Remembering a Cleveland Legend: Puritas Springs and the Fearsome Cyclone

Posted Monday, May 5, 2008 8:36 PM | Contributed by gshatterhand

The clatter and whoosh of The Cyclone racing along its wooden track still echoes over the valley below Puritas hill, but only in the dreams of those who remember Puritas Springs Park and its spectacular roller coaster.

On Sunday, June 8th, from noon to five, fans of the old amusement park and its legendary coaster will gather in the Rosenthal Room at the 100th Bomb Group restaurant, at 20920 Brookpark Road across from the airport, to mark the 50th year of the park's closing. The event is free and open to the public.

There will be recently discovered photos and home movies, a replica of the park gates, carnival music, memorabilia, a video version of a ride on the fearsome Cyclone recreated from actual measurements, and lots of friendly people who remember good times at Puritas Springs.

Among the guests planning to stop by is:

Safari Jane, wife of the late Lawrence Tetzlaff who, as wild-animal trainer Jungle Larry, became a household name on the local kids show Captain Penny. His Circus Africa was a popular attraction at Puritas Springs. In fact, Safari Jane first met Jungle Larry visiting the park with her little brother in 1957. Captain Penny was best man at their wedding.

Ken Dombey Jr., son of local musician Ken Dombey, the popular organist whose masterful skills at the keyboard made Puritas Springs roller skating rink one of the most popular in Cleveland. Ken Jr. also worked at the park and met his wife there.

Florence Gooding who ran the park for many years with her late husband, James Gooding, grandson of the park's founder.

Joyce Behrendt Biddulph whose family ran the concessions. The Behrendts spent their summers at the park preparing the creamy taffy, fluffy cotton candy, hot popcorn, crispy French waffles and rich custard so many remember.

Scott Andress, great-grandson of the park's founder. He grew up in the park which his parents managed with the Goodings.

Built in 1928, The Cyclone took advantage of the steep hill at the edge of Cleveland Metropolitan Park, plunging into the valley and through the trees on a winding, twisting course described as either frighteningly fun or just plain terrifying. Most think it was wonderful!

The event is sponsored by the West Park Historical Society which is dedicated to preserving the history of Cleveland's far west side.

Read more from West Park Historical Society.

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