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Thread: Old Amusement Parks

  1. #1
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    Default Old Amusement Parks

    I would love to hear about memories of visits to amusement parks that are closed and gone. Bertrand's Island, Bellewood in Pattenburg, Butler Park in Washington/Hunterdon County and others that are no longer there. Thanks.

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    Welcome BlueIrishEyes. There are a lot of coll old atrractions in NJ that sadly are no l;onger here. The most famous is probably Palisades Park.

    Another that is often talked about, but isn't exactly an amusement park, is Brigantine Castle.

    You can check out some of the information on this great attraction on - Revisit a Legend: Birgantine Castle
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    Palisades Park is indeed famous and I visited there when I was growing up. Many of the rides were sold when the park closed to a complex in Pennsylvania. The race track/amusement park combination lasted for a short time and the area is now abandoned and the rides are idle and overgrown with weeds.

    There were 3 parks in the Bayonne area, one in Singac, and several in Paterson that I can find no additional information on other than the fact they existed and once had roller coasters of some type. Numerous amusement parks were located throughout the state and only a few remain. The history of these parks in NJ and the entire northeast is a passion for my research.

    I visied what remains of the Gingerbread Castle several weeks ago. The once charming place is now a shadow of its former self and the plans for restoration seem to be in a holding pattern.

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    Default Long Branch

    The Haunted Mansion in Long Branch was Another Great spot
    DAVE GERING
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueIrishEyes
    The history of these parks in NJ and the entire northeast is a passion for my research.
    I was wondering if you were writing a book. I do have a NJ amuseument park book and it does include some of the lost parks in there. I worked with someone - at least on a very limited basis for a book on NJ Taverns.
    New Jersey is the only state honored by two resorts at Walt Disney World. The Beach Club Resort, modeled after Historic Cape May and The Boardwalk Resort, after Atlantic City. If the Jersey Shore is good enough for Walt Disney to recreate, isn't the REAL Jersey Shore even better for you and your family?

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    Writing a book would be a challenge and my ultimate goal. Right now I am trying to compile a list of all the lost parks. There is a website called Defunct Amusement Parks but it is grossly incomplete for many of the US States. I am concentrating on the Northeast mainly because I can drive to the sites and libraries for information. I have also discovered that memories from individuals that have visited the parks are invaluable.

    I enjoy visiting the locations of closed parks and walking through the ruins of yesterday.

    What is in the name of the book? I have Great American Amusement Parks and the ones by Jim Futrell but they are mostly about current parks.

    When I found this site I took the opportunity to poll your readers for their memories and maybe mention some parks I have no information about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueIrishEyes
    Writing a book would be a challenge and my ultimate goal. Right now I am trying to compile a list of all the lost parks. There is a website called Defunct Amusement Parks but it is grossly incomplete for many of the US States. I am concentrating on the Northeast mainly because I can drive to the sites and libraries for information. I have also discovered that memories from individuals that have visited the parks are invaluable.

    I enjoy visiting the locations of closed parks and walking through the ruins of yesterday.

    What is in the name of the book? I have Great American Amusement Parks and the ones by Jim Futrell but they are mostly about current parks.
    The one I was referring to is the Jim Futrell book - Amusement Parks of NJ. In there it has a chapter on the history of amusement parks in NJ as well as a list of defunct ones...

