Shuttered Amusement Parks Are Living on through the Internet

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 18, 2001 | Go to article overview

Shuttered Amusement Parks Are Living on through the Internet


Byline: Arthur Levine

How vivid are your amusement-park memories? Does that dusty souvenir plate or fading photograph trigger images of the painted ponies and rickety wooden roller coasters you rode as a child?

When amusement parks close (and many have) memories are all that remain. However wistful, most regard it as another lost piece of childhood and let it go.

Some enthusiasts, however, are infatuated with the traditional parks of the past. They yearn to gather information about their favorite pleasure palaces, immerse themselves in park lore and connect with others who share their fascination. The Web gives them the forum to indulge their passions. Internet sites devoted to closed parks and other amusement-industry nostalgia abounds.

Parks may be defunct, but not forgotten

The aptly named Defunct Parks (www.defunctparks.com) contains a mother lode of online information. Click on a state and up pops a list of places with quaint names such as White City, Luna Park, Playland and Pleasure Pier. The site features postcard scans, photos and essays for selected parks as well as links to related sites.

Forty-year-old Joel Styer presides over Defunct Parks. As a child in the '60s, he visited Dorney, Willow Grove, West View and other parks in the Pennsylvania area. Styer grew to love coasters and joined the American Coaster Enthusiasts, or ACE.

Through ACE, he learned about parks that had closed or were closing and vowed to write a park-history book. "Then, along came the Web," Styer says. "The site became the book."

Like apparitions, the midways of New Jersey's Palisades Park, Idora Park of Ohio and other celebrated spots come to life again at Defunct Parks. "When I started this, I really didn't expect the volume of information or the numbers of people visiting the site. There is a lot of interest out there," Styer says.

There is so much information, he is having a hard time keeping up with it all. Like other enthusiasts' sites, Defunct Parks is a labor of love and Styer wedges in his Webmaster duties around his real job and other demands.

Rather than personally provide content about the hundreds of shuttered parks, Styer sees his site more as a clearinghouse and invites fans to post contributions about their hometown havens. He focuses on Pennsylvania parks. Still boasting an impressive number of amusement parks, the state was home to an incredible array in its heyday. Styer lists about 150 defunct Pennsylvania parks.

Pleasure Island's castaways reunite

One park Styer hasn't had a chance to update on his site is Massachusetts' Pleasure Island. Last year, former employees and fans of the theme park formed a group, unearthed a treasure trove of memorabilia and established a Web site (www.wakefield.org/pleasureisland).

Opened in 1959, the Boston-area park boasted Disney-style quality with themed lands and its signature Moby Dick Hunt attraction. By 1969, the park closed in ruins, but it was open long enough to make an indelible impact on impressionable Bay State baby boomers.

Kory Hellmer, the group's Webmaster, is not a typical fanatic. "I've never been to Disney World and probably never will go," she says. "I'd rather be hiking in Sicily." In charge of Pleasure Island's food carts during her college years, Hellmer enjoys catching up with her former co-workers and stoking memories of the special place.

Although he visited Pleasure Island only once, when he was 10 years old, George LaCross can recall the park with incredible detail. He particularly remembers its two sophisticated (for its time) dark rides, the Wreck of the Hesperus and the Old Chisholm Trail. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Upgrade your membership to receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad‑free environment

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Upgrade your membership to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Shuttered Amusement Parks Are Living on through the Internet
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved in your active project from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Upgrade your membership to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.