Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Six Flags Mid-America - Ken Martinez Post

Oh yeah! It's another post featuring Ken Martinez's collection of vintage amusement park postcards. This is PART 18! 

Here's Ken:

Six Flags Over Mid-America

Six Flags Over Mid-America, later known as Six Flags St. Louis, opened on June 5, 1971. It must've been a busy year for theme park openings, because Walt Disney World and Magic Mountain opened that same year as well. The Missouri theme park was the third and final park Six Flags actually built for themselves. After that they began acquiring them parks to build up their chain of U.S. theme parks instead of building new parks.

Here's the entrance to Six Flags Over Mid-America. The Six Flags that fly over this park are the United States, Missouri, Illinois, Great Britain, Spain, and France.

Miss Kitty's featured a saloon show with down home entertainment. I think it still does. The building is typical of the detail found in the theme parks designed by Randall Duell and Associates. Note the Sky-Way above the Saloon building.

The park had two auto rides, both created and built by Arrow Development. One featured antique autos called "Moon Antique Cars" (Moon Auto Company) and the other one was called "Super Sports Cars" cars seen here featuring modern cars.

The River King Mine Train coaster has an interesting history. It started out as two tracks (seen here) and was a basic Arrow mine train coster. Later in 1984 new "stand-up" trains were added to one of the tracks and proved unsuccessful. Eventually the track returned to the original "sit-down" mine trains. The other track was eventually sold to Dollywood in 1989 which left one single track for the St. Louis park. It's still hanging in there and running today.

Featured here are the twin drops of the "Hoo Hoo" log flume also built by Arrow Development. It was named after the Midwest Lumberman exhibit at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.

Injun Joe's Cave was a dark boat ride in the same vein as the Spelunker's Cave ride in Six Flags Over Texas and the Tales of the Okefenokee/Monster Plantation ride at Six Flags Over Georgia. I'm guessing that's Becky and Tom on the raft.

The Screamin' Eagle was the signature roller coaster for several years at the park and held the record for tallest coaster for a very short period of time. The classic out-and-back wooden roller coaster was designed by John Allen, who was responsible for several wooden coaster classics from the 1970's.

Here's a rare postcard of the short-lived Jet Scream, an Anton Schwarzkopf Looping Star steel coaster. It opened in 1981 and was moved to AstroWorld in 1988. It was indirectly replaced by the Ninja looping coaster.

Well, that's it for the park formerly known as Six Flags Over Mid-America. I hope you enjoyed your visit. Coming down the pipeline: Six Flags' second park, Six Flags Over Georgia.

Information source material:
The Great American Amusement Park, copyright 1976 by Gary Kyriazi
Finland U.S.A., copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
Roller Coaster Database:

THANK YOU very much, Ken! I appreciate all of your time and effort to share these great cards and all of the nice info.


Nanook said...


Thanks for sharing these images, especially so as this park was one I never visited. I see the Jet Scream bears a striking resemblance to The Revolution at Magic Mountain.

Chuck said...

It's really interesting to see the entrance mall without a ride-studded skyline. I first visited in '77 and even then there was the Screamin' Eagle looming over the back end of the park.

I stumbled on an original 1971 map this morning (, and it's interesting to see how the park has changed over the years. Of the original six themed areas, the only one that's retained its original name is Illinois, although a shadow of the original theming lives on in the 1904 World's Fair (Missouri) and Chouteau's Market (France) areas. And, to be honest, even in 1971 some of the theming was a bit of a stretch with Injun Joe's Cave in Spain and Miss Kitty's Saloon in England.

Miss Kitty's is still there and (at least on my last visit in 2014) still serving up live entertainment. The current stage and dining area seems to be smaller than I remember as a kid, but I was smaller then, too. Those trees, however, are definitely bigger today.

I miss the second track on the River King Mine Train. Ride operators would usually try to release both trains at the same time, which gave an effect vaguely similar to The Racer at King's Island.

I remember part of the load building being converted into a disco around 1980, and I recall the southern half of the ride being closed at that time. Maybe it was just closed on the days I visited for maintenance or due to low crowd numbers, but I assumed at the time it had been shut down for good (I was all of 11, so anything that happened in my world was, of course, a permanent change).

Incidentally, the second track has been relocated from Dollywood to Magic Springs and Crystal Falls in Hot Springs, AR, and is still operating today.

Both flumes of the Hoo Hoo (now operating under the incredibly original name of "The Log Flume") are still standing, but I haven't seen the one on the right operate since I started going back to the park in 2010. That doesn't mean it doesn't operate on peak days or days when the lookout in the parking lot confirms I'm not there that day (see comment on 11-year-old Chuck above). I can remember leaning over on the turns with a buddy and trying to flip the logs over. I'm not sure what our plan was if we'd been successful; I'm sure concussions, cranial bleeding, and possible drowning never entered our minds.