    Action Park; McAfee 1977 - 1996
    Advenure Village; Egg Harbor 1959 - 1969
    Alcyon Park; Pitman 1892 - 1945
    Bayonne Kiddieland; Bayonne early 1950's - late 1960's
    Bayonne Pleasure Park; Bayonne 1909 - mid-1930's
    Bellwood Park; Pattenburg 1902 - 1916
    Belmar Playland; Belmar 1966 - 2000
    Belvidere Beach; Keansburg 1912 - 1933
    Bergen Point Park/Uncle Mitty's; Bayonne early 1900's - early 1970's
    Bertrand Island; Lake Hopatcong 1925 - 1983
    Brigantine Castle & Amusement Pier; Brigantine 1976 - 1984
    Burlington Island Park; Burlington 1910's - 1934
    Captain Good Times; Turnersville 1989 - 1994
    Casino Amusements; Asbury Park 1932 - 1990
    Casino Arcade; Wildwood 1916 - 1980
    Central Pier; Atlantic City 1921 - 1993
    Children's Stroybook Farm; Parsipanny mid-1950's - late 1960's
    Colombia Park; Union Hill 1919 - 1930's
    Cowboy City; Farmingdale 1950's - 1966
    Days of Fun; Florence 1950's - 1970
    Dinosaur Beach Adventure Park; Wildwood 1996 - 1998
    Dreamland Park; Elizabeth 1922 - 1939
    Ed Brown's Playground; Allaire 1991 - 1999
    Electric Park; Newark 1903 - 1912
    Exhilarama; Voorhees 1992 - 1996
    Extension Kiddieland; Trenton early 1950's - late 1960's
    Fairyland; Sprinfield early 1960's - 1982
    Fairy Tale Forest; Oak Ridge 1957 - 2003
    Fun City; Sea Isle City 1971 - 2000
    Fun Fair; Point Pleasant Beach 1965 - 1987
    Fun Pier; Wildwod 1957 - 1987
    Gillian's Fun Deck; Ocean City 1930 - 1987
    Gingerbread Castle; Hamburg mid-1950's - late 1960's
    Hartman's Park; Beach Haven 1960 - 1984
    Herman's Amusements/Schiffel's; Point Pleasant Beach 1949 - 1987
    Hillside Pleasure Park/Riviera Park; Belleville 1904 - 1927
    Hunt's Pier; Wildwood 1957 - 1991
    Kiddie Karnival; Pine Brook 1950's - 1987
    Kiddieland; Pennsauken mid-1950's - mid-1960's
    Kiddieland; Saddle River early 1950's - 1960's
    Kids World; Long Branch 1985 - 1987
    Lincoln Park; Paulsboro 1890 - 1906
    Long Branch Pier; Long Branch 1902 - 1987
    Marine Pier; Wildwood 1931 - 1976
    Million Dollar Pier; Atlantic City 1906 - 1981
    Nolan's Point; Lake Hopatcong 1920's - 1933
    Ocean Pier; Wildwood 1905 - 1943
    Olympic Park; Maplewood 1904 - 1965
    Palace Amusements; Asbury Park 1887 - 1988
    Palisades Park; Cliffside Park 1898 - 1971
    Playland/Marine West/Nickels Midway Pier; Wildwood 1919 - 1998
    Rendezvous Park; Atlantic City 1921 - 1924
    Riverview Beach; Pennsville 1891 - 1968
    Scheutzen Park; Jersey City 1875 - 1964
    Sportland Pier; Wildwood 1928 - 1982
    Stainton's Playland; Ocean City 1929 - 1955
    Steeplehase Pier; Atlantic City 1899 - 1986
    Storyland Village; Neptune City 1956 - 1962
    Tivoli Pier; Atlantic City 1988 - 1995
    Tumbling Dam Park; Bridgeboro 1893 - 1946
    TW Sports; Egg Harbor 1994 - 2001
    Warne Bros. Jungle Habitat; West Milford 1972 - 1976
    Washington Park on the Delaware; Woodbury 1895 - 1913
    White City; Trenton 1908 - late 1910's
    Woodlyne Park; Camden 1901 - 1912
    Wuest Casino; Point Pleasant Beach early 1930's - 1975

    Maybe this long list will bring back some memories for people.

    I'm sort of suprised at all the parks that went under in the 30 or so years.
    When I found this site I took the opportunity to poll your readers for their memories and maybe mention some parks I have no information about.
    Sadly at this time, the messageboard is still developing a following, so many people read, but few post. Hopefully people will contribute to this thread. The more threads there are for people to post on, the more likely people find a reason to join and hopefully stay on as a regular member.
    New Jersey is the only state honored by two resorts at Walt Disney World. The Beach Club Resort, modeled after Historic Cape May and The Boardwalk Resort, after Atlantic City. If the Jersey Shore is good enough for Walt Disney to recreate, isn't the REAL Jersey Shore even better for you and your family?

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    Thank you so much. This list has several that I do not have records for. He is also missing some and has the dates, spelling and locations wrong on one or two.

    I don't just want my research to be a list, but a short history of each one including the origin, owners, rides and demise. Much of this information is available in different places but not one complete compilation exists.

    People, like you, that provide forums and information are greatly appreciated and all your input is invaluable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueIrishEyes
    Thank you so much. This list has several that I do not have records for. He is also missing some and has the dates, spelling and locations wrong on one or two.
    I may have done the misspellings - unless you have compared them to the ones in the book. If you can post the correct information - that way the list will be accurate for others who read this thread.
    I don't just want my research to be a list, but a short history of each one including the origin, owners, rides and demise. Much of this information is available in different places but not one complete compilation exists.
    I understand. That would be much better. I thought this on had a little history on some of the major ones - but I guess I am wrong. Unless I have another amusement park book. I'll have to look - I have a pretty large NJ "library" and I forget which books have.
    People, like you, that provide forums and information are greatly appreciated and all your input is invaluable.
    Thanks. But with forums it's the members who provide the information. I just provide the means for people to discuss and disseminate their knowledge.
    New Jersey is the only state honored by two resorts at Walt Disney World. The Beach Club Resort, modeled after Historic Cape May and The Boardwalk Resort, after Atlantic City. If the Jersey Shore is good enough for Walt Disney to recreate, isn't the REAL Jersey Shore even better for you and your family?

