Author Topic: The Trolley Park Phenomena  (Read 3471 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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The Trolley Park Phenomena
« on: May 16, 2011, 06:09:38 AM »
The Trolley Park Phenomena



The 1890's saw the birth of a unique experience  - the "Trolley Park". Every city worth its salt had one, including ours. Here's a look at the rise and fall of America's original amusement park.




Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2011-may-the-trolley-park-phenomena

peestandingup

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Re: The Trolley Park Phenomena
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2011, 07:39:00 AM »
Been to Camden Park many times in Huntington as a kid (back before I knew its history & could appreciate it). Back then, after having been to more upscale & modern parks, I just thought Camden Park was an old & rundown amusement park. Now I know thats not exactly the case.

I do remember them having a (what looked to be) real working steam locomotive ride that took you all around the facility. It was a small one & I suppose they could have been faking it underneath, but it looked pretty authentic. Tracks, sounds, build of the thing, the steam puffs, etc.

Funny thing, the ride took you back in the hills away from park patrons & the other attractions. They had these simulated gun battles between these stuffed/stationary frontiersmen & Indians. The guns they were holding really went off, made puffs of smoke, were very loud, etc, along with cheesy sound effects of the battle.

Not exactly "PC" by today's standards, so I'm guessing they probably don't do that anymore. But it was a hoot.

sheclown

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Re: The Trolley Park Phenomena
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2011, 08:10:23 AM »
It looks like fun.  I would like to see an ostrich race -- how exotic it must have seemed (still is, I suppose).

Dapperdan

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Re: The Trolley Park Phenomena
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2011, 08:19:24 AM »
Excellent article, Ock. Do you know if the boardwalk at Jax beaches was a trolley park? I have always been curious about that park as well. I recently came back from a  trip to California and visited Santa Cruz boardwalk. It is still going strong today with a beach arcade and small amusement park. It reminded me of our once nice boardwalk.

Ocklawaha

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Re: The Trolley Park Phenomena
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2011, 08:35:07 AM »
Dan, Jax Beach wasn't, the line never got beyond St. Nicholas. What might-have-been was St. Elmo Acosta, City Commissioner pushed to buy the old FEC RY beach branchline and convert it to trolley all the way from downtown to Jax Beach, Atlantic, Neptune and Mayport. The Commission and Council postponed the proposal and we're still waiting to hear it...

On the left coast though, Santa Monica Pier most certainly was a trolley park, it was on the end of a Pacific Electric Railway line from LA through Hollywood right to the pier. My first train ride was on that railway... dating myself, late 1950's.


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Re: The Trolley Park Phenomena
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2011, 08:39:24 AM »
I got to go to Rocky Glen Park in Scranton in the last stages of its life.  I wish I had clearer memories of it.
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strider

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Re: The Trolley Park Phenomena
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2011, 08:39:59 AM »
I spent many hours at Idora Park as a kid.  It made it into the eighties.  One thing that helped it, I think, was that it was next to a large city park that stopped a lot of development around it.

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Traveller

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Re: The Trolley Park Phenomena
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2011, 08:49:16 AM »
Like other posters, I used to go to one of those parks (Kennywood in Pittsburgh) every summer growing up.  Several roller coasters built before the Depression still run today.  You can see parts of the park in the 2009 movie "Adventureland".

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Re: The Trolley Park Phenomena
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2011, 09:11:58 AM »
Excellent article, Ock. Do you know if the boardwalk at Jax beaches was a trolley park? I have always been curious about that park as well. I recently came back from a  trip to California and visited Santa Cruz boardwalk. It is still going strong today with a beach arcade and small amusement park. It reminded me of our once nice boardwalk.

Great roller coaster...

