June 9, 2010

still standing

Last year while in Berlin I went in search of the ruins of SpreePark, an old amusement park that had been the only continuously running amusement park in the GDR since 1969 until falling victim to shady ownership after reunification. The remains of the park still remain, and while I didn't have the balls to hop the fence and wander through them (I could only imagine trying to explain myself in a language that I don't speak), I was able to get a pretty good view of the park just by walking the fenced perimeter. I caught a post on Twitter yesterday that linked to an article on NileGuide.com highlighting Eight similar parks in America, whose remains are still standing. Most notable of the ones highlighted are Six Flags New Orleans and Glen Echo Park near DC. Glen Echo's art deco features are amazing, and parts of the park are actually still open under the stewardship of the National Parks Service. The comments to the post also reveal additional info about the parks listed as well as other dormant but still-remaining parks, including River Country USA, a Disney Park that still remains closed and dormant in the middle of Walt Disney World. You can check out my pics from Spreepark in Berlin in the second link below.
  • NileGuide: 8 Abandoned American Theme Parks
  • jbd blog 09.11.09: silent (Spreepark in Berlin)

    Jim said...

    What a shame to see old-fashioned amusement parks decay and go away. To a certain degree, they too are a part of America's history. Unfortunately, most people don't care about that too much.

    I always wondered what happened to the Lake Dolores park in Newberry Springs, CA. every time we pass it when we drive to L.A. from Vegas. I remember when it was still open and driving by on the I-15 freeway one could see lots of people waiting in line for the water slides. The pools and the slides looked like fun. Especially when it was 110 degrees out.

    Mike Raff said...

    I spent many happy hours at Glen Echo in MD as a kid. I loved the bumper cars especially and I might have even learned to swim in the Crystal Pool. (I believe I there was a scary indoor ride that I rode with my eyes closed and later lied about.)

    I worked there many years later, after the National Park Service took over, building sets for the resident children's theater group, Adventure Theater. It's current incarnation, with it's emphasis on the arts and education is really much more in line with its origins as a Chatauqua Assembly than its incarnation as an amusement park. http://www.glenechopark.org/history.htm

    The beautiful carousel still operates, with its hand-carved animals and the Mighty Wurlitzer organ playing in the background. I actually have an album of the Wurlitzer's music on vinyl somewhere.

    It's still well worth visiting--especially if you've never had the pleasure of seeing a 5 year old riding a real merry-go-round!