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    Here are a few corrections to the list based on my reserach.

    Bellewood Park 1904-1916 Pattenburg, NJ
    Butler Park 1929-1952 Lebanon Township NJ
    Gingerbread Castle 1930-1971
    White City Park 1907-1921 Hamilton Twp. NJ. Not in Trenton but east of there. Also know as Spring Lake Park and Capital Park
    Woodlawn Park 1922-1938 Trenton, NJ

    Exhilarama was actually an amusement park within a large shopping mall in Vorhees, NJ.

    Ed Brown's Playground may still be in existence. I am checking--Ed Brown owns an airport and golf course also. Will followup with additional information.

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    Default Flashbacks

    In late 1985 I had several field service calls to Fort Monmouth NJ. Once, I noticed a sign that said something about Asbury Park while driving home. The next time I was up there my service call was cut short so when I was heading home I decided to take a little detour, east at that Asbury park sign until I hit the ocean. It was snowing. I thought it would be cool to see the beach with snow on it. I thought there was a boardwalk. I had vague memories of amusment rides although I couldn't recall how I knew. I thought it would be cool to see a deserted boardwalk. But what I saw was more of a ghost town than a deserted boardwalk. It wasn't shut down for the summer it was shut down for good. I saw boarded up buildings and broken windows. I started walking and more memories came flooding back to me of kiddie rides and a fun house and a huge ferris wheel high in the sky. I saw this one building that was kind of round in the front and sort of freaked out and turned around and headed back to my car. I couldn't shake the feeling that I had been there before. Although I had a pretty good memory of all the dozens of places my parents took me as a kid. The trips to the shore. The differences between Wildwood and Atlantic City. The cheesy little storybook forest. Eating at Zaberers. But I could not recall being to Asbury Park. My parents had hundreds of pictures. Slides actually. Even as a teenager in the 70's I remember watching those slides with my younger sister who did not get to go based on the technicality that she wasn't born yet. That day was quickly forgotten as the weather got worse and the drive back to Philadelphia took 3 hours. And I did not have any more calls in that area again.

    Twenty years later my mind is being hit with memories from 40 years in the past. I feel this strange need to open it up and capture some of it before it is forgotten. I start thinking of all the things I remember as a kid. The trips to amusement parks was the main thing. Before I tried remembering all that I dug as deep into my mind as I could. My earliest memories. Back all the way to nursery school. Then took a field trip back to that school. Easy to do since it is only 7 miles away. And my earliest memories cam flooding back.

    Next step: Dad, where are our slides?

    Two months ago my Father gives me a box with 1600+ 35mm slides in it. Divided up into 4 smaller boxes. He said someday he was going to organize them. Someday was here but it was my turn. My obsession. One at a time those 1600 slides were being fed into a borrowed scanner and 2 minutes later a picture pops up on my screen. But first the painstaking process of sorting. First by year. Then by month. Slides are stamped with month and year of development and a sequence number. But some years had 6 sets developed the same month. Sort further. Match up subjects. Make good guesses. And finally feed into the scanner.

    Two days ago, in the final batch of 60 slides, November 1964, I run across some "shore" pics I can't easily identify. Me as a 3 year old on kiddie rides. A strange river. And pictures high above an amusement park with the ocean in the background. For two days I have been trying to identify that place. For two days I have been thinking I know that place. And then today while trying to work I mindlessly type in Asbury Park Carousel to a google image search. That was rather enlightening but depressing all the same. I stopped looking after about 3 pages. Another set of pics identified. Yeah there are two pics in that same bunch of a western ghost town and me and my mother on a stage coach that don't seem to fit but even before I get to ask the question it looks like there is already an answer here to that one.

    Now if I could just figure out a marketing angle I would write a book or something. Until then I'll just keep rambling these memories and mention 2005 MTE just in case

    Mark

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    Welcome Mark - awesome story. Don;t worry - I don't think anyone has any plans of taking it. Even if I did ultimately take things off AboutNewJersey.com to do a story, I would give the people credit.

    I have a lot of memories of attractions we used to go to when I was little. I think most, if not all are still in existance though.

