Some find abandoned amusement parks enchanting. The thrill of exploring ruins, reliving the glorious memories of years past.
Others find the experience repulsive. They see no merit in the remnants of what once was. They only see them as what should still be.
Crescent Park ran from 1886 to 1978. Today, we are going to look at the ruins of the former park in the 1980s through the camera lens of myself and Paul F. Lynds. We’ll also peek at some of the park’s attractions during its operating years thanks to Rio Ribeiro and Ray & Beverly Simmons.
This is not an opinion piece. Not a commentary. You’re free to feel how you feel.
Above is Rio’s photo of the Comet Junior. Installed in 1965 by Ed Leis, it was a scaled down version of the coaster of the same name that he built at Crescent Park with Jack Baker in 1928.
Here’s my photo of the Comet Junior in April 1980.
And here’s Paul F. Lynds’ photo of the remains of the Comet Jr.’s train in 1986.
Here’s Rio’s photo of the Skooters in 1969.
Here’s my April 1980 photo.
The Skyrider was installed in 1965 on the wave of the excitement generated by the 1964/65 World’s Fair. Here’s a Ray and Bev Simmons photo of it, shot when the park was operating.
Here’s Paul’s 1986 photo of the Skyrider’s remains.
We see a frame grab by Donna Gagne of the Turtle kiddie ride in operation below.
Followed by Paul’s 1986 photo of the ride’s remains.
Here’s me in the kiddie Boat Carousel in 1957.
And Paul’s shot of it, nearly 30 years later.
When the Westward Ho was introduced to the midway in 1962, it was wildly popular. Kids of all ages took to the concrete “turnpike” aboard the ever-popular Streco Turnpike Cruisers – Strecos were the rage in parks throughout the nation. Here’s Crescent’s in operation thanks to Ray and Bev Simmons.
Now, take a gander at the remains of the Westward turnpike in Paul’s photos. This road is definitely closed.
Crescent Park’s Iron Horse railway was a big draw when it debuted in 1963.
During the off-season, the park staff created some displays for the ride, and purchased a dragon from the world-famous dark ride designer Bill Tracy. The dragon was placed in a cave, built by the park staff using the lumber from the closed Zephyr coaster. The beast poked its torso in and out of a waterfall.
In April 1980, no magic could save this dragon as seen in my photo below.
And six years later, Paul captured what was left of the dragon’s lair.
Here’s my photo to the entrance to Kiddieland in April 1980.
And here’s Paul’s in 1986, showing how housing had annexed the former midway.
We’ll leave you with a bit of redemption. Things weren’t looking good for the circa 1895 Looff Carousel in April 1980. It appeared to me as if they threw every bit of debris at it but the kitchen sink. Oh, wait…
Upon entering the building, I found the animals in deplorable condition.
Without me going into detail, we all know that the carousel story had a happy ending. Below is a photo I took last year from the same angle.
We hope you enjoyed this evening’s little presentation. Perhaps you’re basking in the glow or drying a tear. At the very least, maybe you learned a little something and are thankful for the camera and those who take the time to use it — regardless of the imagery captured.
Additional photo credits: