Friday, August 22, 2014

Memories of Dorney Park's 130 Years - Part 2

Let's continue our look back at some historical photos of Dorney Park, in celebration of its 130th anniversary.

This photo was taken from an old slide, so forgive the fact that only greens came through when reproduced.  The photos the park shared had several aerial views of the park, all of which show alot of interesting detail.

This photo is of the lower section of the park, where guests originally entered the property.  You can still see Dorney Park Road bisecting the park, complete with cars traveling on it.  Not many people remember that there was a miniature golf course located where the Administration building is today, seen in the bottom of the photo.

From the same time period, here is a wider look at the lower part of Dorney Park.  Guests parked in what is now an employee lot, with The Coaster behind it.  You can also take notice of the enormous pool that was located at Dorney Park, which drew thousands of bathers each Summer.  Again, the colors are off here so you're not seeing exactly how the park looked in that aspect.

One more photo from the same time period, this time of The Coaster and its surroundings.  The Mill Chute is at the bottom of the photo, and the pool at the top.  You can actually see folks on the diving boards if you look close!

This photo was taken from a helicopter (you can see part of the foot rail in the photo) a number of years later.  The flight might have been just for promotional shots, or perhaps even during the shooting of Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows.  The famous Whip can be seen, along with original locations of rides like the Paratrooper and a Trabant.  Of course Dorney Park Road can also be seen.

A wider view from the same flight shows of so much of the park, it is hard to narrow down what to point out.  In the far back of the shot is the pool we saw earlier, now divided with the Whale Boats on one half, and Zoorama using the other half.  The left side of the photo shows off more of the park's rides, including the Scrambler, some kiddie rides, and the Carousel building.

The Water Scooters along with the Zephyr Train are the focus of this last aerial photo, though you can also see the dragon on the top of Journey to the Center of the Earth.  The cars on Dorney Park Road had to stop so that visitors could safely cross, and if you look at the larger image you can see the crossing guard out in this photo!  Amazing to think this is how the park used to be, right?  Basically everyone playing the park's 3 Point Challenge today is standing where a busy road once was!

Here's a ground level view of the security officer directing traffic with his "stop" and "go" sign.  That sign and the officer is something that many Lehigh Valley residents remember about the park's history, even before the rides and attractions.

As I mentioned earlier, once the park's large swimming pool was closed, half of it was used for the Whale Boats.  They were simple paddle boats, shaped like whales obviously, but they were cherished by visitors.  Many of them have been sold to collectors around the area, though many were destroyed through the years.

I lied earlier, I do have one more aerial view to share. Here's a nice view of the former swimming pool, with the Whale Boats floating around on half of it.  The other half, on the far right, was home to seals as part of Zoorama.  And interesting mix to say the least, you could ride a boat on the same body of water that was home to a bunch of seals!  Over on the left are more of the animal exhibits that made up Zoorama.

You'll have to click on the larger image to really appreciate this photo - the swimming pool before whales or seals, modified from its original size though still huge.  The grass part in the foreground was filled in pool, allowing more sunbathing space.  The Coaster and the Rocket tower can be seen in the background - the park's famous parking entrance tower as well.  For many years Laser stood on top of a part of the pool, and the park actually hit the original pool foundations when they were digging for Stinger!

The original Dorney Mansion stood in the lower part of the park, and over the years was expanded to include many food locations, an arcade, and more.  It once had a haunted attraction in the basement, called the Gold Mine.  This photo, from the 1970s, shows part of the lower section of the building with food stalls lining the midway.  I believe that the interesting theming was also done by Bill Tracy.

Watch for more photos on this tour back in time next week!

All photos © Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom


John Brooks said...

I am really enjoying the history of Dorney Park as I enjoy the history of any amusement park. Great photos you have within the articles of Dorney Park's earlier years. I can't wait for part 3. Nice job. :-)