Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Vintage Dorney Park Postcards

It's time for another batch of vintage amusement park postcards from the collection of Ken Martinez! It's for Dorney Park - a place I am completely unfamiliar with. Here's Ken:

Dorney Park before Cedar Fair

Today we visit another wonderful Pennsylvania park.  This was Dorney Park before it became known as “Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom” and before Cedar Fair took over and Snoopy moved in.  The park can trace its history as far back as 1860 when it was known as Dorney’s Park.  Like many of the other traditional parks of the day it became a trolley park (end-point destination to encourage riders to utilize the entire trolley system).   It eventually grew into a full-fledged amusement park and has now become a modern theme/amusement park owned by Cedar Fair.

I love the colorful central support tower from what appears to be a very early midway attraction.  There are many photo images of attractions like this.   It definitely served as the inspiration for Disney California Adventure’s “Golden Zephyr”.  This shot was taken from atop the lift-hill of the park’s wooden roller coaster.  Note the Mill Chute ride similar to Hershey Park’s “Lost River”.

Here we have a PTC coaster train climbing the lift hill of the park’s wooden roller coaster simply known as “Coaster” from 1924 to 1988.  It is now known as “Thunderhawk”.  Originally an out-and-back coaster, it was modified in 1930 into a figure-eight coaster.  It’s great to see that there are still several of these golden age roller coasters that have still survived into the 21st century.

Featured here in this postcard image is a coaster train plummeting down a drop.  I’m not sure if it’s the first drop but it’s still a wonderful shot.  I love the old style PTC trains here.  These three postcards are some of my favorites as they capture that old-time feel of the traditional parks in the eastern U.S. at the time.  Today, the coaster is now dwarfed by the modern “Steel Force” coaster towering 200 feet over the 80 foot tall classic wood coaster.

Hope you enjoyed your vintage visit to Dorney Park!  Stay tuned for more.

Information Source material: 
The Great American Amusement Park copyright 1976 by Gary Kyrazi
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
Roller Coaster Database

Dorney Park, huh. I should have known this place. I love the classic look of the grounds and rides! Thank you as always to Ken Martinez.


Patrick Devlin said...

Thanks so much, Ken, for the photos and commentary. I do so love them water rides! Water, water, everywhere... This a great look back with a charming feel.

Anonymous said...

I never imagined so many amusement parks across the country. Thanks Ken and Major for all the fascinating info and pictures. They really put Disneyland in perspective for me, as well as being fun on their own. The posts in this series and those of other contributors could make a nice little monograph book.


Nanook said...


Thanks for sharing more great images. I've been to Dorney Park several times, and seeing these images reminds of the fun I had there.

K. Martinez said...

Patrick, water and water rides make the park for me. There's just something about it that adds greatly to the experience.

JG, I think because of my love for Disneyland, my interests branched out to all the traditional amusement parks and theme parks. It's a passion that never subsided.

Nanook, I figured you had been to Dorney park. How can one pass up a classic coaster?

All, glad you enjoyed these. More to come!

Nancy said...

Another beautiful park here in Penna. Hope someday to see it for myself.

I admit that I am partial to the first view with the wonderful airships. We had this ride at Kennywood when I was growing up. Unfortunately it is long gone. :( I notice that the ships seem higher off the ground than ours went. Does anyone know if the middle section rose once the ride started (like swings do) or is it just one of those optical illusions that I think they are farther off the ground?

Thanks to Ken and the Major for these great views!!!

Anonymous said...

@Ken, I'm glad that happened, and glad you are sharing your memories. It's very cool to read. Thank you.