Tonight's Chronicle:Coasting New England

Tuesday, July 2, 2002 6:30 PM

Tonight's on Chronicle they did an hour special on amusement parks of New England, and though it was a fun chance to get glamour shots all over Cannobie, Compounce, SFNE, Quassy, Funtown etc. it was a very said experience. For about 3/4 of the parks they visted were standing but not operating or closed.

First they visited Pargon, showing the black and white tv adds, and media talking about their new coasters. It was said because they ended the shot of looking at this remarkabe park by zooming out into a overall shot and fading into a picture of the exact location from the same angle today, a ugly set of three run down condo buildings. I was just so furious about the sight. They talked to the owner who says he walks this very block of where the wonderul park used to stand and told us what happened to it all. The opening of what was billed as the greatest flight experience, the Red Baron and some other seaside attractions like a Antique Carousel and Wonder Wheel, brought the additions of many new attractions the following years. What used to be a deserted beach became a seaside destination. Soon the park was doing very well, but did not bring in as much as the property taxes and insurances cost demanded for its location and with that the owner was forced to closed down the park unwillingy. He described it as taking away frm him. The same park that made this abandoned area into a seaside destination has been shut down by the community of which it grew. All the rides were sold off including the Wild One to what is now SFA and the magority of it's flats sold to Whalom and Lincoln Park. The few people that tried to fight for this park were able to save the carousel and relocate it a few blocks away along with the Wonder Wheel(which the neighbors fought to also take down for ruinning there view and lowering property value TIS). All that is now left of this once thriving park is a roast Beef Sandwich Shop and a Antique Carousel.

Then they went to Mountain Beach Park, which closed only 14 years ago do to less and less of a draw to the area. The park was not closed down just stopped. Originally, the park was to close in 79' but one family who group with this park wanted to save it, but after 9 long years of operation, the plug was pulled and the park just stopped. All ride still remain including a remarkable woodie which now is in a state that even the best designers could not referbish. They walked with the family through the park and I could barely watch. It looked just like Knobel's Grove especially with those two great woodies, but it was in the exact state if not worse then Idora Park. The cars from the minature rides, almost all stolen(the ittle planes and boats), the woodies, barely standing with the Century Flyers rusting in a shed. I could barely match, a mountain town filled with rides and games in such a beautiful landscape gone to waste and suffering from frequent visistors taking their pieces of the park home.

Then we had Lincoln Park, oh how charming this park looked. Unlike a small family park in jeporardy, this park looked like it was Coney Island. Now, what is eft of it, a greedy buisness man that decided that the place would make more money as a casino and dog racing track, a great wooden coaster that he does not care about and is ready to dump into Saturday's pick up, and a young man who decided to save a portion of the park and move it to a more friendly area which stands today as Pirate's Fun Park, the last of the seaside park of Massachusetts. I couldn't believe this man that they interviewed. The park practically given to him like inheritance and he turns it to soem dog racing courses?!! Mad me so mad I was about to throw my spagehtti at the TV set. Now the other guy had the care enough t try to move the park to a new location but only had the money to move a small portion of the park. To bad he couldn't move the two coaster, Cyclone(a custom wild mouse) and the great Lincoln Park Comet. I think Cyclone was a monster mouse and was sold to like the Big E or some other fair, but the Cyclone along with some other great attractions stand their in pieces or on it's last leg.

Finally they showed Whalom Park and a family trying to save the park. The daughter was kind enough to give a tour. It ends up from the response of Bostonian families, that they never knew Whalom had closed. One family said they just have been going to Six Flags lately and never thought much to go. They ended with a segment showing a circle shot of Whalom(saying help save Whalom, a pastime and funspot of many generations) and then they showed another circle shot of glimpsing at the condos(former Pargon Park), the dormant Lincoln Comet, and and Mountain Beach rotting away all while saying: for this is what it could become. Then she gave the (for Chronicle, this blah blah blah, forgot her name.) They gave some intersesting and sad facts at the studio such as:

-Of the many park that have stood in New England, over a hundred have closed, about 60% of them in the last 20 years.

-Many attempts have been made to save some of these park but all have been shy, the only real success stories were the purchases of the old lake and partial relocation of Lincoln Park(now Cannobie Lake and Pirate Fun Park)

-No others have been able to save more than a very small number of attractions.

-Alone Massachusetts and Connecticut have lost more coasters then they currenty have standing.

Lake Compounce-So Fresh and So Clean Clean

Tuesday, July 2, 2002 6:36 PM

Vertigo, could you email me some more info on what they said about Mountain Beach Park? I'm interested in dormant places like that.

Sounds like a very interesting, but also depressing show.

Off with the trims!
My fellow Americans; Let's Roll!

Tuesday, July 2, 2002 7:12 PM

Read about the show hear and further links are provided as well

I'm sorry but until I saw this show, I had no idea about the park.

Mountain Park, Holyoke, Ma. 1895-1987

Tuesday, July 2, 2002 7:19 PM

Man! I was born in S. Weymouth MA in '69, and I can remember going to all of those parks at one time or another! (Even cheezy little King's Castle Land)

Paragon Park was the most visited of them all, since it was so close to us. I remember the coaster (never rode it), the dark ride/log flume, go karts, and many others. I only wish there were more pics of it out there online somewhere.

You didn't by chance happen to tape it did you? I know I would love to see it, along with many other family members....

Signed: Transplanted Yankee....

Tuesday, July 2, 2002 7:37 PM

I would have loved to have seen that show... Did it show canobie lake park a lot? or at all?

Im the #1 Canobie Lake Park Fan!!!These are my top 3 coasters:
1. S:RoS @ SFNE 2. Yankee Cannonball 3. Cyclone

Tuesday, July 2, 2002 7:42 PM
Oh my gosh, Mike!!! You missed it? A park like Cannobie never looked so beautiful on camera. They even showed the flat rides at night all lit up and a little POV of Yankee Cannonball. They gave a short history of the park and had many glamour shots. For sure I wouldn't think you would have missed this. I didn't get a chance to tape it, but you could ask the station for a copy or to air it again, I think that could save Whalom Park easily. I couldn't believe how suprised some people were when they heard about Whalom Park, they assumed it was going fine and dandy.

Lake Compounce-So Fresh and So Clean Clean

Tuesday, July 2, 2002 7:58 PM

When i have my own big amusement park chain/coaster company my goal is after making some money from my parks/coasters I will be able to purchase oldrides from dormant parks like these and add to my own. I have visited really no "small" parks mainly because my family thinks they are stupid and prefe the coorporate scream machines. It reallys saddens me to know because some people would rather gamble throw away a park i would give anything to have recieved through a will.I also had no idea that Whalom Park was in any kind of trouble either.


*** This post was edited by punkrockrider on 7/3/2002. ***


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