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Re: The Trolley Park Phenomena
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2011, 09:58:12 AM »
I know lots about Dorney Park - I did some historical research 20 years ago when I first visited there (they were in a stasis at the time and still had a lot of the old stuff around). I've been there about 10 times since, even with no family living near the area anymore. It's nothing like it used to be, but a LOT of fun now.
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PeeJayEss

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Re: The Trolley Park Phenomena
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2011, 10:04:50 AM »
Been to Camden Park many times in Huntington as a kid (back before I knew its history & could appreciate it). Back then, after having been to more upscale & modern parks, I just thought Camden Park was an old & rundown amusement park. Now I know thats not exactly the case.

Same RE Clementon. Its just down the road from where I grew up. They have the one older wooden rollercoaster (and The Whip!) but mostly smaller rides you'd see at a carnival (which is, I imagine, basically the setup when it was actually a trolley park). I always thought the water park there was great. Not big, but the tube rides are some of my favorite. Dorney Park managed to transition to the more 'modern' amusement park setup: better rides, less fun. Their water park is also pretty cool. Kennywood is kind of in-between, with some old and new.

stjr

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Re: The Trolley Park Phenomena
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2011, 11:13:49 AM »
As a kid visiting relatives in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, I spent an unforgettable and entire fun filled 1960's day at Glen Echo Park.  I think it was already less than at its prime but for a kid from Jax is was still a unique experience.  A great spot to this day not far from the banks of the Potomac River .
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dougsandiego

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Re: The Trolley Park Phenomena
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2011, 08:57:51 PM »
Thank-you for another interesting article.

There is a park still functioning in San Diego. It is Belmont Park complete with a Plunge, carousel, wooden roller coaster, and a newer Wave machine. The park is located on the ocean in Mission Beach.

Another old park is much less intact. It is Mission Cliff Gardens in University Heights. It had an ostrich farm, promenades overlooking Mission Valley 300 feet below, and a bandstand. The old planters, cobblestone walls and street layout survive and there are still overlooks, but homes were built in the old park just after WW II. The community sign is still topped by a pair of ostriches standing on their own eggs.

PeeJayEss

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Re: The Trolley Park Phenomena
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2011, 09:48:46 AM »
A couple other possibilities are out on the Jersey Shore. The Steel Pier in Atlantic City, which has been opened and closed several times since it originally opened in 1898 (most notably due to fire in 1982), may not have connected directly with a trolley, but it is on the boardwalk, which I'm assuming connected to rail. This one is set to be shuttered for good within a few years (its basically been announced as closing since 2006, and Trump is planning to redevelop the pier into shops, etc).
The piers and amusements in Wildwood, NJ are similar. Not really a trolley park as I believe the area developed after WW2, so its more car-centric (and many doo-wop style motels still stand today). A solid 20 blocks of boardwalk covered with carnival attractions, 5 large piers jutting out along the beach (no longer reaching the water as the beach has grown substantially). There are games on both sides of the boardwalk almost literally the entire way, some of the biggest and best arcades, and modern-park quality rides (BIG rollercoasters). Of course, being on the beach in NJ, its seasonal (which might add to the attraction). Anyway, the place is booming and really worth a look if you ever find yourself out at the beach in southern NJ. Infinitely more interesting than Atlantic City. Extremely family-friendly during the day. Still family-friendly at night, but the freaks also come out (which makes it even more interesting). Oh, great water parks too!
I know Seaside Heights has some stuff like this, might be a better candidate for trolley park, but I don't know the history and haven't been there (and after Jersey Shore, can you blame me ? :P).

urbaknight

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Re: The Trolley Park Phenomena
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2011, 01:49:13 PM »
I grew up about an hour from Clementon Park, and just a few from Dorney Park They were a lot of fun. The New Jersey coast is still dotted with small amusement parks on the boardwalks, Atlantic City, Seaside Hights, Wildwood, (my favorite one) Ocean City, Point Pleasant etc.

It's ironic, these amusement parks would be better suited here in the south, due to the mild weather. What I miss most about home are the amusement parks, though they're only opened for four months or so.