Shoot the Chutes at Hersheypark

In The Boardwalk at Hersheypark, the park has a slide complex called Coastline Plunge, and smaller slides as part of the East Coast Waterworks complex. Hersheypark also had another slide complex, initially called Frontier Chute-Out, later named Western Chute-Out.

However, back when Hersheypark had its first pool – located in the Hollow right where the midway in between Comet and Great Bear, and Wave Swinger are at today – that pool also had its own slide – two versions, in fact. Let’s take a look at the Shoot the Chutes at Hersheypark.

Shoot the Chute

Hersheypark installed its first pool in 1908, which was constructed during the 1907 season. The pool was not very large, and it was replaced by a larger pool in 1910. When construction of this new pool was publicized in the Hershey Press (the town’s newspaper), it was noted that there was the intention to install a toboggan slide at the pool. However, nothing is mentioned about the pool having a slide after that point, so more than likely, it was never constructed.

The pool did have a small slide to use, but it was a playground slide attached to the pool. It was next to the small bathhouse, which you can see below. That small bathhouse is approximately located where Comet’s station is today.

1912 circa Hershey Park Pool Hollow

Two scenes in Hersheypark showing the original pool location in the hollow, circa 1912.

Meanwhile, the pool was renovated and enlarged again in 1912. Two years later, a Shoot the Chute slide was announced to be added to the pool – this was mentioned Hershey’s Weekly (Hershey Press was renamed). The slide was designed by James K. Putt and built by the Hershey Improvement Company, which Putt managed.

Hershey Improvement Company was owned by Hershey Chocolate Company and is the forerunner to Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company, owner of Hersheypark. Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company was originally named Hershey Estates, founded in 1927. 

Shoot The Chute (1914) slide was roughly 30 feet tall and had a steep drop down, with a short runout into the pool. People would slide down on mats, and were able to skip off the pool water after one or two hops. The slide itself was a dark color, probably brown.

In 1924, this slide was retired and replaced by a new slide which was taller, longer, and featured a hump. Shoot The Chute (1924) was built by the Hershey Improvement Company and was designed by James K. Putt. This slide was painted a light color, possibly a cream white or just white.

1924-1928 ~ Hershey Park pool 001

You can see the 1924 Shoot the Chute in the background. Unlike the previous version, which was brown, this was painted a lighter color – possibly white. This image is from sometime between 1924 and 1928.

1924-1928 ~ Hershey Park pool 002

You can see the walkway to the top of the slide in this photo. This image is from sometime between 1924 and 1928.

1924-1928 ~ Hershey Park pool 003

Another picture with the Shoot The Chute in the background. This image is from sometime between 1924 and 1928.

1924-1928 ~ Hershey Park pool

A view of the hollow pool from sometime between 1924 and 1928.

The slide was torn down when the pool was closed after the 1928 season. The pool was filled in, with the location of the slide being replaced with a Philadelphia Toboggan Company Mill Chute – which would be in the park until 1972.

Giant Toboggan Slide

When the “old pool” opened in 1929, it did not have a toboggan slide. This was somewhat disappointing to a lot of the people who loved the old Shoot the Chute at the original Hollow pool.

In 1931, by popular demand, Hershey Estates brought back a Shoot the Chute in the form of a Giant Toboggan Slide. This was built in an area away from the main pool, along Spring Creek. The park generally didn’t like having a toboggan slide due to the liability associated with it, which is why they didn’t install a new slide in 1929.

1931-06-28 Harrisburg Sunday Courier (p4)

Advert for Hersheypark featuring the “Giant New Water Toboggan for Bathers,” along with many new features including the new Bike Boats. In Harrisburg Sunday Courier, June 28, 1931, on page 4.

The Giant Toboggan Slide was fairly popular and was even featured on a Curt Teich postcard.

[1932] - 2A826-N - Giant Water Toboggan

Curt Teich-designed Giant Water Toboggan postcard of Hersheypark, #37 in the series.

However, when World War II began, and available employment decreased due to men going to fight in the war, Hersheypark immediately closed the Giant Toboggan Slide and its pool. The slide stood for several years before it was removed. The pool itself was turned into a secondary kiddie pool.

Hershey Park Old Pool Toboggan Pool

You can see where the Toboggan Slide pool was, right along Spring Creek behind and between Hershey Creamery and Hershey Park Ballroom. This map is from circa 1950.

It’s unclear how long the small pool remained, but it was removed sometime before Hershey Park Pool was closed after the 1971 season.


