PTC "ownership" of coasters

Tuesday, October 7, 2003 7:42 AM
From what I understand, when PTC used to build coasters, they were actually owned (at least in part) by PTC and were leased to the parks in which they resided. I know this was the case with the original Hersheypark Wild Cat as well as the Comet, the Coney Island (Ohio) Schmeck coasters and the Mountain Park Mountain Flyer. From what I gather, this was good for the parks because PTC was ultimately responsible for the rides, including maintenance and upkeep.

Was this always the case with PTC, or was it up to the individual parks whether or not they wanted to actually own the ride or just have PTC build it and operate it on their land? Does anyone know just how much the parks made under this arrangement- was the greater share of the profit for the parks or for PTC, or was it conditional? I am sure that PTC no longer "owns" any coasters, so when did PTC get out of coaster ownership, and how did they do so? Did they let leases expire and then "force" the parks into buying the coasters? If a park chose not to buy, was the coaster demolished?

I can't believe that this topic always escaped my curiousity... until now!

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-Rob (overly curious)
A.C.E. member since 1990
Posting @ Coasterbuzz since 2000
E.C.C. member since 2002

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Tuesday, October 7, 2003 8:02 AM
Seeing that I work in the PTC archives during the summer i can answer your question....just after I take my ChemLab test that I am (or should be) studying for this afternoon

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www.alexsplace.com

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Wednesday, October 8, 2003 5:44 AM
During the 1920's PTC offered ride packages, ususally consisting of a coaster, a carousel and a mill chute. Many parks did not have the resources to pay for this up front. In these cases PTC would become partners, supplying the rides and sharing the revenues wiht the park. In some cases the parks would eventually buy out PTC's share. In other cases where the operation did not meet expectations the rides were removed and relocated to another park.This practice came to an end by the time John Allen took over the reigns in the late 1950's. The last PTC owned and operated ride was a carousel, ironically it was not one of their manufacture. It was large three abreast jester shield Dentzel at Hunting Park in the Philadelphia area. It is now the Kiddieland Carousel at Cedar Point.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2003 5:58 AM
I know that PTC manufactured a ton of things, including Cuddle-Ups and even Skee Ball games, so I wonder if they offered those as part of a "rides" package, too? I can understand something like a Carousel being removed and relocated, but I haven't heard of any cases of nill chutes and coasters being removed and relocated because of poor profit. I wonder if, instead of removing a "deficient" coaster, PTC sold it to the park at a hideously low price?

I know that Vekoma used to offer leasing packages (not sure if they still do)... I suppose that is sort of a modern-day reincarnation of PTC's old arrangement?

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-Rob
A.C.E. member since 1990
Posting @ Coasterbuzz since 2000
E.C.C. member since 2002

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Wednesday, October 8, 2003 7:21 AM
Well my work here is finished...LOL

Dutchman summed it up very well. Although the PTC coasters and mill chutes weren't moved around much but the carousels were.

To answer your question Rob...From the photos in the archives it seems that PTC usually just built the Carousel-Roller Coaster-Mill Chute deal, not always though.

PTC did a lot of other things than just the coasters, mill chutes, carousels, cuddle ups and crazy cups that are generally only talked about. They did a great deal of funhouses and dark rides along with stunts. The list goes on from war work machines to playground equipment.


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www.alexsplace.com

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Wednesday, October 8, 2003 8:11 AM
I'm really curious to know how these "deals" ended. Obviously, leases come to an end, and I wonder how things were worked out when PTC decided that they weren't going to own the rides anymore. They must have made some pretty good offers because it seems that they sold ALL of their coasters, mill chutes and carousels. I have never heard of a PTC ride (in recent years) being repossessed.

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-Rob
A.C.E. member since 1990
Posting @ Coasterbuzz since 2000
E.C.C. member since 2002

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Wednesday, October 8, 2003 4:18 PM
Hersheypark (Hershey Park) was a good example of a PTC park. They were commissioned to build the first coaster, the Wild Cat, in 1923. There was a 15 year lease with a 5 year renewal clause and the park got 25% of the profits.
In 1929, PTC built the Mill Chute ride and a new carrousel building, also holding a lease on the Mill Chute. PTC had a ride manager who resided nearby to operate the rides.
1938 was a busy year for PTC. They remodeled the Park's old theatre (which was on the site of the current Amphitheatre) into a walk-thru funhouse, remodeled the existing fun house (which was built from the old swimming pool bathhouse) into "Whoops", constructed a building for the Lusse Autoskooters, and constructed a roof over the Mangels Whip (Whipperoo). I don't think there were any leases for any of these buildings
In 1944, Hershey asked PTC to supply them with a "new" carrousel to replace the 1912 Dentzel. They supplied one from Enna-Jettick Park in Auburn, NY, which had been closed at the onset of WW2. This was an outright purchase--not a lease, however PTC was probably looking for a location to place this ride since the park they had it in had closed.
By 1946, the lease had expired on the Wild Cat and PTC talked Hershey into a new coaster--the Comet. This was also a lease arrangement, although I believe it was a shorter one, or was terminated by PTC. In the late 1950's a group of Hershey Park's executives formed a company and bought the Comet from PTC. It was operated in this capacity (as a concession) into the early 1960's. PTC's Bill Marquette was the ride manager for the Comet for PTC's entire term, and his living quarters were located in the lift house. It was actually a 4-room apartment with an office. I can't quite imagine living next to that big bull wheel all summer....
Sorry to be so long-winded, but thought this might be of some value.....
*** This post was edited by Comet Rider 10/8/2003 8:22:47 PM ***
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Thursday, October 9, 2003 5:16 AM
Some fascinating history here. Thanks to those who have posted this information.
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Thursday, October 9, 2003 5:32 AM
Comet Rider: Where is the lift house? During all of my (many) visits to Hershey, I can never recall seeing a lift house, or any structure that would be suitable to serve as living quarters for someone. I'm not doubting you, I'm just a little confused...

