It was known to strike fear into anybody who rode it. Rocky Point’s Wildcat coaster (not to be confused with the smaller, single-car Wildcat that arrived in 1958) was a wooden coaster that operated 1926 to 1938, having been destroyed by the ’38 hurricane. It was designed by Herbert Schmeck of Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, Inc (PTC). It was PTC #56 among that company’s 114 coasters.
The out-and-back coaster boarded towards the rear of the midway, and upon descending the first hill turned left through the woods over a series of hills, doing a turnaround near the front of the park, and returning over more hills.
According to the book, Herb Schmeck: The Forgotten Legacy by Torrance Jenkins, Jr., the Wildcat’s lift hill was 77-feet high. Depending upon what speed the train hit the tight turnaround, it could have been quite the alternating lateral experience. Looks to be an assortment of bunny hills and camel backs on both the out and the back tracks. I can imagine that night riding must have been extra thrilling, being so close to the treeline.
Like many PTC coasters of the 1920s, the Rocky Point Wildcat harbored a Mill Chutes ride underneath its superstructure. The Mill Chute was a variation of the Old Mill ride. Like the Old Mill, Rocky Point’s Mill Chutes was a water current-driven boat ride through a dark tunnel with lit dioramas. But the Mill Chute ended in a climactic splashdown, similar to the modern-day log flume ride. You can see the entrance to Rocky Point’s Mill Chute, with a support post from the Wildcat’s superstructure to the left, in the photo below. Rocky Point’s ride was either named Tunnels of Love, or perhaps just the ride’s entrance carried the name as a subheading.
The Wildcat boarded behind the midway carousel — the same one you and I rode up until 1995 – the carousel survived the 1938 hurricane.
Flanking the Wildcat entrance was the Tumble Bug and the Whip.
As mentioned, the hurricane of September 21, 1938 destroyed the Wildcat and most of Rocky Point’s other rides and attractions. As seen in the photo below, the storm did not completely level the Wildcat but inflicted enough damage to render the coaster unrepairable. Notice the short lift hill for the Mill Chutes ride in the center and the damaged Wildcat lift hill in the background.
Fast forward to Rocky Point’s 1948 reopening in the photo below and you can clearly see the void/footprint left by the removed Wildcat coaster – undeveloped, wooded terrain stretching along the right-hand side of the park.
So how does one find the footprint of the Wildcat today at Rocky Point State Park?
Here’s some advice: off the entrance roadway, take a left on
the connecting path. From there, walk about 100 feet and at the circled spot below, you’ll be at the approximate location of the Wildcat’s turnaround. Walk another 100-feet, look to your right, and that’s the approximate location of the lift hill.