Fire destroys Whalom Park ballroom

Posted Monday, March 4, 2002 9:22 AM | Contributed by loriu

A three-alarm fire late Saturday, deemed suspicious by officials, destroyed the historic 70-year-old ballroom at Whalom Park. Several fire departments contained the fire, which could have easily spread to surrounding structures, including the Flyer Comet.

Read more from the Sentinel & Enterprise.

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Monday, March 4, 2002 9:25 AM

Note there is an additional story on Ultimate Rollercoaster.

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Monday, March 4, 2002 9:25 AM

Suspicious...

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Coasterbuzz Ruined My Life!

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Monday, March 4, 2002 9:30 AM

Can anyone say insurance fraud?

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Bob Hansen

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5-MF; 4-X-Flight; 3-Hulk; 2-Kraken; 1-Raging Bull

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Monday, March 4, 2002 9:42 AM
This is sad, but was the ballroom going to be saved anyway?
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Monday, March 4, 2002 9:58 AM
Sorry, but I really don't belive this park will open ever, especially with this happening. Is we've heard, most of the rides are gone. I would really love to have someone go in there and clean it up and if the land does get developed, have the coaster (and Tumble Bug) remain with the surrounding park developed like Belomont but I think this is a signal of the end. (flashback to Idora about 10? months ago)

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Monday, March 4, 2002 10:12 AM
They do feature one coaster, a classic woodie called the Flyer Comet, but it's the exact same coaster as the Thunderbolt at nearby Six Flags New England. Everyone prefers the Thunderbolt, including the Kenedy family which gave the Thunderbolt its fame. It was also JFK Jr.'s first coaster. Plus the last thing they added was an ordinary swinging ship in the 1999 or 2000 called Sea Dragon 2000, but Cannobie Lake just added a swinging ship along with 4 other rides including a family coaster. Cannobie Lake also had advertisements everywhere: 3 different comercials, coupons at Wendys and McDonalds, featured in almost every paper, free advertisement, Math and Science Day(which my school went too). Whalom Park has been in the paper once in the 2 years I lived here. Although it's the closest park to me, it's really sad. They feature a spin out, Flyer Comet, two water slides, flying scooters, top spin, casino, and swinging ship. Those are the only attractions really worth mentioning. It's like a 1950's county fair with very little people and a woodie(that got a new paint job in 1996-it is now a mahogany colored track, black rails, and a pale yellow wooden supports). The park was doing ok until Riverside got revamped into Six Flags New England with three new coasters. Now you just pass Whalom park on the Mass Pike with no sign that there's a park there, then it's 40 mins down the pike to Six Flags New England.

*** This post was edited by Vertigo on 3/4/2002. ***

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Monday, March 4, 2002 10:16 AM
we have five classic parks up here in New England(six until Six Flags gave Riverside a makeover):
Cannobie Lake
Funtown Splashtown USA
Whalom Park
Quassy Amusement Park
Lake Compounce
You could also count the Boardwalk up in Maine, which got a Dragon Wagon last year

Francially, I don't think there's enough to support all of them. Lake Compounce and Cannobie Lake have lived on as they are the grandaddies of all operating park in the USA. Funtown is ruling its own territory up in Maine with Excalibur, there awsome CCI terrain coaster. Quassy really has no chance of getting back in with Lake Compounce 15 minutes away, but they're trying to hang on, but in a couple of year Lake Compounce will not take it easy on it's neighbors. Whalom Park can do something, but the general public is not really satisfied with a carnival compared to Superman:Ride of Steel and if they want a family park they take a drive to Cannobie or Compounce, which has been rated best family park. So geuss it will probably be bye bye to Whalom unless they add something worth while.
*** This post was edited by Vertigo on 3/4/2002. ***

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Monday, March 4, 2002 10:20 AM
Vertigo- you can sit their and complain all you want about the quality of Whalom, but the last time i checked, Canobie and SFNE didn't operate for 108 years consecutively, nor did they have the history or nostalgia that Whalom still holds.

