Pittsburgh's White Swan Park founder dies at age 95

Posted Monday, September 10, 2012 9:25 AM | Contributed by Agent Johnson

Roy C. Todd, a former coal miner who brought joy to countless local residents during the 35 years his family owned the former White Swan Park on the border of Findlay and Moon, died Sunday at his daughter's home in Mesa, Ariz. He was 95. His wife died in 1985, around the time they realized the park stood in the way of a planned expressway to the expanded airport. In 1989, PennDOT bought the land and facilities for more than $4 million. Mr. Todd didn't celebrate.

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Monday, September 10, 2012 9:37 AM

I've never heard of White Swan Park, but that was an interesting read. Sounds like a good man.

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Monday, September 10, 2012 10:01 AM

Yeah, it was all groups, and stop overs. I passed many times on the way to the Pgh. Airport, but never visited when it was open. I went to the auction in October of 1990, and bought a balloon darts game for a whopping $25, and sold all the prizes at a local flea market for about $500. It came with old school heavy darts, which I have packed up, and some balloons which had White Swan Park printed on them. The prozes were inflatables and plastic statues of raised middle fingers.

But, at age 20, that day started some networking for me, as an ACE'r snapped a photo of me talking to Harry Henninger, and I met David Dean Sr, who owned Joyland in Lubbock, Texas. I met David Jr. several years later showing him a log flume I had for sale, and I had photos of his father taking ownership of the Galaxi for $60,000, which David Jr. loved.

Kennywood Park also bought all the picnic tables at $60 each for Idlewild, and had a tractor trailer on site that afternoon. The Mad Mouse wild mouse went to Lakemont Park for about $12,000.

Basically, PennDot paid $4 million to Mr. Todd, and he walked away from the park, rides assembled, warehouses with stock, parts, tickets, etc. They then grossed about $975,000 at the auction, minus commission. In today's deflated market, and with so much equipment for sale, they would have receive less than half of that amount.

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