    It would be great if you can maybe start a Asbury Park thread in the shore section and post some of your Asbury Park photos. It's really sad at how run down the city and beach had become. They're starting to make headway now on improving it, but in the process they're destorying a lot of great history. Once your history is gone, there is no way to bring it back. It's like Palisades Park, now it's a housing development I believe. Now the only thing left are the songs and the photos.

    I wish I had some of our old photos, my father used to have a lot of slides to from when I was growing up, but I'm not sure where they are. I'm going to have to do what you did and ask my father.
    New Jersey is the only state honored by two resorts at Walt Disney World. The Beach Club Resort, modeled after Historic Cape May and The Boardwalk Resort, after Atlantic City. If the Jersey Shore is good enough for Walt Disney to recreate, isn't the REAL Jersey Shore even better for you and your family?

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    Default Memories

    It's nice to be here.

    My memories seemed like they were mostly from watching the family slide shows and hearing stories about them. Now I get bits and pieces flashing back and I can actually remember things that I don't have slides for.

    My mother and father take some prodding before they start remembering things. My mom says she didn't like Asbury park because everything was too expensive and her biggest memory is of having to pay for a cup of water. So we only went there once. I couldn't start a thread but I will post the pictures once I edit them down to web size.

    I thought I had been to storybook forest several times but all the pictures are really from Fantasyland in Gettysburg PA. I do have a bunch of pics from the Land Of Make Believe though.

    I have pics from Steel Pier and Steeplechase Pier and Wildwood. My parents were a bit trip happy and in 1966 alone I have shots from 4 different New York amusement parks. In 1965 besides the Worlds Fair I also have another 4 or 5 different amusement park trips.

    So thats why amusement parks would be a focus when I write a book about it.

    Oh yeah, I have Adventure Village pics too and it doesn't seem anybody else has any.

    So I'll start posting and feel free to quote me anytime

    Mark

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    Mark- I forgot to mention - you were the 100th member. Not that all the members are "real" posters since some were spammers who came onboard awhile ago - but I thought you should know that technically you are the 100th member.

    As for your prize... welll... you get...
    ...This Post...
    New Jersey is the only state honored by two resorts at Walt Disney World. The Beach Club Resort, modeled after Historic Cape May and The Boardwalk Resort, after Atlantic City. If the Jersey Shore is good enough for Walt Disney to recreate, isn't the REAL Jersey Shore even better for you and your family?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyDevil
    Mark- I forgot to mention - you were the 100th member. Not that all the members are "real" posters since some were spammers who came onboard awhile ago - but I thought you should know that technically you are the 100th member.

    As for your prize... welll... you get...
    ...This Post...

    Now I feel special.

    I'm amazed that out of 1600 slides there are only a handful where I can't identify the location. I don't think any are in Jersey though.

    Ok I'll give you a prize. If the attachment works right that is.

    Seeya
    Mark
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Well that has to be Brigantine Castle. I remember that castle - although I had never been there. I remember the commercials and I always wanted to go there. We were on our way down there the one time, but then for some reason, we didn't go.
    New Jersey is the only state honored by two resorts at Walt Disney World. The Beach Club Resort, modeled after Historic Cape May and The Boardwalk Resort, after Atlantic City. If the Jersey Shore is good enough for Walt Disney to recreate, isn't the REAL Jersey Shore even better for you and your family?

    Things to do in NJ: Attraction Guide
    Where to Stay in NJ: Hotel Guide
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyDevil
    Well that has to be Brigantine Castle. I remember that castle - although I had never been there. I remember the commercials and I always wanted to go there. We were on our way down there the one time, but then for some reason, we didn't go.
    Back in 1980 I ran into a girl named Darlene working in the gaming area. She was from Philadelphia from the Wissahickon area, Kalos St. I think. But she was living down the shore that year to work at the castle. Darlene is one friend I had lost touch with that I was extremely surprised to see at the Brigantine Castle working.

    I have been writing an autobiography and it needs some more exciting moments. And there are possible synchronistic coincidences that would never be exposed if it wasn't for the internet. Like how peoples lives may have gone in parallel after an encounter. I met Darlene on the CB radio in 1978 and I remember very little details on the circumstances. Except that she lived right around the corner on Kalos St. and that she was the best kisser I have ever encountered. But sadly only had one oppurtunity at that. And never saw her again until that day in 1980 at the Brigantine Castle.

    Curiously enough, when I ran into Darlene at the Castle I was with another girl who I met in 1978 that I had finally gotten to hook up with. And there was so much I wanted to ask Darlene, like her last name, that I didn't have a chance to. How could I have asked Darlene what I wanted to with another girl right beside me?

    I broke up with that girl I was seeing shortly after that wondering if my interest in Darlene might have been more apparent than I would have liked.

