From the people, (me) that brought you Massachusetts Lost Amusement Parks, we now bring you Lost Amusement Parks Of New England! 

Last January, when I read the news of Disney World rebranding Splash Mountain, I became nostalgic for the good ole days of our childhood in New England. 

New England Beaches

Growing up in Wista, that’s Worcester for those who are not from here, we were a Nantasket Beach family. Once the decision was made to head to Nantasket was made, the day before, the Dad beach machinery kicked in:

Giant cooler, check

Ice, check

Subs, check

Drinks, (All sugar) check

Fruit, check

Mom, would handle the kids items, sun screen, and first aid stuff.

I remember starting the process to prep my Dad and Mom to take us to Paragon Park after the beach. But as I discovered in later years, we were a bit too young to mingle with the grown up kids at Paragon.

Massachusetts Alone, Has 43 Lost Amusement Parks

In searching, I couldn’t believe that I found a list of 43 different amusement parks that were once operating in Massachusetts! Yes, there were 43 different local versions of Walt Disney type imagineers, bringing joy to Massachusetts families since the late 1800’s!

Does Pleasure Island in Wakefield ring a bell? How about White City in Worcester? Not to mention Whalom Park in Fitchburg, and of course the lake in Webster with the very long name of Lake Chaubunagungamaug.

With Massachusetts having that many, I got to thinking: there must be MORE abandoned amusement parks. One area I didn’t look into was NORTH. We’ve all heard of Hampton and Old Orchard Beach, and of course, Lake Winnipesaukee. New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine MUST be gold mines of our childhood past.

So, let’s hop on our train to the past, and find those Lost Amusement Parks Of New England! 

Source from Abandoned Amusement Parks. 

  • Auto Rest Part-Bangor Maine

    Image by Getty Images

    Auto Rest Park reportedly operated from 1920 to 1959. It had a ballroom for bands, and lots of rides. It was the only legal zoo in Maine! It had a wild animal show! What happened?

  • Driving Park-Keene, New Hampshire

    Image by Getty Images

    In 1875, the Driving Park in Keene boasted one of the biggest fireworks displays in New Hampshire, viewed by over 7000 people. It was one of the first pyrotechnic displays around here!

     

  • Burgett Park-Dover, New Hampshire

    Funnel

    Image by Getty Images

    Developed in 1890 by a guy named H.W. Burgett. His park had a two story casino and a large banquet hall. This place had everything! A bandstand, carousel, penny arcade, shooting gallery, bear pits, fenced in baseball and other athletic fields, lawn tennis courts and a track for bicycle races. Add to that, vaudeville type shows were presented in a 1,500 seat open air amphitheater, and the dance hall decorated with long wall mirrors. It lasted into the 1920’s.

  • Contoocook River Amusement Park-Concord, New Hampshire

    Image by Getty Images

    Open from 1893 to 1925. Folks would ride the trolley for 25 cents to go swimming, dancing, boating, and ya ready? How about a steamboat ride on the Contoocook River! Today, the river is open to fisherman. But no more park.

  • Benson's Animal Farm-Hudson, New Hampshire

    Image by Getty Images

    This one, we have heard of. I remember it being called “Benson’s WILD Animal Farm.” Believe it or not, an original incarnation began in 1926 and actually had wild animal acts, like  a circus. But after getting lots of money infused, it still didn’t work. In 1987 the name was changed to New England Playworld, but closed shortly after.

  • Camp Comfort-Glastonbury, Vermont

    Image by Getty Images

    A railroad guy had the idea to have a summer resort just under the summit of 3,764 foot Glastonbury, Mountain. He wanted to use his trains to take people there. According to Abandoned Amusement Parks website: a steam power plant was built with two 90 horse power generators, located in Woodford. A casino was built about 4 miles out of Bennington. William M. Freeman put up the wires, and support system. All this was done between May 1895 and July 24 when the first trolley car arrived at Camp Comfort.

  • Pine Island-Manchester, New Hampshire

    Image by Getty Images

    This reportedly started 1908 and closed in 1961 after a bad fire.

    The website says: “The Ingersoll Amusement Company of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania built and operated a ‘figure 8’ roller coaster.” This place had all the makings of a fun carnival.
    Add to that, a restaurant, bath-house, bowling alleys and the main pavilion containing a dance hall, a skating rink and a boathouse were all part of Pine Island!

  • Penobscot Park-Searsport, Maine

    Image by Getty Images

    1906 to 1927

    It seems that many of these parks were offshoots of railroads. Most likely because not everyone had a car in 1906. Penobscot Park was created by the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad. This park had a lot to look forward too. It had a dance pavilion, merry-go-round and restaurant. Dinner, was 50 cents.

  • Peaks Island-Portland, Maine

    After World War II Peaks Island was taken over by the U.S. Army as a coastal defense installation!

    According to the Abandoned Amusement Parks website: the most populated island in the bay, Peaks Island became a popular summer resort in the late 1800’s, with numerous hotels, theaters and amusement parks.

  • Sea Side Park-Old Orchard Pier-Palace Playground-Old Orchard Beach, Maine

    Image by Getty Images

    Starting in 1892, this park lasted into the 1940’s according to reports! It had merry-go-rounds, beautiful piers, dance pavilions. At night it had state of the art lighting for the times and featured popular bands.

    According to the Abandoned Amusement Parks website: “By the 1940’s,millions visited the Maine resort each summer enjoying a ‘Down East Coney Island atmosphere.”

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