreement with O. Roy Chalk, who bought the lines after a mishandled strike situation in the 1950s.

Bev's interest and passion, and now mine, are the antique carousels whose heydays coincided with those of the trolley parks, of which Glen Echo was one example. Glen Echo is no longer a full-fledged amusement park, as its only ride is, I believe, the fully restored 1921 Dentzel carousel with its magnificent military band organ. This carousel is the only one owned by the US Government. The park, itself, is vibrant and alive--there are dances, activities for children, arts events, etc.


Very belatedly--- This trolley line was Capital Transit/ DC Transit Route 20-- Cabin John- Union Station. As a full amusement park, Glen Echo outlasted the trolley by close to ten years. It does exist today, in the form described above.
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Re: trolley parks

Postby 3rdrail » Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:49 pm

4266 wrote:This does clear up the mystery of the aptly named "Portland trolley Park" outside Portland Maine. Its pretty much just a forest preserve now, but I always passed the sign hoping it was some sort of trolley museum (we have a few of those in Maine).


I know that the old Riverton Park in Portland's Deering Section had a casino in it's day. I think that it may have been a park of the Portland Company but I'm not entirely sure. It ceased to exist many years ago, and later became a housing project.
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Re:

Postby 3rdrail » Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:58 pm

StevieC48 wrote:There is a park that i didn't notice in Mass.Riverside Park in Agauam,MA which was a trolley park but don't know which co.It's a 6 flags theme park now. As for the Revere Beach sites we know they were not trolley parks however.The Boston Revere Beach And Lynn Narrow Gage railroad ran there before trolleys.The BRB&L was steam powered then converted to electric by GE before it's closure.So it was a RR park? Hope this helps.


Although the BRB&L played a major role in the development of Revere Beach (and Revere itself), Revere Beach was not built by them, so it cannot be labeled a "trolley (or RR) park". Revere Beach was developed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and administered by the Metropolitan Parks Commission.
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Re: trolley parks

Postby 4266 » Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:55 am

Merrymeeting Park Brunswick, Maine
A Brief History
by Christopher B. Gutscher
Amusement parks at the turn of the century were an important part of the trolley lines throughout this country. They added to the revenue of the trolley companies by providing another reason for riding the "electrics." They were in themselves destinations and offered a recreational reason for using the trolleys. Merrymeeting Park in Brunswick, like Casco Castle in South Freeport and Riverton Park in Portland, was just such a place.

Merrymeeting Park was situated on about one hundred forty acres of land bordering the Androscoggin River and the Bath Road. The land had previously been a shipyard and sawmill. As developed by Amos F. Gerald of the Lewiston, Brunswick and Bath Street Railway, the park contained a casino, zoo, refresh-ment stand, open air amphitheater, large pond with a dance pavilion, as well as many miles of woodland walks complete with bridges over numerous streams. Boats were available for rowing on the pond, and arc lights lit the bridges and walks.

The Park opened in July of 1898 with a reported ten thousand people that first day. They came on foot, by boat, by horse and buggy - but mostly they came by trolley. The five cent fare from Brunswick included admission to the grounds; trolleys ran every half hour throughout the day, sometimes two and three coupled together. Running time from Lewiston would have been about one and a half hours, and Portland would have been a scenic but bumpy two hour trip. The main entry to the Park was a ramp over the steam railroad tracks on the Bath Road.

The casino, situated on the highest point on the grounds, was thought by many to be the main attraction, with its view up-river probably the most admired. It even boasted a view of the White Mountains on clear days. By scaling photographs of the building, it appears to have been about two hundred feet long and at least sixty-five feet to the top of the cupola. It had four stories, two of which had verandas, plus the cupola, all on a nine foot high stone foundation. The dining room could, from reports, serve one hundred people at a time with as many as six hundred eating on a good Sunday.

The open air amphitheater could accommodate over four thousand people with seating on benches in two different sections. Two log cabins on either side of the stage served as dressing rooms and fit nicely into this woodland setting. Here, big name vaudeville acts, various band concerts, and occasional Sunday morning sermons were heard. Reserved orchestra seating was ten cents.

Other attractions and activities in the Park were the boat house museum, the fireworks and balloon ascension on July 4th, a pair of white diving horses, picnics, dances, meetings, greased pig contests, and almost anything else imaginable in such large, well-groomed grounds.


From a wonderful site complete with pictures and an overlay map showing where the park would be today.
http://www.curtislibrary.com/history/mmpark/

It appears that the trolley siding would have been right next to Fat Boy's Drive-In across from the Navy Base. all of the attractions seem to be underneath Route One.
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Re: trolley parks

Postby peterde » Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:50 pm

I know this thread is old, but I did find a trolley park that was in Middletown NY. It was Called Midway Park, as most of them were. It was owned by the trolley company and fits your research.

http://www.wallkillhistory.com/rollercoaster/index.htm
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