To give some perspective on where everything was located in the Hollow, here is a comparison of three images of the park. Two are from the postcards above, and the third is a picture of Hersheypark from 1974.

1912 ~ 1926 ~ 1974 Hollow


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BBLz

PepsiCo BBLz Logo

Get fizzy with it! On July 4, Hersheypark happily debuted the first permanent location of BBLz™, where mixologists – a.k.a. Bubble Makers –combine unexpected flavor bases, custom-blended foams and sweet garnishes to give guests an immersive and delicious beverage experience. What is BBLz? Every BBLz beverage combines a soft drink from Pepsi-Cola’s portfolio, such as…

via BBLz Launches First Permanent Location at Hersheypark — Sweet Stories From @HersheyPA


BBLz in Hersheypark

On July 4, 2017, a new food vending location opened up in Hersheypark. BBLz (a stylized version of the word bubbles), as explained in an article on Sweet Stores From @HersheyPA (link above), was constructed as an addition to the Overlook Arcade / Restaurant, a substantial change to the building which replaced the old penny arcade pavilion in 1990.

This building is located in Kissing Tower Hill, and BBLz is on the side of the building facing Hershey Triple Tower, which opened earlier in 2017. Hersheypark began teasing the addition of BBLz in April 2017.

BBLz at Hersheypark

A conceptualized drawing of BBLz in Hersheypark. (Note: the background is not consistent with how Hersheypark looks, just BBLz and Overlook.)

BBLz is a brand which was trademarked by PepsiCo on May 30, 2017. The concept was developed by PepsiCo, and is named Pepsi Fizz. Fizz debuted at the 6th Annual World Maker Faire New York, September 26-27, 2015.

BBLz is the first permanent installation of the Pepsi Fizz product. On July 17, 2017, PepsiCo issued a press release about BBLz.

BBLz in Shanghai Disneyland

A second BBLz location was found in Shanghai Disneyland, in China. It’s unclear if it was open prior to Hersheypark’s BBLz opening on July 4. However, this location is smaller than Hersheypark’s and has a simpler menu with only 4 options.

BBLz at Shanghai Disneyland

A drawing of the BBLz stand in Shanghai Disneyland. Unlike the one at Hersheypark, this is one story tall.

One option is themed after one of the Tron rides in Shanghai Disneyland (Tron Lightcycle Power Run). That said, the options are somewhat similar to some of what is offered at Hersheypark’s BBLz, although they use 7UP instead of Mist Twst.


To learn more about BBLz at Hersheypark, read the article I shared at the top of this page!

Dancing Waters | 1973-1974

After the 1972 season, Hersheypark had to figure out what to do with the empty space created by the loss of The Lost River, the park’s Philadelphia Toboggan Company Mill Chute flume ride, which was destroyed in the flood of 1972, which happened in late June of that year.

Park management favored installing an electric fountain, as an homage to the Electric Fountain which was in the Sunken Garden area of the park from 1932 to 1971. The park considered options from several companies, such as Symphonic Fountains based in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Management ultimately decided to go with Dancing Waters, a classic dancing fountain show created by Otto Przystawik.

History

Otto Przystawik, an engineer from Germany, created his first water show in the early 1930s. World War II prevented him from developing the show any further. By the early 1950s, Przystawik teamed up with Hans Hasslach to develop Dancing Waters.

Then, in 1952, Przystawik debuted his new Dancing Waters show at the West German Industrial Exposition. It was said that Przystawik spent $250,000 in developing Dancing Waters in the time between the 1930s and its debut.

Harold Steinman, a well known producer of American shows, was in attendance at the West German Industrial Exposition. Steinman took interest in the show, believing it had potential as an entertainment medium in the United States. Steinman and Przystawik struck a deal for the show to be brought to America.

The show debuted at Radio City Music Hall in January 1953. The show then appeared at the 1953 Philadelphia Music Festival at the city’s Municipal Stadium, on June 12.

1953-05-04 The Philadelphia Inquirer (p25)

Otto Przystawik is on the right in the second photo. From The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 4, 1953, on page 25.

The show became popular in the mid-1950s, with 22 shows having been manufactured for locations in the United States and Europe.

Przystawik went on to develop what he considered his greatest accomplishment, Waltzing Waters at Cape Coral Gardens in Florida, in 1964. His son Gunter operated the show once it opened. At the time it opened, Waltzing Waters was considered the largest fountain in the world. Cape Coral Gardens and Waltzing Waters closed in 1970.

