Carousel of Memories

The Keystone State has been home to 400 amusement parks  –some say that’s more than any other state.   A Carousel of Memories reminisces on six eastern Pennsylvania parks that created […]

The Keystone State has been home to 400 amusement parks  –some say that’s more than any other state.   A Carousel of Memories reminisces on six eastern Pennsylvania parks that created some of the best of times for generations.

Carousel Segment One Lesson Plan Segment One

Carousel Segment Two Lesson Plan Segment Two

Carousel Segment Three Lesson Plan Segment Three

Overview:

Around the 1890s, many transit companies opened peaceful picnic groves with simple rides to increase trolley use.  Those groves developed into exciting amusement parks with patriotic performances by John Philip Sousa; thrilling primitive coasters like the Thunderbolt; and juicy hot dogs for a nickel.  But the growth of motion pictures, television and the automobile changed the way Pennsylvanians amused themselves.  By the mid 20th century many of these once thriving hot spots lost the crowds and eventually closed their gates.

A Carousel of Memories revisits the beloved parks with a mix of old photographs, never- before- seen film and heartfelt interviews.  We’ll revisit the exciting Castle Garden where Big Band acts like Benny Goodman and rock-n-roll stars like Fabian thrilled generations of teens.  Often forgotten, Central Park in Allentown rivaled Dorney with its thrilling wooden coaster, The Skyclone. In  Reading folks flocked to the small Carsonia Park. Life was a Lark at Willow Grove Park  –the once crown jewel of Pennsylvania amusements.  That’s where women competed in beauty pageants for their feet in the twenties and DJ Gene Kaye rocked the midway in the Sixties.  In Easton, the Hay trolley line led locals to Bushkill Park, which still maintains its nostalgic family charm after more than a century. And in the 1940s, the Blanket Gang listened to the whistle of a small train chugging through the exquisite gardens of Bethlehem’s Willow Park.

Whether you visited these parks in person or have heard countless tales of the good times they offered, A Carousel of Memories will leave you yearning for the golden age of Pennsylvania amusement parks.