Does anyone remember West View Park?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007 10:46 AM
Sounds like something one would have seen at Williams Grove!
Wednesday, May 2, 2007 6:04 PM
I lived on Gass Rd., I had three brothers and we would ride our bikes to WVP. I was about 12 when the park closed. We heard that there were older kids smoking pot in Boot Hill. I also rember playing spin the bottle in one of the picnic shelters. My kids won't have any memories like that. I kid we grew up with, his father was killed during the fire at West View. He was run over by a Fire Truck.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007 6:54 PM
mikew mentioned the fatal fire at WVP. That occurred on New Years Day, 1978, and consumed the old horse stables.

That incident hits home hard for me as well. Phil Pieto was the Quaill firefighter who lost his life that day, and that was my very first fire call ever, as a 16 year old junior member. To this day, each piece of our apparatus has a gold wreath with a black "33" painted in the center (Phil's roster number) to honor his loss in the line of duty.

As far as Thorofare days went, I think at the end of August, the tickets were good all night (the park closed at 11) until the final night, where I fondly remember everyone throwing what was left over as confetti off the dips, whippet, and sky ride, at whatever time they expired. It was like 9 or 10 PM though, it was always dark... and everyone tried to get on the dips around the stroke of the hour!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007 8:56 PM
VERY true about the confetti of tickets,I remember very

Speaking of the sky ride,for those who were never there,it ran along side of the midway.

One thing you never wanted to do if you were walking the midway is walk underneath the Sky Ride,you could bet the top of your head would be wet in a short period of time,and it wasnt from rain either :)

*** Edited 5/3/2007 12:58:20 AM UTC by Ex_Westview and KW_worker***

Racing whippet 76-77
Wednesday, May 2, 2007 9:24 PM

There's a shot of a cool parade float made to look like the Dips and fountain, this is from the West View Borough centennial parade last year.

**** POO! Upon trying the link, it goes to the whole photo index. The float is photo # 15)

There was also a yellow antique car from the park in the parade (one of the little gas powered ones from the ride, I mean)

One more tidbit.. On northbound Perry Hwy. (Route 19) at the West View Borough line is a "welcome to West View" sign, attached to an original sky ride car. It sits beside a building on the corner so you kind of have to look for it. *** Edited 5/3/2007 1:26:11 AM UTC by Chooch249***

Thursday, May 3, 2007 5:48 AM
Throrofare days excluded around 7 or 8 rides from the promotion. These included the three upcharge rides (ponies, Antique cars and Alpine Sky Ride) along with several of the other more popular rides (bumper cars, Haunted House etc) but all of the coasters were included.

Restricting the tickets from certain rides brought in some extra revenue from the excluded rides, protected the value of the school picnics and other promotions, and gave people a reason to buy extra school tickets (to use on some of the excluded rides during Thorofare Days).

Arthur Bahl

Thursday, May 3, 2007 12:09 PM
Ah, yes the fond memories of West View Park.

As kids we would also ride our bikes there during the summer and walk around the park. There was no admission charge as you had to buy tickets for each ride. Does anyone else remember those annoying red Tax Tickets you used to have to purchase as well? Each ride would say, 3 Tickets and 1 Tax Ticket. They were a penny each and were really a pain!

There is a fitness center up the hill from the old park on Route 19 and Bellevue Road. In front of the center is a sign welcoming you to West View. The sign is attached to an old Sky Ride car from the park. Make sure you check it out if you're in the area.

Thursday, May 3, 2007 3:56 PM
Tax tickets. It made the tax so obvious that I am suprised that the public didn't demand that the state legislature ban the tax for benefiting a select few communities. KW also had them at one time as well.

So the issue continues. Should KW get tax relief? By the way, this might also be helpful to CLP as well if there is a serious interest in saving the park.

In later years, both KW and West View did away with the tax tickets and included the tax in the price of the regular ride tickets. This certainly made things easier for all concerned.

Arthur Bahl

Friday, May 4, 2007 3:35 PM
I remember the tax tickets! I remember that the Racing Whippet was absolutely the best coaster in existence during its day. Like another poster I have made a point of visiting as many amusement parks as possible with my kids due in large part to the fondness of the memories of West View. I now live a very short distance from the park off of 19 and think of the old park often.

Thorofare days were a godsend. Our family was able to visit the park 3 or 4 times a season thanks to those tickets and I am still grateful for those days.

If you miss the old Park do yourself a favor and find a copy of the Jaques book called "Goodbye, West View Goodbye." It gives a terrific account of the park and the Harton family history. The park passed away with Thomas Harton III in 1966 and did not realize it until 1977. I am convinced the park made a profit until its final season when the fractured remaining heirs decided to cash in.

The experience at Conneaut comes as close as can be today to what West View was. When West View existed Conneaut was considered lame and second rate.

Conneaut is on life support and a meager state grant of 250,000 would probably keep the park going long enough to sell the land and remain afloat. *** Edited 5/4/2007 7:39:02 PM UTC by Camp***

Friday, May 4, 2007 7:32 PM
My opinion,the Whippet was the best racing I have ever been on.The back seat had strong ejector air down the first drop.Plus,just the sight of it made you scared of it(in bad need of a paint job)

Remember some rides you couldnt use "comp" tickets.The ones that come to mind are..The Haunted House,Antique Cars,the Sky Ride.

West View was the place I developed the fine art of playing Fascination.I loved that game,spent many hours on break playing. :)

Racing whippet 76-77
Monday, May 7, 2007 8:55 AM
Yes the Whippet did not impress you with the steepness of the track, but with the curves. You could not follow the layout by any means other than riding the coaster. Once a youngster got over the fear factor the Whippet became the draw.
Monday, May 7, 2007 10:04 AM
Camp mentioned the book "Goodbye,West View Park,Goodbye",its a very good book,they actually sell them in the gift shop across from the Kennywood Potato Patch.