Otto Przystawik died in 1971, two years before Dancing Waters would debut at Hersheypark.

At Hersheypark

Dancing Waters was only in the park for two seasons, 1973 and 1974. It consisted of 4,000 water jets, electric motors, and 33 spot lights. The water show was synchronized with music. The operating console was often compared to an organ. The show ran multiple times a day.

Here are a couple of pictures of Dancing Waters in Hersheypark.

2016-03-03 - 1974-xx-xx Dancing Waters.jpg

PICT0005.JPG

Dancing Waters was removed after the 1974 season, replaced with grass. A year or two later, the space was paved and turned into a midway for guests.

The space where Dancing Waters was is now occupied by Great Bear, which opened in 1998. The show was located just passed Great Bear’s loop, on the straight run between that and the Immelman, a kind of half loop; that’s where Great Bear turns to go back down the Hollow toward sooperdooperLooper.


This post was based on a Throwback Thursday post from March 3, 2016. If you want to read more Throwback Thursday articles about Hersheypark, click here.

Hersheypark in 1971

When Hersheypark opened for the 1971 season on April 18, 1971, things were quite different. The park was gated, and there were five entrances around the park’s perimeter. Even the name of the park was different, as the park went from being named “Hershey Park” as two words, to one word: “Hersheypark.” (I’ll be writing more articles about Hersheypark in 1971 and 1972 in the future.)

One thing Hersheypark did not do this season was produce a map of the park.

As a result, I recently decided to make my own version of a 1971 map of the park. This hypothetical map is based off the map the park produced in 1972. The work that went into making this was pretty intensive, but it was a lot of fun.

The hardest part was definitely putting Miniature Railroad on the map.

Here is my map of Hersheypark, 1971.

1971 Hypothetical Map [FINAL]

This is a hypothetical Hersheypark map of the way the park was in 1971. I made this map based off the 1972 map, which was the first one Hersheypark produced.

Hersheypark Drive improvements

This was a news item I saw in today’s Derry Township (Dauphin County, PA) newsletter.

Improvements at Major Intersection to Begin on April 3rd

Kinsley Sitework has announced that work will begin at the intersection of Hersheypark Drive and Walton Avenue on April 3rd. The work will require lane closures for approximately four weeks. This work is related to a project designed to improve traffic flow and will include pedestrian enhancements.

Bear this construction in mind if you are going to Hersheypark for Springtime In The Park via US Route 322.

This intersection is the first traffic light you’ll come across as you head north toward the park. For those less familiar, notable landmarks you can see at this intersection includes the Cocoa Diner in one shopping center, and a second shopping center on the other side of Hersheypark Drive on top of a hill which includes a Panera Bread and a Five Guys restaurant. There is also a Bob Evans and an Applebee’s across from each other on the north side of the intersection.

HP Drive-Walton intersection [wide]

This is a map of the Hershey area. The light blue arrow on the bottom left points west to Hummelstown and Harrisburg. The red circle to the right of that is highlighting the area of construction – Hersheypark Drive and Walton Avenue. The blue circle at the top right is just to highlight Hersheypark’s location on the map.

HP Drive-Walton intersection

Here is a zoomed in version of the map. You can see Hersheypark Drive and Walton Avenue, as well as the Cocoa Diner and Panera Bread.

Hopefully traffic won’t be too bad, but this project is definitely necessary. During rush hour times, the Hersheypark Drive – Walton Avenue intersection gets very busy. And during the summer, those rush hour times expand for when the park closes and people make their way to the shopping centers there for food.

Hersheypark opens for Springtime in the Park on April 8.


Fun fact: While it is not uncommon for states to have multiple townships with the same name (there are 21 Madison Townships in Ohio, for example), there are two Derry Townships in Pennsylvania. The one mentioned in this article is in Dauphin County while the other Derry Township is located in Westmoreland County. Officially, Derry Township in Dauphin County operates under the name Township of Derry. 

Haunted Harvest | 2004

With various haunted attractions available within close distance of Hershey, Hersheypark didn’t try their hand at having a haunted attraction in Hersheypark. That changed in 2004 when park management decided to have one. This attraction was Haunted Harvest. 


I want to take a moment to thank Roy J. Brashears for his help with this article. His input and images are great to help bring back memories in this one-time event at Hersheypark.

Thanks Roy!


The Legend

In 2004, Hersheypark introduced a new event for Hersheypark In The Dark that was a haunted house walkthrough. Called Haunted Harvest, it featured a haunting storyline and was in the Wildcat and Pioneer Frontier Catering pavilions. Haunted Harvest was produced by Oak Island Productions (today called Oak Island Creative).

