Saturday, August 25, 2007

Life was a lark at...

Roller Coaster
Willow Grove Park!

Today, my Pop-Pop and Grammy went to a place called Willow Grove Park and took me along for the ride. It was a big shopping mall with lots of people, stores, and room to run.

While we wandered through the mall, they told me a story about another Willow Grove Park that was there a long time ago before the mall was built. It was something called an "amusement park" and it was filled with all kinds of fun things for kids to do and ride on. Even though my Pop-Pop and Grammy didn't know each other back then, they both remembered going to the park many-a-summer with their church, family, or friends and having a good time.

After a couple of hours, I was beginning to get tired from all the walking and sight-seeing at the mall. I thought we had seen all there was to see anyway. Just when I was about ready to have one of my fits, we turned a corner, and there it was...a big merry-go-round...right the mall! Of course, I just had to get on it so, me and Pop-Pop went for a ride. After we got off the merry-go-round, Grammy told me that it was built and put in the mall as something called a "symbol" so people would never forget the old Willow Grove amusement park.

I had a nice time at the mall and would like to go back there one day. Here are some pics that we took and a little something extra from Grammy for those of you who still remember that, "Life was a lark at Willow Grove Park!" Grammy, what's a lark???

Willow Grove Park now...

Carousel Entrance

Willow Grove Park then...

Photos: (1) Entrance sign, (2) Sky view of the park, (3) Alps Mountain roller coaster, (4) Thunderbolt rollercoaster, (5) Ground view of the park, (6) Willow Grove Park closing as Six Gun Territory.

Willow Grove Park (Willow Grove, PA): Willow Grove amusement park opened on Memorial Day 1896 and was perhaps the grandest, most elegant of all amusement parks in the United States. Throughout the years, Willow Grove continued to grow but in the late 1950s, urban amusement parks began to fade. The nation’s taste in recreation was changing too rapidly for parks like Willow Grove to survive. After a brief life as "Six Gun Territory" theme park from 1972-1975, it eventually ceased operations and officially closed on April 14, 1976. The park sat vacant for a few years until it was demolished to make way for an elaborate shopping mall. In August 1982, the mall opened bearing the same name as the historical amusement park. The renovation focal point is an exact replica of a carousel ride at the amusement park, which stands at the core of the mall's third level entrance. It has been a delight for thousands of riders who visit the mall.

Update 06-21-12: Check out this video of the amusement park I found on YouTube! :)

Dear Grammy and Pop-Pop,

Hi! I just wanted to tell you that your site is terrific and your grandbaby is simply gorgeous!

I grew up in Glenside and my family's big treat each summer was to pack us all up in the station wagon (8 kids and two parents) and go to Willow Grove Park for the entire evening! We'd stay until closing - I think it was 12 Midnight. Oh, we waited for that night to come each summer, and loved the excursion so. It is a big part of my family's memories, too.

Your website is a great trip down memory lane for me, so I just wanted to thank you....and to tell you again how cute Booga Wooga is! Have a lovely holiday!

Dee Luther
Boston, MA
Hello Dee!

Me and Grammy just wanted to "thank you" for responding to this post. It was good hearing your story and memory about Willow Grove Park too. We have no other way to contact you except by leaving a comment-to-your-comment on this post so, we hope you will stop back by this way again and see it some time soon. If you do, please be sure to let us know. Take care and we hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday too!
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