*** Edited 5/7/2007 2:07:04 PM UTC by Ex_Westview and KW_worker***

Racing whippet 76-77
Monday, May 7, 2007 12:58 PM
I thought the wooden kiddie coaster was a terrific little ride as well. It was a big deal for kids to ride a coaster with the same look, sounds, and feel as the adults.

The little all steel ones today are a poor substitute though I understand the economics.

The "Little Dipper" would have been great to see running somewhere. The best closest experience now is at Idlewild on their little wooden coaster.

It was cool how at West View you could just barely see the Racing Whippet from the Little Dipper and Kiddie Land. Made a kid wonder what all the fuss was about.

Something to be said for having the best attractions at the back of the Park too.

Usually the lines determined which rides got the most runs.

Monday, May 7, 2007 4:50 PM
I have a neat little video tape. "Wishing You Were Here...Rediscovering The Excitement-West View Park" The audio is kind of lame, but the pics and video bring back a bunch of cool memories. Even has some video of the Whippet and Dips (little bit of on-ride)

My all-time favorite at WVP was the caterpillar. Hope Knoebels has it in storage still.

The Dips was my first ever coaster. I was about 7 years old. Scared the pooh out of me and kept me away from coasters for a long time. Kind of wish I could remember it better. Loved watching that nasty horseshoe bend, though.

Monday, May 7, 2007 4:54 PM
I wish that there were more junior wooden coasters around. They are great for kids that aren't big enough for full-sized coasters, for families that want to ride together and for those that find big coasters too intense but still enjoy a milder version of such a ride.

Besides Idlewild's Rollo Coaster there are the Comet at Waldameer, the Little Dipper at Camden, the ones at KI and KD, and the currently SBNO Sea Dragon at the Columbus Zoo that will reopen in 2008. There are probably some others as well. Sky Princess at Dutch Wonderland might be a tad too big to be called a junior but it is a family coaster. KW used to have the Dipper but it has been gone for a number of years.

With the emphasis on more family friendly parks, and the resurgence of interest in wooden coasters, it might be time to bring back the junior woodies in more parks. How about one in HW and a Rollo Coaster clone in LC called either Pebble Dash or Boulder Dash Jr.

Arthur Bahl

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 8:03 AM
The horseshoe bend was the ultimate sight that let you know you were at the park. The joy of seeing that curve and then seeing the coaster train come screaming around it was as thrilling as a kid could wish for. On one extreme end of the park was the curve and the other end the tall platform/bridge that led to the Whippet. If I recall correctly the que line for the Whippet went down the center of the two trains while the exit led to stairs back to the Boot Hill Side of the huge platform. Standing on top of the platform you could see nearly half the park in action along the grand midway. Great fun drifting front to back and back to front stopping at the flats between the two great coasters.

I thought Davy Jones Locker was an artistically and quality themed ride even though from a thrill standpoint it was not really scary.

The Caterpillar was a terrific model. I think the canopy worked until at least the last couple years at WV.

Great memories of the old Park. On the down side...The water fountains by the park office. they were never cold and they always smelled of sulfur, but thirsty enough and they were always on.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 4:11 PM
More of that Tracey darkride legacy. Davy Jones was never as well received as the Haunted House but had that Tracey character of expanded scenes and a whale's mouth passage at the beginning. This contrasted with the pop-up stunts of the old Ride-N-Laff that used to be there. Oddly enough, only one of the cars for the ride was remodeled in keeping with the new theme. The others retained their appearance from the Ride-N-Laff days.

Tracey was doing a large amount of darkride and walkthrough work in western PA during those days in the 60s. Along with three West View attractions, KW and Waldameer were also involved. The only ones left in the area now are the two at Waldameer and the Fright Zone, currently in mothballs at CLP.

Arthur Bahl

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 4:41 PM
A well-known and well-respected person in the amusement industry once told me about the reasons why junior wood coasters don't make sense for most parks. In a nutshell, it has to do with smaller wood coasters requiring a lot of the same upkeep that larger ones require yet don't appeal to as many guests and, in the case of pay-per-ride parks, don't generate nearly as much income.

Of course, I wouldn't mind seeing more of the little suckers built- I can think of many parks that could use a smaller wood coaster for the young and young-at-heart riders.

Rebuild the Hunt's Pier Flyer! ;)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 11:38 PM
There was a rumor the last year I worked there('77) that the park was closing,the reason we didnt believe it was,they just spent money changing Davey Jones Locker into the Land of the Giants,why would they do that if the park was going to close.

*** Edited 5/10/2007 3:42:12 AM UTC by Ex_Westview and KW_worker***

Racing whippet 76-77
Thursday, May 10, 2007 8:18 AM
I think a lot of people were surprised. There were a bunch of kids very unhappy that the Harton heirs cashed out like they did instead of trying to find a buyer for the whole park.

In retrospect it was probably a pretty smart decision, but it still stung.

There was still some room to place new attractions if the park would have been able and willing to use the bandshell and mini-golf area.

It is kinda fun to imagine how a new steel coaster could have been squeezed into that little park.

If Tom Harton III had lived to a ripe old age I know WV would still be thriving. Even if he had a child interested in the business there might have been some hope to keep the park going.

Now imagine if WV had begun buying some nearby properties at an earlier stage.

Boot Hill was an area I always thought could be better utilized. There were lots of picnic groves around too that could have been better used.

I think when you go to an amusement park you feel like you own just a little part of it for a day.

Also part of the fun.


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