2004-haunted-harvest

Haunted Harvest advertisement in the 2004 Hersheypark In The Dark guide.

2004 Haunted Harvest Map

Haunted Harvest on 2004 Hersheypark In The Dark map.

Haunted Harvest was comprised of three haunted zones, Fear House, Scream Acres, and Dread Shed. This was themed after The Legend of Cornelius Fields, a story created for Haunted Harvest.

The event had a fee of $18 per person. Guests could also buy a combination wristband that gave you unlimited rides and entry to Haunted Harvest for $33 per person. Guests had to be at least 16 years of age or older to enter the attraction.

entrance-at-wildcat-catering

The entrance of Haunted Harvest. Photo courtesy of Roy J. Brashears.

Fearhouse image 1 [Roy J. Brashears]

Fear House! Photo courtesy of Roy J. Brashears.

scream-acres

Scream Acres. Photo courtesy of Roy J. Brashears.

Haunted Harvest was open every day of Hersheypark In The Dark that season, with the park being open until 12 a.m. on some days, the latest the park had ever been normally open till. The event would open at 7 p.m. with the rest of the park opening earlier.


This video, produced by Oak Island, gives the backstory to Haunted Harvest
and shows you a walkthrough of the event. 


No return

In April 2005, the park announced in a letter that the Haunted Harvest attraction would not be offered at Hersheypark In The Dark 2005.

The letter, which made its rounds on various online forums at the time, reportedly said:

“Hersheypark has decided not to offer the Haunted Harvest experience in
order to focus on attractions that target our primary audience, the
family.  The Haunted Harvest event was executed flawlessly; the
creativity and work ethic exhibited went beyond expectation and we owe
a great deal of gratitude to you for making the event happen.  We will
certainly miss the opportunity of working with all of you, but we do
hope to see you again at Hersheypark as a guest or as an employee.”

In an interview with Kathleen Daminger of LancasterOnline.com, from October 2010, Hersheypark public relations manager Kathy Burrows said, “The event didn’t go over. It was extremely well done and extremely scary. But that’s not what people want when they come here.”


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TBT #33 | NightLights Laser Show

NightLights was a laser show installed in Midway America before the start of the 2001 season. Guests were able to view the show in the empty grass field in the region, one of the undeveloped spaces remaining after the expansion of Phase 3 and Lightning Racer in Midway America.

The laser show remained in the park until the middle of the summer 2004 season. The screen the show was projected onto was torn beyond repair. The screen was never replaced, the show retired. The park typically had multiple shows during the summer season. A couple of shows were also done during Hersheypark In The Dark and Hersheypark Christmas Candylane, between 2001 and 2003. At the time in 2001, Midway America wasn’t open for either holiday event – this meant this was the first time Midway America was used in any capacity after September / early October.

Midway America rides would begin to open in the 2003 season for Hersheypark In The Dark. Midway America rides wouldn’t open for Christmas Candylane until 2015.

frightlights

FrightLights | A Musical Laser Spooktacular

The NightLights show was created by two companies, Audio Visual Imagineering, Inc., the company that developed the custom laser show for the park, and Apogee Sound International, LLC, who provided the surround sound amplifying equipment, riggings, and control systems for the show.


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Pioneer Frontier Food Court

Constructed in 1985, Pioneer Frontier Food Court has been a focal area in Pioneer Frontier. A number of food places, rides, a performing gazebo, and even a general store have been in the food court. This is a history of this area of the park. 

The Lingle House

In 1913, the first building that is part of Pioneer Frontier Food Court was constructed. The property was sold from Milton S. Hershey to Abraham T. Heilman (Hersheypark’s second general manager) with the deed being transferred on August 23, 1913. The house was constructed shortly thereafter by Hershey Improvement Company.

This house would be sold to Harvey Curry in October 1914. Curry sold the house to Edward Lingle in March 1915 – the house remained in the Lingle family until Millard and Elsie Lingle sold the house to Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company (then called HERCO, Inc.) on May 2, 1980. The property was purchased for $115,000.00 ($335,854.43 adjusted for inflation). The last address this house had (it was split as a duplex) was 71 and 73 West Derry Road.

1980-05-08-71-73-west-derry-road-lingle-millard-to-herco

A copy of the deed for the Lingle house, available in Dauphin County Records Office. This deed was sold to Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company (then called HERCO, Inc.) from Millard and Elsie Lingle in 1980.