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-Rob
A.C.E. member since 1990
Posting @ Coasterbuzz since 2000
E.C.C. member since 2002

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Thursday, October 9, 2003 5:36 AM
Would a lift house have a drop toilet?

I never thought about how rides were financed in the early parks. This is quite interesting.

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William W. Gray, Curator
Whitewater Valley Railroad

Connersville, Indiana

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*** This post was edited by lumpy72 10/9/2003 9:41:52 AM ***

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Thursday, October 9, 2003 6:05 AM
I don't ever remember seeing a house there either, however I do know that Comet underwent some major work (some call it "remodeling") in around the mid 1970's. Could have the house been removed then or even earlier?

Also... Wildcat being replaced by Comet. I don't doubt it may have had something to do with the lease being up on Wildcat, but could have the fact that Wildcat underwent very little maintenance during the early 1940's because building materials were in short supply due to the war effort (WWII) and that it was more cost effective to remove it and build a new coaster than to try and repair Wildcat once the war ended? That is the story of the removal of Wildcat that I always heard. Could it have been a lease being up along with the state of dis-repair (out of necessity, not neglect) of the coater?
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Half of the people surveyed agree, half disagree and another half are unsure.
*** This post was edited by SLFAKE 10/9/2003 10:08:30 AM ***

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Thursday, October 9, 2003 6:29 AM
You're right... the original Wild Cat/Wildcat didn't get properly maintained during the '40s because of a shortage of lumber due to the war, and by the time the war had ended and lumber had become available again, it was decided to be more economically viable for the park to build a new coaster rather than rehab the old one. I also read that Schmeck was never really satisfied with the Wild Cat and therefore probably pushed to build a new and improved coaster for the park.

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-Rob
A.C.E. member since 1990
Posting @ Coasterbuzz since 2000
E.C.C. member since 2002

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Thursday, October 9, 2003 4:19 PM
The original lift house was removed in the winter of 2001-2002 and replaced with a larger, more functional block building. This is the structure under the lift that houses the flywheel and motor. It is easily viewed from the exit area of the ride. Interestingly enough, this building was constructed out of the remains of the old bathhouse (later known as "Whoops!") which had been located on the site where the comet was built. Parts of the foundation slab of Whoops still remain under the Comet station--the concrete was broken out and the Comet's footers poured on top. I have pictures somewhere--have to find a place to post them.
As for the Wild Cat (note that it was 2 words), bear in mind that Hershey ended up with it somewhere around 1943, during the war, when materials were somewhat short in supply, although this didn't stop any other projects that were occurring around that time. I believe that there were problems with the original lumber secured for construction (inferior grade), which may have led to a great deal of maintenance problems. Something else to remember is that in the "good old days" most rides received precious little maintenance, at least compared to today's standards. I also agree that Schmeck may have forced the issue a little, too.
I forgot one more PTC at Hershey--the Cuddle-Up was installed in 1947, and then reconstructed in 1978 as the Coal Shaker.
Since then, PTC's only sales to Hersheypark have been coaster trains.
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Thursday, October 9, 2003 6:01 PM
This isn't really much different from the set up at parks such as SFKK.

Most of the rides are all Built and Leased by Vekoma

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If I was part of a coaster, I would be an upstop pad on an Arrow Mine Train.
MAGNUM HAD MY BABY!

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Thursday, October 9, 2003 7:52 PM
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Without the chaindog, you'd never get up the lifthill...
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Friday, October 10, 2003 7:01 AM
I was told once that Dinn/CCI built a few early on that basically they leased to the parks for a cut in the gate profits until they were paid off. I don't know if this true or not but thought it was worth bringing up.

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William W. Gray, Curator
Whitewater Valley Railroad

Connersville, Indiana

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Friday, October 10, 2003 10:35 AM
Could be with the smaller parks like Kentucky Kingdom and Darien Lake, where mid-sized wooden coasters were probably very sizable expansions. Makes even more sense @ KK when you take into account that they leased a lot of Vekoma rides. I am guessing that the owners of the park eventually purchased the majority of them?

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-Rob
A.C.E. member since 1990
Posting @ Coasterbuzz since 2000
E.C.C. member since 2002

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Friday, October 10, 2003 10:45 AM
The only reason I brought it up was because I was told that CCI had offered a wooden coaster to Americana's owners (before ParkRiverWest or Jerry Couch). They supposedly turned down the offer thinking that it would not increase their attendance and hurt their profit margin.

It would make sense since they were only about 15 minutes from each other.

If this is true, I personally think they may have missed the boat , no I mean the PTC train.

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William W. Gray, Curator
Whitewater Valley Railroad

Connersville, Indiana
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*** This post was edited by lumpy72 10/10/2003 5:36:59 PM ***

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Friday, October 10, 2003 11:16 AM
Seeing as how SFKK's Thunder Run was designed for Americana, I guess the park has made a habit of "almost" adding another wooden coaster. Nowadays, it would be nice if they were able to keep open their ONLY wooden coaster!

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-Rob
A.C.E. member since 1990
Posting @ Coasterbuzz since 2000
E.C.C. member since 2002

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Friday, October 10, 2003 12:06 PM
There's a nugget of information that makes the Americana saga even more painful!
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Ripple Rock Amusement Park
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