There was an OLD theme park in Dubuque, IA called Union Park back in the early 1900's it had like 1 wooden rollercoaster and a few other rides. It was destroyed in I think 1919 because of a flash flood. The park was located in a valley and the valley flooded and it was destroyed and some people died i think. The ruins are still there today. I think they tried to rebuild some of the park but nobody wanted to come cause of the fear of flooding.
It basically rained all weekend, and the Loyalhanna Creek that flows through the park kept rising and rising. The park sort of knew the flood was coming, so they begain removing whatever they could. The train was taken apart and moved by crane away from the creek. Critical ride parts were moved to higher ground. The worst part was the mess the flood left. The midways had to be scrubbed to remove all the mud and debris. But the best part was the thousands of plastic balls from the Jumpin' Jungle Ball Crawl were loaded into plastic bags, trucked across the park, and dumped in the swimming pool to clean and chlorinate them. They were then loaded back into bags and trucked back to the ball crawl. It was quite a sight to see the pool filled with thousands of plastic balls.
Someone mentioned the 1972 flood that hit Knoebels. That was in June of 1972 from rains from Hurrican Agnes. In that same storm, Hersheypark got hit pretty hard too.
While not "natural" in most cases, fire seems to be the big nemisis of parks. Locally, in 1983 a fire destroyed the dark ride ("Bucket of Blood?") and a carrousel (I think) at Dorney park (of course the park kept going). In the 1980's, fire hit Idora Park in Youngstown Ohio, heavily damaging the Wildcat coaster and destroying the Lost River ride. Already facing tough times, the park could not recover and closed. I also remember reading about a devastating fire back in the 60's (or was it the 50's?) at a park called Highlands in the midwest. The most notorious of fires probably were the ones at Coney Island NY in the early part of the century. Most of the "great" Coney Island parks saw their share of fires... the most devastating striking Luna Park (around 1907), Steeplechase (1912?), and Luna Park again (around 1946).
------------- "Resistance is futile... you will be assimilated." The BORG's (and Six Flags') motto.
Yep Lynch, Knoebels got hit by floods in 72, 74 and in 96. I saw a few pictures of Knoebels after the flood. One of the floods hit about a month before opening day. The local community volunteered with the clean up and the park opened on time. In 96 when they got flooded balls from the Ball Crawl were found as far as Danville about 10 miles or so from the park!
Williams Grove also got hit with a flood in the early 70's. Although the parks still surviving they never bounced back to the way they were before the flood.
------------- Hello, My name is Dan and I'm a coasterholic.
*** This post was edited by coasterpunk on 6/18/2001. ***
Coney Island in Cincinnati has dealt with floods in 1913, 1937, 1964, 1972, 1991, and 1997. The most devastating was the one in '37 -- the park was pretty much wiped out by 28 feet of floodwater. They've got a nice section on their website that details their history: http://www.coneyislandpark.com/coney's.htm
A tornado ripped through Cedar Point in, I believe the winter 1977. It damaged the Frontier Trail train station as well as damage the original entrance to Cedar Creek Mine Ride and some of it's track. This is why the original entrance is blocked off.--I like the entrance better the way it is now, because it adds to the theme of the ride.
The tornado also ripped out a lot of trees where Gemini was destined (the following season), which helped construction move along. :)
Back in 1998 there were several water spouts that surrounded Cedar Point too.
When we went to CP last year in mid-July almost the same thing happen. The day started out nice but by 5 in the afternoon things took a turn for the worse and it got real dark and almost green which of course is not a good sign. We ran to our car and got to our campsite to watch all of the tents blow away as we took shelter in the camp store. There were reports of a few water spouts and even a funnel cloud near huron but nothing touched down. I know though the next day we went millinium force was closed (they said it was because it got struck by the lightening)