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Purple and Green and everything mean
-Joker's Jinx

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Monday, March 4, 2002 11:07 AM
This was done on purpose. Its no coincidence.
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Monday, March 4, 2002 12:05 PM

I guess they figure a brand-spanking-new Walmart will fit nicely where the Ballroom sits.

Sad!!!!!

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Monday, March 4, 2002 12:05 PM

Yeah, I hate vandals. Unless, some company wants to speed up the death of Whalom, by destroying the ballroom. Just like Idora. I have a theory, that the church, which owns the the Idora property, burned there ballroom. It was the only thing in the way that could prevent them from building on that property. That ballroom was a landmark.

Now, this is too bad. Whalom's future looked very dim. Now, I'm afraid that Whalom Park will never shine again. The hole is getting smaller. It's a shame. I'm not so sure that this was a bunch of teenagers, I think this was professionably done. It's a cruel, cruel world.

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TiM Schroll
gocubs7@hotmail.com
LED ZEPPELIN

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Monday, March 4, 2002 12:16 PM
This has to be suspicious to me. I think vandals or this could have been an arson fire also. Still seems suspicious.

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Monday, March 4, 2002 12:17 PM

MFRULES:

I was just about to comment on the similarity to Idora Park, unfortunate as it is.

Living in the Youngstown area right now, I'm just glad I got a chance to see the park and everything before we lost the two remaining monuments, the coasters. Let's hope Whalom doesn't go down this same path, although that's about all that's left, hope.

-Natalie
Who hates to hear about events like this.

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Monday, March 4, 2002 3:17 PM

Why is it that a historic ballroom burns in the begining of March. Idora Park last year, and now this?

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Rockin, Rollin, Roller - Coastin!

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Monday, March 4, 2002 3:22 PM
I wondered the same thing. What is it with historic parks and fire? This all but kills my chance to visit this place for the first time. And buy a Whale people!
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Model coasters and rides
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Monday, March 4, 2002 4:58 PM

I must say this is very sad news. This reminds me of Idora park in two different ways. The first way the historic ballrooms get destroyed after the park has closed with both cases pointing to arson. The second the Flyer Comet getting scorched by the flames reminds me of the Wildcat being partially burned from the fire that led to the demise of Idora park. I know Idora opened that season and Whalom is closed but it still is so similar. With all these terrible events happening in the amusement industry, I hope this isn't the end to the second golden age for rollercoasters. They say history repeats itself and I hope this isn't it. If you look back over the last few years we have had four amusement park fires. We have lost four or more rollercoasters to the wrecking ball and well the parks aren't adding the tons of rollercoasters like they did in 1999 and 2000. I know you can't have tons of rollercoasters every year and we are still getting many new coasters and rides added but the economy is in recession and the largest chain of amusement parks is millions of dollars in debt. I hope for the best and I think we will survive these troubling times in the amusement industy. I don't think of this as the end of the second golden age but it might be.

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Mike
Favorite Wood: Viper at SFGAM, Shivering Timbers
Favorie Steel: Magnum and Raging Bull

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Monday, March 4, 2002 5:31 PM
Terrible...just terrible!!

Please...... buy a whale! it is only $50. Thats the price of a video game!

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Monday, March 4, 2002 5:53 PM

The entire building was engulfed with flames when firefighters arrived, yet only one surrounding tree was burned and a wooden coaster 10-25 feet away was hardly burned? That makes me think the fire started and spread very quickly. I am sure the building was old and very dried out but it sure sounds like something is amiss. I wonder if the investigation will find anything or if this will go unsolved...

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Monday, March 4, 2002 6:48 PM

I have been told that the person who now owns the carousel has been told to remove it from the property, or they (the creditors) will. While I admire the Bowens for trying to save the park, I'm afraid that it is too little too late. As for the fire, one less thing for the developers to remove now, isn't it?

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