Thursday, June 30, 2016

Vintage Postcards - Kennywood, Part 2

It's time for more of Ken Martinez's collection of vintage postcards - it's back to Kennywood we go! Here's Ken:

More Kennywood Park

It's time for another visit to what's considered to be one of the best, if not the best traditional amusement parks in the United States.

For me, one of the big pluses at an amusement park is water and water attractions. Here the Kennywood Lagoon fills the bill, where you can rent a row boat and leisurely enjoy a trip out onto the lagoon waters. Nowadays you can take a human-powered paddle boat out into the lagoon for an extra fee. So really that hasn't changed that much in all those years.

Now known as the "Olde Kennywood Railroad", this miniature train ride still uses the original locomotives with gasoline-powered engines from when the ride was installed in 1945. The locomotives were from the 1939 New York World's Fair. The passenger cars have changed though. I like all the various little gardens in the park.

Here's another example of the beautiful gardens and trees that are all around Kennywood Park. It's a beautiful setting. That must be a wishing well.

Kenny Kangaroo has been the park's mascot since 1974 and just like Mickey Mouse he has four-fingered hands. Apparently he has been joined by Garfield and Odie recently as costumed characters roaming the park.

The "Merry-go-round", now a National Historic Landmark is considered to be and is often referred to as the "soul" of Kennywood Park. The carousel was built in 1927 by William Dentzel at a cost of $25,000 [note from Major Pepperidge... that's about $350,000 is 2016 dollars!]. Originally built for the 1926 Philadelphia Sesquicentennial, it was not completed on time and so it was bought by Kennywood. According to the Kennywood website it consists of four rows and has 72 animals in all (twenty stationary, fifty jumpers, one lion, one tiger and four chariots).

Added in 1966, the Turnpike operated at Kennywood until 2009 when it was removed for the Skyrocket steel coaster. There is talk of bringing back the Turnpike to another area of the park. Here we have modern gas-powered cars, but in 1987 the cars were switched out for electric antique style autos.

I hope you've enjoyed your vintage visit to beautiful Kennywood Park.

Information Source material:
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko

THANK YOU Ken, for another excellent article!


Nanook said...


If Kennywood isn't everybody's favorite traditional amusement park, it certainly should be.

Thanks, Ken.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

I’ve never heard of it before, unless my mind is drawing a blank from your previous posts. It looks really nice, and you are right, the water adds a lot. Now I just want to go so bad.

Much thanks for your contributions, Ken!

Unknown said...

Great stuff, Ken. Thank you.

I love the train. Those cars are evoking the then new Budd stainless steel fluted streamliner cars. Me likey.

And the Turnpike is terrific. Without the Disneyland style curbs the road looks much more like a drive down a country road.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Oh yeah, I loved that train the most as well. Kind of a 20th Century Limited thing going on there. Apparently VERY limited, but VERY cool nonetheless.

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, I couldn't agree with you more!

Monkey Cage Kurt, Definitely check out Kennywood online. It really is an awesome traditional style amusement park which has still retained much of its charm.

Patrick, there's nothing like a miniature train to complete an amusement park. I too love the fluted streamliner cars and the locomotive. I wish more old style rides like these appeared in the more modern theme parks.

Monkey Cage Kurt, Yes, I was thinking 20th Century Limited too. I have a Postwar Lionel NYC steam loco that looks pretty close to it.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

I concur with Monkey Cage Kurt, I want that train for my backyard!!
Great retro photos. Check out the groove "greg brady/johnny bravo" belt on the wishing well lad. Thanks for sharing.

Nancy said...

My home park!!! Seeing it on this famous blog is like seeing a movie filmed in Pittsburgh on TV. :-)

Kennywood Park is a wonderful place. I havent been there in a few years since my daughter, who is now 26, doesnt want to go much anymore. Im not sure where I went wrong with her lol!!

It still has the beautiful gardens and many trees to offer shade on those hot summer days. I have been going there since about 1972. Before Kennywood, which was on the other side of Pgh from where I grew up, we always went to West View Park (much like Kennywood but smaller, and not quite as many trees and gardens).

I loved the rockets on the island, which were much the same as the Golden Zephyr now at Disney's California Adventure. When they went out, they put the Spider ride there.

The turnpike was a favorite, so mad when they took that one away! loved driving those antique cars!

Thanks for sharing this look at Kennywood. Nothing like riding the Thunderbolt! We have three awesome wooden beauties there. If you ever get a chance to visit, its well worth the trip. :-D

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, what is that large pyramid-shaped building in the first pic? I really need to visit this park! It's nice to know that it still exists. Thank you for sharing more of your collection with us!

K. Martinez said...

Alonzo P Hawk, Good gawd! I'd forgotten about Greg Brady/Johnny Bravo. Some of those Brady Bunch episodes were really something.

Nancy, It's always great to hear from you. You are so lucky to have a park like Kennywood near you. I'm sure your daughter will eventually come back to Kennywood eventually. Glad you enjoyed these.

TokyoMagic!, I will have to look that up and get back to you because I don't really know.

Nancy said...

That building isnt there any longer. It was a dance pavillion, and over the years it housed various attractions. The last one was Ghost Ship, which burned down in 1975. The area you see to the left of that is where Kiddieland is. The dance pavillion area has had various attractions over the years since then and also some eateries are here as well.

TokyoMagic! said...

Thanks for that info, Nancy!

K. Martinez said...

Thanks, Nancy! I appreciate you chiming in with the information. That's one of the things I love about GDB readers. The wealth of knowledge and information shared.