What Could Have Been | Hersheypark in 1974

In mid-1973, Hersheypark was facing two issues – the 1973 Oil Crisis and cost overruns from the first two phases of renovations. While the 1973 season would become the first season Hersheypark saw over 1 million visitors, the economic crisis and cost overruns forced park management to reconsider the plans R. Duell had provided to the park.

1972-09-30 Lebanon Daily News (pL10)

Phase 3 was due to be completed in 1974 – initially including a PA Mining Town, Tower Plaza and an Indian Village. The Indian Village concept was pushed from Phase 3 even before the R. Duell plan was completely modified.

When Hersheypark officially modified the R. Duell plan in the fall of 1973, it resulted in the postponement or cancellation of nine rides scheduled to be installed in 1974. Three of those seven were postponed: Twin Turnpike Antiques, Twin Turnpike Sports, and Kissing Tower. In fact, Kissing Tower was already being built and was eventually delivered to Hershey in 1974 – the ride remained in storage for nearly a year before it was constructed for the 1975 season.

The six rides cancelled were Rhine Land Express, Rhine River Boat, Minetown Tram, a Tree House Slide, a Windmill ride, and a Speedramp.

Rhine Land Express (#2202) and Rhine River Boat (#2203) were transport rides that connected Rhineland to two areas of the park. The Rhine Land Express was a re-installation of the Miniature Railroad, which had operated in the park from 1910-1971. Rhine River Boat was a boat ride originally intended to be installed in 1971. Both rides would have had a station in Rhineland, with the river boat taking you to a landing in the Hollow (what was to be themed as New England Coastal Village), and the Express taking you to Minetown.

Minetown was the area surrounding Coal Cracker, and the plan was to place the Twin Turnpike (#5202 & #5203) in that area, with the Kissing Tower (#5205) going in Tower Plaza, where the Penny Arcade was. A Sky Ride station (#5119) was planned for Minetown, which was not cancelled and opened for the 1974 season. A tram ride (#5204) and a tree house slide (#5113) were also planned for Minetown.

1972 circa Hersheypark Ash Tray (Duell) [large]

This glass ashtray primarily depicts the Tower Plaza, Der Deitschplatz, and New England Fishing Village theme areas, as proposed by the R. Duell plan for Hersheypark. This ashtray was sold in the park, circa 1972.

In the Animal Garden area, Trailblazer (#5206) was planned to be constructed – which it was for the 1974 season. However, it had initially been planned to be part of an Indian Village themed area. In the end, Trailblazer ended up not being part of any theme area until 1985. A windmill kiddie ride (#5606) was planned in the area (this was a kind of kiddie Ferris wheel). Hersheypark had been set up to purchase a Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company Speedramp (#5207). This was intended to connect the Animal Garden to the area where Cuddle Up and Whip were, as well as the proposed Tower Plaza.

A variety of structures were planned to be built, and the Penny Arcade wasn’t slated for removal, but renovation (the renovation was logged as #5124) to fit in with the Kissing Tower and Tower Plaza theme. A remodel of the arcade was intended, as well as a wholly updated restaurant, with a waterfall built underneath the restaurant. An ice cream parlor (#5302), juice bar (#2303) and a grill (#5305) were also intended. The proposed renovations to the Penny Arcade were valued over $1.1 million dollars.

A new structure was intended for the Animal Garden – an Animal Amphitheatre, where shows with animals would be held.

When the R. Duell plan was modified, the Minetown and New England Coastal Village theme areas were indefinitely postponed. Minetown was eventually incorporated into the park in 1990. The New England Coastal Village concept was never revived. Tower Plaza was added to the park in 1975. Rhineland only received one ride – Sky Ride. Beyond that no rides were ever installed in Rhineland, and Rhineland had no rides after Sky Ride was removed from the park after the 1991 season.

One thought on “What Could Have Been | Hersheypark in 1974

  1. Pingback: 1978 Hersheypark renovation | The Amusement Parkives

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