Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2009 9:33 AM | Contributed by pkidelirium
KIExtreme.com has posted a batch of 29 historical photos taken on Kings Island's original opening day, April 29, 1972. The photos showcase all aspects of the park and its original attractions, including aerial views from the Eiffel Tower.
The most interesting thing to me about the photos is seeing how much the park has grown, and how much the trees have grown in around the park. Thirty years is a long time!
Probably a good percentage of Pointbuzzers weren't even alive 36 years ago. I certainly wasn't. The pictures are very cool. It's cool to see all the trees around Lightening Racer. I wonder if there were "Charmland Enthusiasts" back then that complained when they expanded the park and tore down all those trees.
Man, that skyride looks tall...like Magic Mountain tall!
how much the trees have grown in around the park.
Especially on International Street. I would have hated to try and sit on a park bench back then, the sun would have been brutal.
Wow, that truly is the KI of my youth. My family didn't make it for opening year; we did start making yearly trips in '73, when I was five. It's just so amazing seeing everything so brand new. This was even before the walkway was put in from the back of the Coney Island mall to Rivertown. I'm not sure when that went in, but I'm guessing around '75 or '76. It was definitely in place before Beast opened, I'm sure.
Also, in one of those shots of Rivertown, you can just make out the docks for the canoe ride. In retrospect, that was rather a bizarre ride -- getting people to pay to join a rowing team of strangers and paddle around a lake. I was little, but I remember it being very hard work.
Is there any truth to the legend that Racer was built partially of lumber salvaged from the flooding of Shooting Star at (old) Coney Island? I've always wondered about that.
My author website: mgrantroberts.com
1975 is when that midway was built connecting Rivertown with Coney Mall.
Those are remarkable pictures! It's amazing seeing all that open land! It's impressive how the park as evolved over the years. I didn't visit the park for the first time until 1982, but even in ten years it had changed dramatically. :)
Those are probably the best 70's-era photos I have seen of the park! Definitely the best opening day photos! All those old photos on that site are always a blast to look at and reminisce. :)
-TinaLast edited by coasterqueenTRN, Tuesday, January 13, 2009 2:01 PM
Speaking of Charmland. Thats exactly what KI was. The park is a shade of its former self in terms of asthetics. Colored pavement was everywhere. The landscaping was double what it is now. Remember the plant Eifel Tower and giant hanging basket? The Skyride was amazing and let you see the transformation between areas. The roof of Enchanted Voyage Had a Giant Compass on top of it (Now Scoobies Haunted Castle.) The train ride had sometimes train robberies, The Fort on the ride had a staged UNION VS Indians show and the old town on the train is a replica of 1700s Lebanon Ohio. The Beast Pond (Inside the turnaround was a Indana Canoe ride. At least three flat rides were in Rivertown, One being the WHeel Of fortune Trabant that is now at Delgrossos. Germantown had several flats but all were way under capasity rides for what the park drew. Hour and a half waits for the Barvarian Beetle and rotor were not unheard of.Has the park changed for the better? depends on what your looking for. I feel it lost all direction under paramount but may be gaining strength under CF.Chuck, saying flatrides were a major part of the park, BUt I do understand to that things wear out. Most of these were transplants from Coney.
Walk into WOF and see the unchanged areas of the park, Then see the new, Thats the difference like KI has now.
Actually, the plant Eiffel Tower is still there. It's near the Floral Calendar as you walk into Oktoberfest from the base of the tower.
-Donald, Owner/Webmaster, KIExtreme.com - The In-Depth Guide to Kings Island
Charles Nungester said:
Speaking of Charmland. Thats exactly what KI was. The park is a shade of its former self in terms of asthetics.
Based on those pictures, I'd take the current atmosphere at KI over opening season any day. What's so "charming" about vast, flat expanses of dirt and grass? How can the saplings along International Street and Coney Mall even compare to the full-grown trees we have now? Sure, some things have deteriorated over the years, but I would hardly say those pictures show Kings Island in a light much better than it is now.
Im not saying it was better. Im saying it was NEW as in everything with fresh paint ect. look at those racer shots.There were things like the colored walkways and gaslighting through the park that wre just magical. Certainly some of the park has grown up, Expecially around the fountains but they had marching bands every weekend. Balloon launches quite often and a daily bi plane or skydiving show you could see from anywhere in the park. Heck you can see the fireworks better from my deck than from anywhere in the park now.Chuck, not bashing it. just stating some things and to a seven year old which I was then. It was magical.
Two words: Enchanted Voyage.
. . . "Yogi Bear outsmarts the ranger . . . something something . . . all in my TV" . . .
Gosh darn it, I can only remember snippets of it now.
My author website: mgrantroberts.com
I visited Kings Island yearly from 1972 through 1985. My memories from then are vivid and special...
Those older photos, while amazing and showing some of the old charm of KI, do not truly show the full charm of the park that was evident later in the 70's. Remember, this was opening day. The landscaping in the 70's was amazing, but is not represented in these photos. You still see unfinished or raw areas, which is to expected on opening day. All the flowers that you saw in the park during the 70's were not in place yet, either because it was still early in the season, or because they were in a rush to get the park open and did not finish all the landscaping. I think you had to wait a couple of years for the landscaping to mature a bit and so on. I think if you could look at these same areas shown by the photos 3-4 years later, then you would see clearly how much more charming and special the park was back then. These opening day photos are mesmerizing, but the park did not hit its prime for several more years. I personally feel that 1979 was the best year, but that is arguable!
Mike, your kinda right but by 79 some of the asthetics were slowly dying as well. Like I said, I remember easily twice the amount of landscaping throughout the park. Mid late 70s yeah. Then Carl Linder took over and the park became a dump
Mike, your kinda right but by 79 some of the asthetics were slowly dying as well. Like I said, I remember easily twice the amount of landscaping throughout the park. Mid late 70s yeah. Then Carl Linder took over and the park became a dump Litterally gum walls for paint and potholes in the walkways. Paramount did clean it up but then they took the most beautiful parts of the park and stuck some brightly painted eyesore in em. Animal safari area to action zone (LIFELESS but thrilling) Rivertown with a big building towring above it and no lake to simulate the beast flooded mine) Les Taxis area destroyed by stunt track. Seriously look at if from anywhere and it looks like a city rail yard. Would have been a great place for a camp snoopy type area.Can't blame CF here. IMHO CF has only improved the place.
After visiting the park yearly from 1972 through 1985, my life took a different turn and I amazingly did not visit the park again until 2003, and now I am visiting yearly once again. I did not see the park during Carl Lindner years, and from what Charles said I am glad I missed it! However, I was rather dismayed at many of the changes when I first came back. While a lot of cool rides were added, there were some bad changes between 1985 and 2003. Then I witnessed the removal of the Flying Eagles and the exchange of the beautiful antique cars with the hideous looking (but fun) Italian Job, and it only got worse!
I do wish that CF would add more flat rides back into the park and additional landscaping, but I agree they are doing better than what was done to the park during the Paramount years.
Great pictures! Unfortunately, as I looked at them, the Brady Bunch theme song started playing in my mind, and I'm trying to visualize the scene of the family doing the Pony Express across the park to get Mike his plans! How many safety violations did they violate in that scene?
I'm pretty sure that episode was shot during the opening year of KI? I assume Paramount was trying to bring national publicity to the park? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's what I read. Yes, it's true, I am a Brady Bunch junkie!
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