Thursday, August 13, 2015
I am proud to present another "special guest post" today, courtesy of Ken Martinez, and his collection of vintage amusement park postcards. As usual, Ken has provided the commentary! Let's get to it:
Pontchartrain Beach - New Orleans, Louisiana
In this set of postcards today are images featuring Pontchartrain Beach amusement park in New Orleans. The park was located on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain at Elysian Fields and Lakeshore Drive. What I like about the cards are the classic flat rides and color mix of architecture on the midway. These are most likely from the 1960's or 70's as several of the flat rides shown here weren't introduced on U.S. midways until the mid-1960's and the standard chrome era for postcards seemed prevalent from the 1950's to the 1970's.
It looks like a busy summer day as fun seekers frolic on the midway. At center is a "Porky the Paper Eater" novelty trash bin which employed a vacuum suction device and a tape recorded vocal appeal to be "fed". Beyond the concessions to the left are two of the hills of the "Zephyr" wooden roller coaster designed by Edward A. Vettel.
The midway flat rides on view in this postcard from closest to furthest are: the entrance to "The Bug", a Harry Traver "Tumble Bug" ride, a Frank Hrubetz "Round-Up" ride called "Space Whirl" and a Chance "Trabant". The letter "G" on the "B-U-G" marquee recalls to mind a certain video game character from the 1980's.
The eerie two-level dark ride "The Haunted House" with its weathered façade consisting of shingle roof, worn clapboard siding, ghoulish characters in windows and huge skull peering down at guests was one of several "fun houses" that existed during the park's history. Not the colorful kiosk to the left.
Here we have the "Around the World in 18 Holes" miniature golf course. Inscribed on the back of the card: "One of the most novel and picturesque miniature golf courses in the country is this popular attraction at Pontchartrain Beach. Each hole is designed to represent a glamorous foreign land."
I'm not sure what the "Skooter" was, perhaps a bumper car ride, but the facades and signage in this image are another great example of the fanciful architecture found throughout the park. Note another great looking kiosk next to the pal. The beach is to the left.
Featured here are two more classic flat rides: A Frank Hrubetz "Paratrooper" (Hydraulic Arm model) and a Chance "Skydiver" wheel. The "Skydiver" with its rotating "barrel-roll" cage cars was one of those gargantuan flat rides that could be seen from faraway and added dramatically to any park's skyline whether at a county fair midway, or amusement parks like Pontchartrain Beach and Arizona's Legend City.
Pontchartrain Beach closed for good after its 1983 season. Well that's it! I hope you enjoyed your postcard visit to Pontchartrain Beach.
Information source material:
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
Roller Coaster Database www.rcdb.com
The Flat Joint www.flatrides.com
A great big THANK YOU to Ken Martinez, for sharing more from his collection, and for taking the time and effort to research and write about Pontchartrain Beach!