September 29, 1987. Four people were injured on the Comet’s brake run to the station when the braking system failed. The train jackknifed and some cars derailed. With that, operating days of the Comet also came to a screeching halt.
Lincoln Park closed December 3, 1987, owing $48,000 in taxes and $13,000 in unpaid police details. Almost all of the rides were dismantled and auctioned off.
For years after the park’s closing, the Comet stood lonely and alienated while vegetation slowly reclaimed the property around it. While “No Trespassing” signs were posted throughout the former park, Comet fans largely ignored them and pressed on to pay their last respects to the once-mighty giant.
A set of the Comet’s Century Flier trains remained somewhat protected inside the crumbling loading station, and a friend of mine expected to purchase them from the company that had bought the vacant park. Much to his dismay, he was told that the trains were purchased by Little Amerricka Amusement Park. Little Amerricka, located in Marshall, Wisconsin, also expressed interest in buying the coaster in 2002. The owner of Lincoln Park at the time, Walter Bronhard, offered to sell the coaster for $90,000, but received no buyers. To that end, another friend of mine was grated permission to scale the Comet to draft blueprints as the originals were not available. Despite the intrusion of trees piercing the superstructure and the perils of climbing rickety, weather-weakened plywood, he managed to capture new blueprints for the ride.
Some brave souls ignored the collapsing roof of the station and motor house to capture some compelling images of the drive train and electronics that powered the lift hill chain.
For years, the majestic Comet lift hill dominated the area’s skyline, until…
it partially collapsed in January 2005.
Having abandoned all proposals and future plans, the Comet was finally put out of its misery, also saving its legions of fans further suffering in watching it wither away. The coaster was demolished on July 11, 2012.
In October 2015 I ventured out to the site of the former amusement park which was then in the process of becoming residential property known as Lincoln Park Place.
The site of the Comet had been mostly cleaned up and renamed Roller Coaster Way.
Yet, we still managed to find some hidden ruins from the infamous coaster…
…including the granddaddy of them all: the lift chain drive gear!
While our Comet is no more, fans can still ride a rendition of it at Coney Island, albeit a higher and longer version, in the circa 1927 Cyclone. As mentioned earlier, both coasters were designed 19 years apart by Vernon Keenan. Here’s a aerial of the Coney Island Cyclone.
And here’s the closest aerial match I can find to the Lincoln Park Comet.
The true coaster experts would surely pinpoint all the similarities and differences, right down to the number of nuts and bolts. I’ve ridden both coasters numerous times and all I can say is every time I ride the Coney Cyclone, I think of the Lincoln Comet.
And that’s HIGH praise!
And for thousands of people:
Thanks to all the photographers who posted their great photos on Pinterest
The members of Things That Aren’t There Anymore: Southeastern Massachusetts Edition
Nine Persons Injured in Roller Coaster Accident, Standard-Times, 7/24/68
Calamity on The Comet, SouthCoast Today, 8/25/2013