Wednesday, October 03, 2007

More Mystery Park, 1965

Here are some more views of the "mystery park" that I blogged about last week. While it's hard to see, the ocean is visible to the far left. Or could it be another body of water, like the Salton Sea? Nah, my vote goes to the good old Pacific. Meanwhile, check out those awesome cars in the background! Every one of 'em a classic.


This ride is much better than that crummy Autopia at Disneyland! For one thing, look at the sheer variety of vehicles you could choose from. And no noxious gasoline fumes. And....well, I guess that's about it. I still can't decide whether the guy with the mop of red hair is a dutiful, much older brother, or a youthful father. Either way, he is almost always pictured paying lots of attention to the kids.


In this photo I imagine him saying, "Look, it's not that scary, see that girl riding it?". Love the old fashioned, classic Tilt-A-Whirl in the background.


And finally, just because I liked it, here's a fun shot of the ferris wheel. Carrot Top is hard to miss, there he is waaay up high. This reminds me of my first ride on a ferris wheel at a carnival somewhere. It was scary at first, but then I realized that it was actually pretty fun. That other ride in the background might have freaked me out, though!

16 comments:

Matterhorn1959 said...

To my eyes it looks like Redondo Beach. I believe there was a small amusement park there. I could be wrong though....

Peter VINCENT said...

"check out those awesome cars...Every one of 'em a classic"

I like the one with the red hubcaps the boy in the striped shirt is riding.

But does it come with satellite radio?

Regards
P.

Anonymous said...

Three observations from your photos that may help solve the mystery. 1. "South Shore" Pacific on the train. This may refer to a major lake. 2. The desert-native plant (Yucca). 3. The beginnings of a Kmart sign on the store. Maybe Lake Havasu? Or maybe Big Lake in the Phoenix area?

Major Pepperidge said...

You may be right, anon...I have no proof that this is Southern California, but my spidey senses are telling me that it is. "South Shore Pacific" makes me think of...the Pacific! SoCal is full of desert plants, and certainly had its share of K-Marts. Wonder if that road to the extreme right in the first photo could be the Pacific Coast Highway...?

Chris Merritt said...

An email has been dispatched to Mr. Hurlbut - stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

Still vote for the beach area of Ventura based on the hills in the background.

Progressland said...

I got it! It was in South Shore Center in Alameda, California. I bought off on the California part pretty easily: the look of the park, the mountains, and the plants. And I agreed that it looked like a body of water... what I couldn't figure out was why there were tall buildings across the water. It would have to be a distinctively curved place in the coastline and I couldn't find a suitable place along the So Cal coast.

So, I took the coward's way out and searched for "South Shore Pacific" at NewspaperArchive.com. The Oakland Tribune turned up with a classified ad from August 1960: "FAMOUS 'South Shore Pacific' miniature train located in play park on beach, have $15,000 invested in train, track and tunnel. Will take best offer for needed cash. See in operation Sunday at South Shore Center, Alameda."

Believable enough, but I wanted image confirmation. Conveniently, there's a "South Shore Center" street in Alameda (though the shopping center has recently been renamed Alameda Town Centre). The center opened in 1958. The play land seems to have been located on the 2100 block of Shoreline Drive and is now occupied by condos built in 1974. For the image confirmation, go to local.live.com and type in "2101 Shoreline Drive, Alameda, CA" as the address. Click "see this location in bird's eye." Then reorient the image to be looking toward the west. Compare with MysteryPark1-1965.jpg. The pink building in the 1965 photo is the bright-roofed one, and the building compound with the pool is the one with the blue walls and white railing.

As to *why* there's a miniature Viewliner in Alameda, I can't answer. :)

Progressland said...

On closer examination, the condos looked like they'd be across the street, with the play land location replaced by the USPS facility.

Chris Merritt said...

Nicely done Jason! Some of you never cease to amaze me...

Major Pepperidge said...

Progressland, you da man! Great detective work. I would have never guessed that this was in Alameda...but your excellent reference leaves no doubt. It's so great just to KNOW what this place is, and of course it is neat to have photos of this now-vanished kiddy park.

Thanks for taking the time and using your brain cells!

Anonymous said...

Wow, great work! And, what's even more exciting - learning about Newspaperarchive.com! Blogging at it's best! Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

If it's in Alameda, my guess is it was built by a fellow named Ray Maker. This guy made several unique (and often crude "park train" creations) at his Oakland shop, including for the Oakland Zoo (based on the GM "Aerotrain"), Kennedy Park in Hayward, and several drive-ins. It definitely has his look...

Mel said...

This was the "Gold Coast" amusement park on Shoreline Drive in Alameda. Active in the mid-60's, it was razed to make room for the Alameda Main Post Office. The park included several rides, including a miniature train and small roller coaster, seen in the background of the kiddy car ride. The park was next to South Shore Shopping Center, and a miniature gold course called "Goofy Golf." A very cool place at a very cool time in Alameda. Thanks for the excellent photos; I have never found anything on Gold Coast Amusement Park on the Net until now.

mel said...

The park was across the street from the beach in Alameda, on the San Francisco Bay. That's Frisco in the background.

AJ said...

The park was open at least until 75/76 as I remember riding the ferris wheel watching fireworks on the 4th of July after my senior yr.

The minature railroad did extend all the way down to where the South Shore Cinemas where located and had a really nice tunnel as well maybe ran until the late 60s-ish.

Lots of sand as South Shore was "fill" built by Utah Construction in the 50s...

Barbara Cooper said...

YES! Can't thank you enough for posting - these are also literally the first photos I've ever found of the old South Shore park (that's what we called it as kids) and I have an Alameda facebook group I'm going to post these to right now - thanks for the awesome memories! :) If you have any more, I'd love to see them!