Friday, July 5, 2019

Some Cool Kennywood History

Let's take a quick walk around Kennywood and learn some history of the park in the process!
 Kennywood opened in 1899, and although this area, "Lost Kennywood," looks old, it was actually built in 1995 on the site of an old parking lot. Lost Kennywood was made to pay tribute to early amusement parks across the country, and when opened, had vintage rides semi-appropriate to a turn-of-the-century park.
 This is the Thunderbolt, opened in 1968. This section of track was added that year; however, the ride also has a wicked section of track that travels through a ravine that can't be seen in this picture. The track in the ravine is actually from the 1924 wooden coaster Pippin (named after a type of apple). When Kennywood wanted to drum up some attention in the 1960s, they simply added some extra track to one of their old wooden rides and got a masterpiece as a result. It was even named the "King of the Coasters" by a New York Times writer in the 1970s.
 Noah's Ark, a funhouse that is the last of its kind in the word, opened in 1936 - the same year of a major flood in Pittsburgh! Here's a picture of it... a coincidence, or a biblical event?! Inside are various dioramas with animals and some visual tricks. England had an ark that closed about 10 years ago, making this the lone one left.
Image result for pittsburgh st patrick's day flood
Photo - Heinz History Center
This animated neon display is above the entrance to Auto Race, another 1930s ride that is the last of its kind. It's almost like the Turnpike-style rides that would become popular 20 years later but with a wooden track that locks the cars on a set path.
Ironically, Kennywood had a Turnpike ride from the 1960s, but it was removed to make way for a roller coaster a decade ago!
Auto Race


K. Martinez said...

The animated neon display above the Auto Race is super cool! I love vintage signage from the older amusement parks.

When it comes to great old wooden roller coasters and amusement parks, I think Pennsylvania ranks at the top.

Nice history lesson on Kennywood. Thanks, Penna.

Melissa said...

I've sometimes wondered if the designers of Disneyland's Storybook Land were inspired by older Noah's ark attractions when they made the entrance through a whale's mouth.

there used to be a car wash in Niagara falls when I was growing up, where you drove your car into the mouth of a giant whale. It was super cool.

Andrew said...

I never considered that! It's totally possible, though. I don't know if you know, but Kennywood's whale was actually removed for 20 years before being recreated in 2016 due to popular demand.

Andrew said...

Kennywood's super-rare Tumble Bug, called Turtle, also has a nice neon display.

Pennsylvania has about 20 wooden coasters. Don't quote me on this, but I think the state with the next most, Ohio, has 8.

Thanks for reading and for all the nice comments.