Thursday, July 11, 2019

West View Park Pt. 1

West View, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, once had an amazing traditional amusement park called West View Park.  It had some memorable wooden roller coasters, classic flat rides, and even a handful of darkrides. West View operated from 1906-1977; I wish it was still open, as I would've been practically able to bike there from where I live! The area where the park was is a very plain-looking shopping center today, but the memory of the place lives on.
What's now a parking lot was once a wonderland of fun...
One of the things that help people remember this amusement park that closed over 40 years ago can be found in this neighborhood diner and deli shop, Isaly's. All along the wall are pictures of the park when it was in its heyday as well as the roughly decade of abandonment it had after its closure.
 One of the things that West View did to try to drum up some attention in its later years was to add an antique car ride, seen here. However, in the end, they realized that they just couldn't compete with parks such as Kennywood and Cedar Point, which were adding million-dollar attractions.
Here's a news story of the park in its final (non-operable) years. Vandals burned some structures down, but early coaster fan clubs still went and checked things out. They even took one last ride on the kiddie coaster by pushing the car to the top of its hill and letting it go!

There's a community center right across the street from here that has some more artifacts of the park. We'll be taking a look at that tomorrow.


K. Martinez said...

When I see a place that was formerly an amusement park I feel kind of sad.

I have the book "Goodbye, West View Park, Goodbye" by Charles J. Jacques Jr. It has a lot of nice photos and text in it. I should probably revisit it. I also have all his other books on Kennywood Park, Hersheypark and Coney Island, Ohio. Your region has so many cool traditional parks.

Was there supposed to be a link to a news story?

Anyway, enjoyed the article and that diner looks like a nice place to eat. Did you ever actually dine there?

Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew said...

I've read Charles Jacques' books many times. They're one of the things that first got me into amusement parks. Since WVP is so close to me, I was predictably fascinated by it. I even got a tape from the library that had old footage from the park. In said tape, it was mentioned that if you went to the old site, you could still... "smell the cotton candy and hear the screams." So at 8 years old, of course I had to try that out. ;) I haven't read the one on Coney Island yet, so I'll have to buy it someday, I guess.

The news story I was referencing was the newspaper clipping on the wall.

The Pennsylvania area used to have dozens of Isaly's, and this is the last one left in a mostly original state. (Isaly's is famous for inventing the Klondike bar.) My dad and I have eaten there lots of times. The food is always hearty and good.

Thanks for reading!