Ghost Town In The Glen, once a thriving amusement park in Moosic, Pennsylvania, has a rich and storied history spanning over a century. From its humble beginnings as a picnic park to its transformation into a popular amusement park and eventually a wild west-themed attraction, this park has seen it all.
In this article, we will explore the fascinating history of Ghost Town In The Glen Moosic, Pennsylvania, its rise and fall, and the legacy it left behind.
The Origins of Rocky Glen Park
Founding and Early Years
The history of Ghost Town In The Glen Moosic, Pennsylvania began in 1886 when land developer Arthur Frothingham purchased the site for $15 at a tax sale. Initially known as Rocky Glenn, it opened to the public as a picnic park the following year.
In 1901, Frothingham officially formed the Rocky Glen Water Company and intended to create a reservoir to provide water to the Lower Lackawanna Valley. However, it was not until 1904 that the park would see significant transformation.
Transformation into an Amusement Park
In 1904, engineer and entrepreneur Frederick Ingersoll added amusement park rides and concessions to the park. Renamed Rocky Glen Park, it became a local sensation, attracting visitors from all over Pennsylvania.
The park featured a variety of attractions, including rides, arcades, and restaurants. Its popularity continued to grow, and by 1919, Rocky Glen Park was divided into two adjacent parks owned by different entities: the northwestern side owned by Nallin-Jennings Park Company and the southeastern portion owned by Ben Sterling and his wife, operating as Glen Amusement Company.
The Era of Two Parks
The Great Divide
During the mid-1940s, the partners in the park had a falling out, leading to the separation of the park into two adjacent parks separated by a concrete wall. Each park had its own carousel, roller coaster, restaurant, bath-houses on the lake frontage, and bumper cars.
Despite sharing similar names, the ownership and management of the parks were completely separate.
Reunification and Expansion
In 1951, Ben Sterling bought out his competitor, combined the parks, and disposed of duplicate rides. Renamed Sterling’s Rocky Glen Park, it experienced a resurgence in popularity, with new rides and attractions added over the years.
One notable addition was the Million Dollar Coaster, a massive roller coaster built in 1946 by Vernon Keenan of National Amusement Devices. The coaster was 96 feet high and approximately 3,700 feet long.
The Birth of Ghost Town In The Glen
Transition to a Theme Park
In 1970, Ben Sterling sold the park to Atlanta-based entertainment company National Recreation Service. The new owners promptly converted the grounds into a theme park, renaming it Ghost Town In The Glen.
Adopting a western theme, the park featured classic rides as well as new attractions designed to immerse visitors in the wild west experience.
The Roller Coaster Legacy
Throughout its history, Ghost Town In The Glen Moosic Pennsylvania was home to several large roller coasters. Among them were the Figure 8 roller coaster, the Mountain Dips Coaster, the Pippin Coaster, the Jazz Railway, Sterling’s Million Dollar Roller Coaster, and the Jet/Mighty Lightnin’/Comet Coaster.
The last major coaster, the Jet Coaster, was built in 1958 and remained a staple attraction until the park’s closure in 1987.
Struggles and Closure
The Decline of the Park
Despite rebranding, Ghost Town In The Glen struggled to maintain popularity. The park changed hands once again in 1979, becoming New Rocky Glen. The lake became a venue for concerts starting in 1980, but these efforts were not enough to save the park.
Ghost Town In The Glen Moosic Pennsylvania closed for the last time in 1987.
Auction and Dismantling
Following its closure, many of the park’s rides and attractions were sold at auction.
The park’s 1903 vintage Parker carousel was sold for $220,000, while the Antique Cars were purchased by Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, where they operate today.
Failed Attempts to Revive the Park
In the years following its closure, several attempts were made to revive or repurpose the park. For example, the local congregation of Hare Krishna attempted to purchase the park grounds to erect a walled “City of God” on the site.
However, due to public opposition, the sale fell through.
Remnants and Memories
Today, only a few remnants of Ghost Town In The Glen Moosic Pennsylvania remain. The sign to Rocky Glen Park is the only structure still standing, while pieces of the last roller coaster, the Jet Coaster, are visible on the grounds.
For many visitors who once enjoyed the park, memories of thrilling rides, fun times, and the unique atmosphere of Ghost Town In The Glen live on in their hearts.
Interesting Facts about Ghost Town In The Glen Moosic Pennsylvania
- The park was originally spelled Rocky Glenn.
- The park saw at least 42 recorded deaths on its property, including drownings, roller coaster accidents, and electrocutions.
- The park never had a “final day” as it intended to open for the 1988 season but disagreements between the park manager and landowner led to its closure.
- The Swiss Cottage was not the oldest building in the park; that title belonged to the Golden Nugget Casino, which was the original carousel house built in 1904.
Legacy and Impact
Although Ghost Town In The Glen Moosic, Pennsylvania is now closed, its legacy lives on. The park provided generations of families with fond memories and played a significant role in the history of amusement parks in the United States.
Its roller coaster legacy, in particular, had a lasting impact on the amusement industry, with several of its coasters being regarded as legendary attractions of their time.
Visiting the Site Today
For those interested in visiting the Ghost Town In Glen Moosic, Pennsylvania site, it is important to note that the park is now privately owned and not open to the public.
However, the sign to Rocky Glen Park and some remnants of the Jet Coaster can still be seen from a distance.
Similar Attractions in the Area
While Ghost Town In The Glen Moosic, Pennsylvania, may be closed, several amusement parks and attractions are still worth visiting. Knoebels Amusement Resort, located in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, is home to the Antique Cars from Ghost Town In The Glen.
Stricker’s Grove in Ross, Ohio, also features a roller coaster similar to the Jet Coaster called the Tornado.
Ghost Town In The Glen Moosic, Pennsylvania, may be gone, but its rich history and legacy will never be forgotten. Over a century of memories, thrilling rides, and unique attractions have left an indelible mark on the amusement park industry and the hearts of those who once visited.
As we look back on the fascinating journey of Ghost Town In The Glen, we are reminded of the power of nostalgia and the lasting impact a beloved amusement park can have on generations of visitors.