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Like many beach resorts there were numerous Amusement Parks throughout their history. Same area..maybe a different owner..different name...along the Boardwalk, etc. I will document with a few different names upcoming. Pirates Fun Park was the last one which was replaced by Condo's in 2004. Prior minor ones Shaween's Fun Park and Nat's Funspot...Joe's Playground still exists but I think it is just a 'game arcade' of which in older days there must have been almost 'endless ones'....


Salisbury Beach has a rich history as a resort town, catering to vacationing families for over a century. As big name stars like Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong entertained the adults, amusements and attractions lined the boardwalk to occupy the young. From the first bumper car ride to the last Pirate dark ride in New England, Salisbury Beach will live forever in the history of the amusement industry.

"The Broadway Flying Horses" carousel was one of the first historical amusement rides on Salisbury Beach. The carousel was hand-carved by master builder Charles I.D. Loof who had created the first carousel at Coney Island. The Flying Horses carousel was made in the Coney Island style with elaborate and ornate carvings. The carousel was in service at the beach from 1889 to 1907 and was later sold to San Diego.

One of the most prolific roller coaster designers of all time was John Miller who was said to design more coasters in one year than most designers would in a lifetime. His coasters were found all over the world and his wooden Sky Rocket roller coaster thrilled young and old alike for years on Salisbury Beach. Two later coasters installed at Salisbury Beach were also world famous in their day. Both the Wildcat from the 20's and the Comet from the 40's delighted coaster fans next to the boardwalk. The Wildcat was the last one to go when it was razed in 1976.

Probably the most notable event for the resort in terms of amusement history was the Dodgem ride installed in 1920. Seeing how enthralled Americans were by the new motor cars, Max Stoehrer came up with a unique idea to provide the feeling of driving to the average person. He invented a small round two-person car to be run by electricity in an enclosed area.

He called the invention the Dodgem because he envisioned people trying to avoid other cars while attempting to direct the deliberately hard-to-steer vehicle. Little did he know that they would have a lot more fun by running into each other! The bumper car ride was born. The original installation at the corner of Driftway and Ocean Front North was in operation for over 50 years. The Stoehrer family finally closed the ride in 1975, long after they had sold the original Dodgem company.

Dark rides, so called for their haunted surprises while riding through a dark enclosed space, have come in many forms over the years. Pirate themed dark rides were unique to New England perhaps stemming from the north Atlantic whaling traditions. The Pirate's Den in Pirate's Fun Park on Salisbury Beach was the last pirate themed dark ride in New England and enthusiasts were disappointed at it's demise in 1999. The Pirate's Den was replaced with another dark ride called Kastle Frankenstein which was to be the last dark ride found in Massachusetts. Sadly, this ride too was lost when Pirate's Fun Park was demolished in 2004 to make way for condominiums.

These are just a few highlights of the many amusements and attractions found at Salisbury Beach. While now long gone, these and many more will live on in the annals of amusement history. Salisbury Beach may no longer be a world famous resort town but it's rich legacy will live on forever.



CREDITS: Tina Golden, Salisbury, Massachusetts


...An indoor roller coaster type ride was attracting business in the late 1880's...Around 1907 a Looff manufactured merry-go-round began operating along with a roller coaster and several other amusements. By the 1920's the amusement area was in full swing. Beautiful hand carved wooden horses pranced about to stirring band organ music on two carousels,along with a whip,old mill water ride,Dodgem cars,aeroplane swings,frolic and the big Sky Rocket roller coaster. Bath houses,bowling alleys and three dance houses rounded out the major attractions.

--roller coaster... Philadelphia Toboggan Company coaster in 1927....

Fire destroyed the Dodgem Building and did extensive damage to the coaster in 1948. After both were repaired,a long flashboard,was fronted by red neon "Coaster and Dodgem' signs. The coaster was razed in 1974 and the Dodgems in 1975.

Ironically,a competitors ride,The Lusse Skooter, was installed in place of a Ferris Wheel during the mid-1950's on Ocean Avenue South, but at the end of the season,the unsuccesful venture was sold and the Ferris Wheel returned the next year.



Credits: Much of above from: A Century of Fun, New England Amusement Parks, Bob Goldsack, Nashua, New Hampshire.