Injun Joe's Cave and Spee-Lunkers' Cave at Six Flags Over Texas used a similar ride system and I think identical boats. The very idea of the ride scared the mess out of me so badly that I refused to ride it my first few visits. Once my parents finally got me on it, I enjoyed its cheesiness and was sad to see it go (although the Time Tunnel that replaced it had some pretty cool dinosaurs). Matterhorn1959 posted a few snapshots of the ride interior several years ago (

The ride system survived through several different attractions - Time Tunnel (1979-88), Legends of the Dark Castle (1989-91), Castaway Kids Jungle Adventure (1992-99), and Scooby-Doo! Ghostblasters (2002-14) - but was removed after the 2014 season to make way for Justice League: the Battle For Metropolis. One of the concrete alligators from the original Injun Joe's Cave survived in the load area of Scooby-Doo through 2014.

The Screamin' Eagle was my first big coaster and even with a few modifications over the years like banked turns it still packs a thrilling punch. The front of one of the original trains has been converted to a photo-op spot out in front of one of the shops.

Ken, thanks for today's post and another trip down Memory Lane!

Patrick Devlin said...

The shots of the Hoo Hoo and the River King Mine Train and Chuck's remark regarding dispatch timing puts me in mind of "racer" coasters in general. My experience is limited to the original Colossus and the Matterhorn Bobsleds, but it's always been a disappointment how seldom the crew (and I'm thinking of just the Matterhorn here) dispatches the sleds to show off that terrific effect. I can't remember the ideal dispatch interval (maybe the A side a few seconds earlier?) but I always hope and pray for it to occur.

K. Martinez said...

@Nanook, I think the Jet Scream was a quick cheap remedy to Six Flags' only other park without a looping coaster (at that time). After that it was replaced with another previously used looping coaster Ninja.

Chuck, I was thinking about you when putting this article together. I remember reading about your recent visit to Six Flags St. Louis (Mid-America) and of your other visits there. Again, thanks for all the additional information and as always it's a joy reading about young Chuck's adventures in theme park land. It adds a lot to these posts.

K. Martinez said...

Patrick Devlin, just missed your post there. I'm always disappointed when the racing/dueling coasters are not dispatched as they were intended. It seems like the parks would do it for a while then drop it. These coasters were designed and created with the two trains interaction in mind.

Dan Heaton said...

Incredible photos! I live in St. Louis and went to Mid-America in the '80s. I didn't see some of the earliest rides (the other cars or Injun Joe ride), but I did see the Jet Scream and Mine Train. I feel like the park is really missing some of the charm that it once had.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, I really enjoy seeing your vintage images of the various parks across the country, but it always makes me wish I had had a chance to visit them before the destruction began. I would have loved to have experienced a non-Disney dark ride such as Injun Joe's Cave.

Anonymous said...

This is fun stuff, thank you Ken and Major.

Years ago, I lived in far northern California in a lumber town. There was a park and a community hall in the little town that were originally established by a lumbermen's fraternal organization. The names: "Hoo Hoo Park" and the "House of Hoo Hoo".

The odd term seems to have been the name of the group somehow >>

According to the article, "Hoo Hoo" was a slang term "...synonymous with the term lumberman". So it's funny and appropriate to see it on a log flume ride.

Had not thought of this in years and years.


K. Martinez said...

Dan Heaton, Like you, I didn't make it to Mid-America until the early 1980's but it still had its charm intact. I think the rapid expansion and acquisition in the 1990's is what diluted the Six Flags company brand and quality.

TokyoMagic!, It's amazing how the industry has changed so much (including Disney). I'm of the opinion that the 1970's were the golden age of the modern U.S. theme parks. After that they started focusing on thrills and less on theme.

JG, It was fun doing the research for this park as I wasn't aware of what Hoo-Hoo meant or that the Moon Auto Ride was named for the Moon Auto Company. I always thought they were strange names for attractions, but now understand the meaning behind them. Glad you enjoyed these.

Gojira said...

Ken and Major -- Thanks for the great images! I've never been to this park, and although different now, I always enjoy these vintage views. Our local amusement park, Knoebels Amusement Resort, had until 1992, a Schwarzkopf roller coaster they called the Jet Star. I believe the coaster still exists in France. On the spot they built The Flying Turns, which is a toboggan type ride where the cars are basically free flying in a wooden channel. Check out Knoebels online it is one of the last parks to feature restored vintage rides. This year is their 90th year in business. Family owned and run. If you folks ever get to PA, it is worth checking out!

K. Martinez said...

Gojira, glad you enjoyed these. You are lucky to have Knoebels Amusement Park nearby with the classic Phoenix and Twister coasters and even the old Golden Nugget Ride from Hunt's Pier. I also hear they have some great eateries there.

walterworld said...

Another great post. Thank you Ken! (and The Major of course)