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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Kennywood's Lost Jack Rabbit Neon

This picture, taken late in the season, shows the problems some of the neon has been experiencing.
Classic neon lighting adds invaluable old-school charm to any amusement park, but many of these cool old details have been lost over time. This year, Kennywood removed the aging neon stars and outline lighting on the station of their 1920 Jack Rabbit roller coaster. This neon likely dated to the 1950s.
All is not lost, as the stars have been replaced with similar LED versions, but it's a shame the park didn't see value in keeping this around.  One cool thing about the new lights is that their colors can be changed based on special events the park is having. (Christmas, etc.)
There's still some other nice neon at Kennywood, though: right across the way is the astounding Midway refreshment stand with wonderful lighting, and the red rabbit on the coaster's facade is still genuine neon. But it's a shame that we'll never be able to truly take in this vista again:

9 comments:

TokyoMagic! said...

Wow, that last shot is beautiful with all of that neon! So did they replace the neon lighting around the edge of the station with LED lighting, as well?

Major Pepperidge said...

LEDs are better than nothing, but it's a shame that the vintage neon is gone. I guess it would have been too expensive to replace? I know little about neon, but I always wondered if it would be possible to just "patch" broken glass tubes and put in new gas. Probably not.

Melissa said...

I wondered if that was real neon or not! I guess now it's yes and no.

Andrew said...

Yep. Some people have nicknamed this area "Broadway" because of all the lights.

Andrew said...

I have a limited understanding too, but certain stars have been replaced over the years. And if you look at the picture of the stand with "Refreshments" in neon that I posted, you can see that a lot of the sections are different colors, so parts can be replaced, at least.

Andrew said...

I'm not upset too much over their removal, as they certainly didn't have the charm that old neon in COLOR has.

Andrew said...

If that isn't clear, the neon around the edge has been replaced.

K. Martinez said...

When I think of Kennywood icons, besides the yellow-and-black Kennywood Arrow it's the neon rabbit, star and crescent moon of the Jack Rabbit that comes to mind the most. I love that iconic image. Glad to hear the red rabbit is still neon too.

Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew said...

Fun fact - the moon and star date back a long time in Kennywood, probably to the 1940s, when they were on the roof of a refreshment stand. After that, they were affixed to the structure of the park's wooden kiddie coaster. When that ride closed, the star and moon moved to the Jack Rabbit fa├žade. A perfect example of how Kennywood never throws anything away!