Posted Friday, May 21, 2010 12:22 PM | Contributed by MRCEagle
Whalom Park was established in 1893. By the time its doors closed in 2000, Whalom Park was listed as the 13th-oldest amusement park in the country. A group of dedicated Whalom Park supporters has formed the New Whalom Park Ownership Program in an effort to build another park based on the Whalom brand. The group’s website speaks of a future park that will be "family-friendly, family-priced and green."
Read more from The Telegram.
Whalom will always be the one that got away for me. My sister lived 5 minutes from the park for a while and we went up for the birth of my niece, but my parents wouldn't let me go to the park. We drove by and even walked around on the outside, but I never got to go in.
^ Love the new sig...
I'm thrilled to see this news on this weeks pob cast. I took notes and wanted to respond to a few of the questions/concerns.
Is it a vocal minority?
it started that way. A small group that worked with and watched past efforts fair at the original park property. Suport was there through the efforts. but legal tie up and and corporate greed were teh driving factors at the time.
The groups facebook page has more then 10,000 supporters. It's 4th highest fan base for a New England park behind SFNE, Canobie Lake Park and Lake Compounce.
If there was enough support how/why did the park close!
I'll try to keep this short. with ought going through a full history lessen. The park closed do to greed not lack of park support. Even with a loss of attendace to the new park in Mass(SFNE) and the loss of over 100,000 residents with the closing of Devens army base the park was pulling more then a quarter million guests a year. A few corporate events were paying the bills with General population attendance simply bringing in more money.
The main family was one of 3 families 1 family only wanted the pay check and the other was bought out by a local corporate group. that group soon took majority ownership and turned the focus form entertainment to slowly running the park down so they could sell to developers.
I can answer any questions. So feel free to ask.Last edited by MRCEagle, Thursday, May 27, 2010 11:05 AM
Way cool! I'm all about the traditional parks (and coasters!).
This would be tough, of course, but when people care about something, the result is usually pretty nice (look at Holidayworld!).
Wasn't "family-friendly, family-priced and green" already copyrighted by Charmland?
I would agree that the question is really less one of sustainable interest and more about how much damage is done to the ship when bad managers come in and sink the park(s). That's really CLPs problem more than lack of interest, I think (calling back to what we talked about on the podcast.) The management that did it in did so much damage in the process that it hasn't been able to get back up with the interest it had maintained.
I guess we'll see what happens with Whalom. But either way I think it's fair to say that these smaller parks just don't have the ability to weather the storms brought on by bad management like some of the bigger parks do.
I agree Carrie. When a smaller park has a good base of customers, and is ran well, with someone who can balance the budget (Operating costs, loss, etc.) then a smaller park can run. But, like CLP, when you have bad, poor, or mismanagement going on, and debts, loss, and maintainence start to pile up, and then what you need to pay out is more than what you're making, it's harder to get rid of that.
I don't really remember, but I always thought that the part of the problem with Whalom was that whoever owned wanted to sell the land, and no one wanted or could afford to buy it and maintain it as a park. Not sure if the park was ill managed at all.
I think a good recent example is Ghost Town. I don't think it was managed well in the last few years under the older gent who owned it, because from what I gather from people who dealth with him (and were interested in buying the park) he could be difficult. Then when it purchased and reopened, I think they spent too much and didn't manage well. Then the whole coaster train fiasco happened.
I think Ghost Town can be sustainable with proper management. It always did well before poor management set in, and the area is a bit touristy, so if the new owner there can manage the park and balance the budget, I think it could be sustainable.
I guess we'll see if New Whalom gets built.Last edited by Tekwardo, Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:32 AM
Whalom will always be the one that got away for me. .
Agreed. My family used to travel down Route 13 from our home in NH about a half-dozen times a year to visit my mom's sister in Leominster. I'm kinda bummed I never got to visit, only saw the park decay over the past 10 years.
I wish them the best of luck.
If Whalom reopens in any form - I'll make certain to be there opening year.
My name is Andrew and as a former Walt Disney Imagineer I am contributing concept & layout ideas for a 'New Whalom (waay-lum) Park' out here in Massachusetts. After listening to your broadcast #179, (briefly noting our rebuilding efforts) I wanted to toss a few more thoughts on the subject your way.
Whalom Park was established as an end-of-the-line 'Trolley Park' in the late 1800's, bringing turn-of-the-century tourists to Lake Whalom for as much recreation as the culture of the day would allow. It became an Amusement Park, expanding (as parks do) into a VERY popular park during the late forties through the mid-eighties. Generations of people traveled from all over the state and adjoining New Hampshire to create summer memories there but the owner-families started having problems amongst themselves and the park
suffered,... dragging the guests' experience down with it. Attendance started reflecting that diminished experience and the park was closed in 2000... as the 13th oldest park in the country.
I moved into this area four years ago and somehow got word of this little group of men working to rally support for building a new Whalom Park, rising like a Phoenix, on the same original site (sadly cleared in 2006) and joined them in hopes of being able to help. While we do have an amazing 10,000-plus number of Whalom Park fans registered on our website & FaceBook, we're still in need of major investors. Once that little detail is taken care of, there'll be a new park in town.
Our original plan for the park was to provide an environment consisting of three "lands": a Kiddy-land of gentle rides for younger children & families, a Today-land of iron rides for teens & young adults, and a Yesterday-land devoted to duplicating as much of the original park as possible (in it's 1960's prime condition) including an accurate recreation of it's beloved 'Comet' roller coaster (while implementing the latest safety & quality standards). We even planned on recreating the 'Trolley' experience by replicating several cars to carry guests from the original parking lot to the front entrance.
This link presents a rough concept sketch collection of those plans
Unfortunately, a condo-development firm has acquired the property and is now in the process of transforming that original property with it's product.
The parking lot across the street, however, is still in question and renewing our focus on that, we now are hoping to build a Family Entertainment Center called 'Whalom Place' which will include several classic rides & games, a restaurant, and a small Whalom Park Museum housing posters, photos, and a few artifacts including a set of Comet Coaster cars on an original piece of track.
Once 'Whalom Place' is up & running, our plan is to continue developing our (and your) 'New Whalom Park' to be built at a nearby location.
Well, that's pretty much it. Investors and/or business partners and interested Park Fans are encouraged to visit our website :
and visit us on Facebook
And thank you for such a cool podcasts.
Andrew-Last edited by Andrew-, Wednesday, May 26, 2010 10:25 AM
Management was a big problem the last few years. But with commanding ownership not focusing on quality or keeping the park going they never stepped in to rectify poor decisions. in the last 5 years the park was operating pushing it 2 new attractions were added. One was a rehab og the fun house into a haunted house; Mosnter Motel. the other was a pirate ship made by chance. The park leased this ride they didnt buy it. the park also leased the YoYo.
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