Defunct West Virginia Amusement Parks

Tuesday, August 24, 2004 2:57 PM
I was checking out defunctparks.com and saw that there used to be several amusement parks in WV. These include:
Coney Island (Wheeling)
Luna Park (Charleston)
Luna Park (Wheeling)
Mozart Park (Wheeling)
Oglebay Park (Wheeling)
Rock Springs Park (Chester)
Terrapin Park (Parkersburg)
Wheeling Park (Wheeling)

What happened to these parks? Where can I find info on these parks? I saw a postcard on ebay last week that had a wooden coaster on it (white) that I believe was at Wheeling Park. Anyone know the name or what happened to it? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004 3:01 PM
a search of rcdb.com would probably give you all the former coasters at all these parks.. best way to find them would be use the tree view and walk down the tree to find West Virginia... it would tell you if any were relocated and when the closed and what they looked like if they have a pic.

*edited due to me doing the search myself*

Ok so for once the search or rcdb turned up nothing on these coasters but it normally is the best resource on line for info on coasters

*** Edited 8/24/2004 7:13:48 PM UTC by dragonoffrost***

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004 3:12 PM
RCDB doesn't list any of those parks, unfortunately.

Try a search on Google, as I tried to look for info on these parks before. There is little, if any info about them.

This site on Terrapin Park is the best one I have found so far.

I would try the local libraries, or the Cultural Center library here in Charleston. I have found those to be more informative.

-Tina

*** Edited 8/24/2004 7:15:07 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004 4:34 PM
Thanks for the info. I never knew there were that many parks in WV before now. If I find anything, Tina, I'll PM or e-mail you with the results. Peace...
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Tuesday, August 24, 2004 4:40 PM
Wow, wheeling was quite a happening place!

I wonder if Terrapin Park had anything to do with turtles :)

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004 6:33 PM
I live 5 minutes from Wheeling. 1 minute if I had a boat.

Wheeling Park and Oglebay Park are both still around. Never knew of them to be amusement parks. I'm pretty sure they are state funded parks. I'll have to check into that. Both have paddle boats, golf courses, putt-putt, swimming pools, blah, blah, blah. They closest either come to an amusement park is Oglebay's train ride in the Good Zoo. No. wait. Grandma just told me that Wheeling Park had a merry-go-round. She's not sure about Oglebay.

As for the Coney Island and Luna Park. One or the other could be true. There used to be a park on the current site of Wheeling Racetrack and Gaming Resort or what ever they're calling the place now. I have a picture somewhere of it somewhere when the Ohio River flooded it years ago. Grandma says that neither name rings a bellfor the park on the island(Wheeling Island that is). She said she was just a little girl when she used to go there. She's 70-something now.

My pap could've told me more, but he passed away this past December. He was an amusement park lover too.

You got me wondering now. I might have to go to Wheeling Library and look some stuff up.

Do a search on posts in the past year. It seems like I typed some of this stuff on here before. It was Defunct WV or Ohio parks.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004 7:28 PM
Well, when coal was king (actually it still is, but machines run the mines now a days) there was alot of stuff/people in West Virginia. Its a shame that the economy is so bad and that the politicians have ruined the place, its really a beautiful state.

I personally think that Eastern WV could support a Camden size park(though with all their coasters operational...;)), but the problem is fitting it in between the mountains.

BTW, Mr. Ninja, love the sig, know the feeling...

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004 7:43 PM
Well, I always believed they could put a decent-sized park ON TOP of one of these mountains, especially one that has already been chopped and cleared and is just sitting there naked.

Now I am in no favor of skimming our mountains but at least they should be able to utilize what has already been cleared......put it to SOME good use.

Rant time.........

A decent sized theme park/waterpark/Zoo would bring in the tourists by the droves, but instead they would rather waste their money on the Tamarack or the Clay Center which is an overpriced, overrated so-called planetarium. The Tamarack is just a tourist trap. And they wonder why locals go to Ohio, TN, and Virginia during their weekend getaways. We got the state parks, the skiing, and the White Water, but we needs more family-oriented stuff to do.

-Tina

*** Edited 8/24/2004 11:48:59 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004 8:50 PM
Rock Springs Park was a big rival of Kennywood and West View at one time. It had a hairy wooden coaster that ran along the ridge over along the ravine that dropped down to the highway. The last car of that thing was a heart attack. It was the end of my Mother's roller coaster career; she and my Dad rode it after dark one Labor Day evening and she staggered off swearing she'd never ride another coaster. And she never did. She said halfway through the ride she promised God if he'd just let her live she'd never tempt fate again.

Rock Springs had a great collection of first half of the century classics : Tilt a Whirl, Whip, Bumper Cars, Octopus, Rolloplane, Ferris Wheel, ride through and walk through fun houses, Flying Scooters, Rockets, Tumble Bug, Virginia Reel, Cuddle Up, Wild Mouse, Carousel, and a decent Kiddieland.

The Rockets also soared out over the ravine so you were looking down on the lights of cars moving below, and out across tugboats pushing barges up the Ohio River.

Rock Springs had a great ballroom and band shell and was probably the best place between Pittsburgh and Columbus to go for a good concert. Lots of the top bands and individuals of the time performed there.

Chester itself was just a village, but at the peak of the industrial age, the valley around it was a densely populated center of steel mills, potteries, railroad yards, boat yards, and machining factories. So the population was there to support a park. Rock Springs pulled in school picnics from three states, and at the outer limits of its range competed with Idora Park, Kennywood and West View for schools.

