Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Funland Park Mystery! Nantucket - 1950's

Doesn't "The Funland Park Mystery!" sound like the title of a "Scooby Doo" episode?

I love today's photos, even though there isn't much that I can tell you about them. Dating from the mid-1950's, each slide was labeled "Funland Park, Nantucket". And sure enough, that's what the place is called. But I can't find any mention of this park at all! There are other Funland's, but none on the island of Nantucket according to the internets. Perhaps a reader out there knows something?

In this first great photo, it appears to be the off-season in Nantucket. It just looks cold, doesn't it? Still, a few brave souls (and their neat cars) can't resist a day by the sea. Maybe they'll find some choice shells along the shore. There's Funland in the distance...

... and here we are a bit closer now. "Funland Park - Streamlined Rides". I'm sure that on a warm July day this same road was packed with people and cars and fun. Everyone had an ice cream cone or cotton candy, or a paper cup with fried clams (we used to buy those in Martha's Vineyard!). Perhaps there would be a fireworks show on the 4th, when families would show up in droves with blankets and picnic dinners.

It sure looks desolate; I wonder if the place was already out of business? That Ferris Wheel is missing some gondolas. In any case, I think that the thing I love about these photos is the way they evoke the America of the past that has vanished forever.


Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Shaggy, Fred, Velma, Daphne & Scooby need to solve the Mystery of why this place looks abandoned...

The Riviera Room looks really cool! Great photos Major, I like these too!

Matterhorn1959 said...

Great photographs. Wish I could add more. I know when I was in New England on a vacation I saw a couple of different small parks I had not heard about. One of the best is a small park outside of Salem, Massachusetts.

Connie Moreno said...

SWEET photos!

Andrew said...

Major, I love these mystery posts! It appears Funland Park was at Nantasket Beach, Mass.

Here is a series of postcards showing the park and beach.

Andrew said...

Major, the more I find about this, it seems the roller coaster and ferris wheel were part of an amusement park called Paragon Park at Nantasket Beach. And the Paragon Park Carousel is still there and preserved!

Does this seem to jive with the info you have on these photos?

Major Pepperidge said...

Andrew, it is clear that the postcard is the same place! Good for you... I looked for "funland" and "Massachusetts" (and variations) and found nothin'. I'll have to look into Paragon Park, as this is the first I've heard of it.

Thanks for your help!

Katella Gate said...

Judging by the lumpy cars, it's the real early 50s. WW2 killed off a lot of tourist spots here in east Tennessee, and after the war the business never came back. Assuming this is not the off-season, could this be the case?

It must be feeling some kind of pinch, the sign out front advertises for "Streamlined Rides". "Streamlined" being a bunko advertising word from the 40's that used to make people's hearts flutter like "space-age" in the 50s and "organic" does today.

Major Pepperidge said...

You make some good points, Katella Gate... "streamlined" does seem like a very 1940's (or even 1930's) word.

Andrew, I've only been able to do a little research into Paragon Park, and I think it might actually be a different place. There are photos on Wikipedia that look quite different from Funland. I'll keep reading!

Major Pepperidge said...

OK, now I'm thinking that this WAS the same place as "Paragon Park"! I looked at some postcards for sale on ebay, and some of them show what looks exactly like the "Riviera Room" across from PP. Why the different name, since Paragon Park didn't close until 1984?

You can see a roller coaster in the first photo that also resembles the one at PP.

Viewliner Ltd. said...

More great Americana. Keep it coming Major! Fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Katella Gate: Or "sustainable" too.

Eerie pics, Major, thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

Mystery Solved !!

You've mistaken "Nantucket" which is an island off of Cape Cod in Massachusetts with "Nantakset" which is the name of a beach in Hull, Ma.

Paragon Park was the name of the amusement park that closed in 1984. The park didn't own all of the land on the street so independently owned arcades were built to cash in on the park's popularity.

Funland Park wasn't really a park but a building with arcade games and other diversions. Take a look at the postcard link in one of the earlier posts and you'll see that Funland is just a building; the amusement park is behind it.

The building with the Riviera room is the Hotel Nantasket which was torn down sometime in the 40's or 50's.

The ferris wheel must have been taken down in the 50's. Paragon park hasn't had one since at least the mid 60's

The reason it's so desolate is that it's a beach town and no one goes there in the winter.

Some of the things have changed but not really that much. There are condos where the roller coaster used to be but with a few vintage cars, you could almost reproduce that top photo today!

Great pictues !! Thanks for posting them

Major Pepperidge said...

Hello Anon, thanks for all your info! The slides were labeled "Nantucket", so the mistake didn't originate with me. I swear! If you read some of the older comments, you'll see that some other smart folks (like you!) figured out that it must be Paragon Park. That's one of the things I love about posting these "mystery slides" - I get to learn a lot!

Paragon Park memories said...

Awesome photographs! As others have already stated, these are indeed taken at nantaske Beach in Hull, MA. Paragon Park was the placew to be from the early 1920's up until 1984 when the park closed and was broken apart, with rides and parts sold at auction. All that remains today are a very few snack bars, one arcade and luckily, the grand Paragon Carousel, which is still in operation, celebrating its 83rd season this year.
For more information, stories and photos on Paragon Park, check out