15 Comments

Your story brings back memories.

Everyone is familiar with Elvis' Graceland. His favorite place was Libertyland Park, he bought it out for the day for his family and band. Generations of families enjoyed the rides. Graceland itself was surrounded by cheesy car dealers and eventually crime. The Democrats that ruled Memphis didn't see the potential of keeping up Liberty Land. Or incorporating it into Graceland. Instead of partnering with Graceland and moving the park Elvis loved so much, they sold many rides like the Zippin Rollercoaster. https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FlotXCxgbsfc%2Fmaxresdefault.jpg&f=1&nofb=1&ipt=7616a045d19e474562ff7629a1ef394e2a7ce1c349640758ee87ad7c6a98c940&ipo=images. A big part of the cities history died. It was one of the few wooden rollercoasters left. It did find a new home though. Graceland is the most visited place in Memphis, plain Jane except at Christmas when it was decorated like Elvis had it. Inside and out. There was a huge Creche outside, and a Pink Christmas tree inside.

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Apr 25, 2023Liked by Frederick R Smith

My grandfather worked for PRT/PTC and they held Christmas parties there. Every grand kid got nice Christmas presents. Great memories. Thanks for sharing.

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Howdy John!

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Hi Fred. I hope you're doing well. Okay here.

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Hanging in there. We need to do lunch again!

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That sounds good. Let me know.

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Great post! Loved the nostalgia of it... it brought to mind the old Riverview Amusement park in Chicago when I was a kid. It was a similar type place. The new ones these days have no character like the old ones did!

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Many, many, many years ago I went to Willow Grove. Didn’t know it was turned into a shopping mall but I’m not surprised. Good review of its history.

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Apr 25, 2023Liked by Frederick R Smith

Wow. We went to Willow Grove Park a million times when I was a young’n. We lived in Mt Airy in Philly so Willow Grove was a hop skip and a jump away.

The Thunderbolt

The Scenic Railway

The Alps

The Turnpike

Salt N Pepper

The Wild Mouse

So many great memories

And if we felt like bowling, next to the park was Willow Grove Lanes, home of the largest bowling alley with, if memory serves me correctly, had 100 lanes.

Thanks for your post FRS, a great read with the history of a great place that will always have a warm place in my heart. 👍❤️

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Howdy former neighbor!

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Apr 25, 2023Liked by Frederick R Smith

And a howdy to you too former neighbor!

When I saw your post I did a double take

I thought who here has any idea what Willow Grove Park was?

Your history of the area and park is one to keep

Very well researched and written

And for me, a reawakening of memories of days gone by

Thanks again my friend

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Apr 25, 2023·edited Apr 25, 2023Liked by Frederick R Smith

A great story and history. Sounds like you had a lot of fun there.

Interestingly, in Pittsburgh is an old amusement park called Kennywood. It has a rollercoaster also called "the Thunderbolt". Doing a little research, I found the Thunderbolt you reference was designed by Edward Vettel. The Thunderbolt at Kennywood was designed by Andy Vettel! Apparently that was the family business. Edward moved to Pittsburgh and ran West View Park till he died in 1952. https://rcdb.com/6880.htm West View Park is the park we went to growing up.

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Great addition to the story. Thanks!

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Those were the days. What an interesting read. Reminds me of Elitch Park in Denver; now 130 years and still going. In a sad time of continuous efforts to destroy our history, it's good to read it come back to life. Thanks.

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