Rock Springs may be the only amusement park in America to still be prospering at the time it closed. No quiet decline occurred. The state of West Virginia decided it wanted to build a new highway to connect the valley with Pittsburgh and the Greater Pittsburgh Airport. Using the Right of Emiment Domain, it condemned the land the park occupied. It paid quite a chunk for that land, tore out the hill and put the highway through with exit and entrance ramps. Park administrators could not find another suitable piece of land in the tri-state area they could afford to buy. *** Edited 8/25/2004 12:52:43 AM UTC by Trekker Park*** *** Edited 8/25/2004 12:54:23 AM UTC by Trekker Park***

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004 9:01 PM
#39 & #40 on this site:
http://members.aol.com/coasting2/postcards.html

show views of two coasters that were in WV. The one in Wheeling looks like it had a double-dip! Wheeeeee!!

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004 9:17 PM
Here's another site that at least gives some of the coaster names for the parks:

http://www.incoasterpaedia.com/?t=Park&state%2d%3eWV

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004 11:25 PM
The carousel at Rock Springs was the very last machine built in the Dentzel shop before Bill Dentzel died. It was actually on the producton floor the same time as Kennywood's was being erected. The carousel still exists, in a fashion. It was purchased by then Freels foundation for their museum of carousel art.The foundation was disolved a number of years ago. The horses were auctioned off seperately, and the frame ( with one of the few Carl Muller designed rims) is currently for sale by Brass Ring Entertainment (www.CAROUSEL.COM). It's available with a set of new wooden reproducton horses. It would need an organ, as the Wurlitzer 153 that was on it was sold seperately at the time of the original auction.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2004 12:25 AM
I live pretty close and can also vouch for the Oglebay and Wheeling Park still being open bit. To my knowledge, Wheeling Park and Oglebay never actually had coasters.

Could be wrong ...

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004 12:36 AM
Oh, another Hillbilly on board!:) Coasterfanatic, me, you and Tina could take the Buzz over, its just a matter of time....
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Wednesday, August 25, 2004 12:55 AM
hmm...i must be backwards, because I travel to beautiful Wheeling during the summertime when i'm not going to amusement parks, because they have indoor football (nothing like the A/C on full blast, and watching your favorite indoor football team going undefeated). Wheeling has a lot to offer, just never understood why there isn't amusment parks anymore. WHeeling taxes are non-existent because of their most other tourism venues, including Wheeling Island Racetrack & Casino, NIFL Indoor Football back-to-back championships, Wheeling Nailers hockey (Penquins ownership/affiliate) and Oglebay Parks, Resorts and Zoo. Plus a children's museum, Toy museum, and country music's renown Capitol Music Hall & the yearly Jamboree In The Hills, which brings the biggest and brightest talent in the country music field all year long. The ONLY thing that Wheeling doesn't seem to have is an amusmement park or an indoor waterpark, but you never can count that out.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2004 1:06 AM
I totally agree. I've never actually been to Wheeling, but alot goes on there, including the sports finals for State High School Championships.

But with a sagging economy and poor politicians, I would ventureto say that most companies want to stay away from WV because of the "stigma", but I think research would prove Otherwise. We may not have Locals that can afford a park all the time, unless you're in Beckley, North Central, Chas/huntington/parkersburg, but there is plenty of tourism in the state to support a regional. Heck, put it near the Greenbrier, there actually is plenty of land for a park there, as the Resort has shown by its constant growth...

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004 5:55 AM
I worked for the Tourism Dept. at one point and it all has to do with money and taxes. The research has pretty much been done, or at least the state has looked into it several times. I doubt it will ever happen, but you never know.

According to my mom, there used to be an amusement park in Charleston that sat where the CAMC Memorial Hospital is now, and another amusement park that sat on the West Side facing the Kanawha River.....two different parks at different times. My mom remembers the one that sat where the hospital is now, but she doesn't remember it being called Luna Park. I will have to look into it again now that I am curious about it.

There are no signs or remenants of any parks on either site. :-(

It's amazing that some of these parks were around the same time Camden Park was. It's amazing that it survived and the others didn't. :-(

-Tina

*** Edited 8/25/2004 10:03:54 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004 9:10 AM
TeknoScorpion, add another hillbilly to the count. I live in Huntington, WV. I just happened to come accross a postcard on ebay that had a coaster located at Wheeling Park on it. After that, I started researching defunct WV amusement parks. The search came up with a site called defunctparks.com. They had the names listed but no info or pics. :(

I love Camden Park and wish it could be restored to its' former glory. Especially the Big Dipper. They have a pretty good whip and Tilt-A-Whirl. My brother and I want to take his son down there this year. This post edited for conten. ;) *** Edited 8/25/2004 1:13:25 PM UTC by Dragster Freak***

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004 10:54 AM
If you really want to be depressed, take a look at http://defunctparks.com Pennsylvania looks like it took the worst hit of all (something they talk about in the Knoebels Museum).
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Wednesday, August 25, 2004 12:03 PM

Trekker Park said:...Rock Springs may be the only amusement park in America to still be prospering at the time it closed. No quiet decline occurred. The state of West Virginia decided it wanted to build a new highway to connect the valley with Pittsburgh and the Greater Pittsburgh Airport. Using the Right of Emiment Domain, it condemned the land the park occupied. ...

This story sounds familiar, except that I heard this same story told about White Swan Park in Pittsburgh. It too was closed through eminent domain for highway expansion to serve the Pittsburgh Airport. Is this just an unusual coincidence, or do you have your stories mixed up? Yahoo didn't show any major highways from Chester, WV to the airport.

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