Big Dipper at Aloha Park | 1922 – 1925

This article is part of a short series on Aloha Park, which was located in the Waikiki section of Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii. This article is about the Church & Prior roller coaster at the park, Big Dipper. 

Aloha Park had one roller coaster, Big Dipper, which was designed by Church & Prior and construction was supervised by Mark Hanna. The cars for the train were delivered to Aloha Park on the vessel Matsonia, on July 18, 1922.

The Honolulu Advertiser, on July 22, 1922 (page 2), said that the Big Dipper would use 226,977 feet of lumber, 34,000 bolts, and 68,000 feet of metal track. The coaster had a 75-foot tall lift hill and had an out-and-back course. The track was 3500 feet long.

1922-09-03 The Honolulu Advertiser (p11)
Big Dipper was christened by the wife of Aloha Park’s general manager W.A. Cory. From The Honolulu Advertiser, September 3, 1922, on page 11.

After the park closed in 1925, the Big Dipper remained standing but not operating until December 15, 1930. The ride was never up-kept after the park was closed, and it became an “eyesore” as it degraded. Inspectors labeled the roller coaster unsafe for operation, and so the Bank of Hawaii had no interest in selling the roller coaster to anyone who wanted to operate the ride.

Furthermore, the roller coaster’s wood and steel was more valuable than the ride itself with the Great Depression on. The Bank of Hawaii finally sold Big Dipper on December 15, 1930, to a local Chinese man who was going to use the wood and metal to build a home in the country. Big Dipper sold for $350 ($5,362 in 2017 US Dollars).

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