    The Brigantine Castle was amazing. But by the time I had my first family in 1983 it was not such a good place to go and there was so much bad press about it we stayed away.

    Mark

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    Default Jungle Habitat

    You forgot about Jungle Habitat in West Milford (1972-1976)

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    Smile Old Amusement Parks & Things

    I could write a book about my visits to New Jesey's old parks and attractions.

    I spent the first ten years of my life in Hackensack, which was just a 15-minute ride from Palisades Park. (The amusement park, not the town.) My father worked in construction as a young man and he became friends with a man named Angelo (the construction unions were dominated by the Irish and Italians in those days.) Angleo used to run a booth at Palisades Park where you had to knock over a pyramid of metal milk bottles with a softball to win a prize. It was right across from the Dodge-Em cars.

    I still measure French fries against those at Palisades Park. They were made from real potatoes and were CRISP. They were served in a little cardboard "boat" and you ate them with a two-pronged wooden fork. McDonald's fries are but a paltry excuse for a French fry compared to PP's.

    As the years went by, the park declined. They advertised heavily on New York TV and made arrangements to have buses run directly from the Port Authority bus terminal to the park. I still remember the jingle: "Skip the bother and skip the fuss [beep-beep] take a Public Service bus. Public Service sure is great, it takes you right up to the gate." As hoards of New Yorkers who looked like extras from the movie West Side Story flooded the park, people with families became afraid to take their kids there, for fear they'd wind up in the middle of a Shark stabbing a Jet in front of the roller coaster! Eventually the land became too valuable for such low-density usage and the original owner of more than half a century sold it to a developer who built condos on the spot.

    The coaster at PP was the only "full-size" roller coaster I've ever been on. (Once, was enough for me! Flying doesn't phase me at all, but something about hurtling towards the ground at 60 mph unnerves me!) I also had my very first taco at PP, years before I ever saw a Taco Bell.

    My grandfather's brother (who was married to my grandmother's sister!) lived in Jersey City but had a summer house at Lake Hopatcong. So, as a boy, I went to Bertrand's Island park many times while visiting them. It was a neat spot, right on the edge of the lake. It was smaller than PP, but nicer in many ways.

    Though not an amusement park, my family also visited Gingerbread Castle in Hamburg many times when I was a kid. "Hansel and Gretel" warned us kids not to touch anything or the entire castle would turn to stone! Though it was probably only 30 miles from Hackensack, it always seemed to take hours on the winding, two-lane country roads. I always heard Doris Day sing "Que Sera Sera" at least once there and once again on the return ride.

    Something I remember very fondly about traveling the back roads of New Jersey is a certain kind of roadside food stand I have never seen in any other state. See if anyone else remembers these, and if so, do they still have them?

    Along a deserted stretch of road, you'd see a parking lot that was usually only gravel covered, not paved. Behind it, you'd see a very rustic looking building that looked like a log cabin. (Picture a facility at a state or national park and you get the idea.) These places usually had a counter with a window that opened to the outside for take out orders, and a very limited menu. (They were the forerunners of fast food places.) Most of them had a barrel on the counter filled with either lemonade or birch beer. Smaller barrels with pumps held mustard and ketchup. The menu was usually hot dogs, hamburgers, and French fries as good as those at Palisades Park, and some even had Taylor Pork Roll (which we used to call Taylor ham).

    And most of them had benches and picnic tables that were unlike any you see today. They were made from giant logs created by sawing the trunks of trees in half lengthwise, and then sanded very smooth and very highly varnished.

    Am I remembering a vestige of forgotten Jerseyana, or do places like these still exist?

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    Default Additional Defunct NJ Amusement Parks

    Hi,
    I am new to this forum. I now live in Florida but previously lived in New Jersey and I am a great fan of roller coaster and amusement park history. I would like to add a few that I found to be missing from the lists. I don't have opening and closing dates off hand but they are now all defunct.

    Arcola Park - Rochelle Park
    Atlantic Beach/Bayview - Atlantic Highlands
    Bayonne Pleasure Park - Bayonne
    Colonial Lake Park - Colonial Lake
    Crystal Lake Park - Eagle Rock, So. Orange
    Fairyland - Between Patterson and Passaic - very short lived
    Grandview Park - North Caldwell/Singac
    Lakeside Park - Gloucester City
    Newport Beach Park - East Orange
    Olympia Park - Penns Grove

    Most of the above had roller coasters of some type and I am presently doing an article on Wood Coasters of NJ for the Wood Coaster Fan Club. I would enjoy sharing data with Irish Blue Eyes and discussing these parks with any forum members.

    Thanks and keep the thread going,
    George

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