Other developments prior to 1985

In 1972, a section of West Derry Road between Park Avenue and Park Boulevard was closed to thru traffic. Another road, Strawberry Lane was eventually closed to thru traffic as well.  There were a handful of houses in this section of Hershey, and it wasn’t until the early 80s when Hersheypark was able to consolidate the lots into one property. In 1980, the first rides north of Derry Road were installed – Cyclops and Pirat. Dry Gulch Railroad was modified for the first time, the station being relocated to make way for a new pathway to connect to Cyclops.

In 1982, CinemaVision was installed further north of Cyclops. At the same time, a new catering area was introduced. Themed after Pirat, it was called Pirat Cove Catering. In 1984, this was renamed Dry Gulch Galley Catering, in part because Dry Gulch Railroad had been expanded and this catering area was now inside the Dry Gulch oval. This was part of the first phase of the Pioneer Frontier expansion in 1984.

CinemaVision 1982

Pirate Cove Catering, in what is Pioneer Frontier Food Court today, in 1982. CinemaVision is the domed building at the top left.

For the 1985 season, Hersheypark planned to add a food court to the area where Dry Gulch Galley Catering was. The plan was to relocate the catering area across from the food court – which it was. Dry Gulch Galley Catering would be relocated one more time, to Trailblazer Hollow in 1991, being renamed Trailblazer Catering, when Sidewinder was installed in the Dry Gulch Galley Catering area.

An expansion study was surveyed by the park in late 1984 to consider options for continuing Pioneer Frontier expansion. Two options were proposed, one which included the installation of several additional rides beyond what was ultimately added to the food court, as well as several extra pavilions to be added to Dry Gulch Galley Catering in 1986. Ultimately the park went with the modified option that made the area a food court.

1985 Expansion Study Pioneer Food Court [proposed]

An expansion study for Hersheypark, filed in late 1984 to the Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Office of Records. Proposed rides called for the two that were relocated to Pioneer Frontier Food Court in 1985 (Wells Cargo and Livery Stables) as well as the addition of three other rides in 1985. Trabant would be relocated to Pioneer Frontier Food Court in 1986, meaning two rides proposed for this area were never installed. This proposal also called for a bandstand to be installed, for the 1985 season, in the spot later developed for Frontier Flyers in 2003.

The rides in Pioneer Frontier Food Court

Two rides were placed in Pioneer Food Court in 1985 – the kiddie Whip named Whipperoo and the Antique Mini-Carrousel were placed in buildings across from each other near the General Store in the back part of the food court. Whipperoo was rethemed Wells Cargo and Antique Mini-Carrousel was rethemed Livery Stables.

1985-pioneer-food-court-large

Pioneer Frontier Food Court on a 1985 map of Hersheypark. The purple circle on the top left represents Wells Cargo and the purple circle in the bottom center represents Livery Stables. (On the map, these small circles represented kiddie rides – the color purple represented all rides. Orange represented retail and yellow represented food stands.)

Wells Cargo was relocated to Dutch Wonderland for the 2003 season and Livery Stables was relocated outside of the food court area in a newly developed area between Dry Gulch Railroad and the old general store building. Frontier Flyers was placed in this area, along with Mini Scrambler.

A third ride was added to the food court in 1986 – Trabant was relocated from its original location adjacent Fender Bender. Trabant was rethemed Rodeo. It was relocated to the former Timber Rattler location when that ride was removed after the 1987 season. Rodeo was later relocated to Dutch Wonderland, in 2009, when The Boardwalk SeaQuel was added.

1988 Pioneer Frontier Food Court

Pioneer Frontier Food Court on a 1988 map of Hersheypark.

With a hole left in the food court for a season, Balloon Flite was relocated to the food court in 1989, when it was relocated from the same spot Trabant had been adjacent Fender Bender. Balloon Flite was eventually placed in storage in 2003, to make way for the launch track for Storm Runner. Balloon Flite was reinstalled in Founder’s Circle in 2005.

1990-pioneer-food-court

Pioneer Frontier Food Court on a 1990 map of Hersheypark.

Sidewinder was installed in 1991, in the location where Dry Gulch Galley Catering had been. Sidewinder is a boomerang rollercoaster manufactured by Vekoma. Sidewinder starts by pulling the train in reverse from the station up a lift hill. The train is then released, going through a cobra roll and then a loop. The train runs up a second lift hill and is then pulled up the hill. The train is released and you go through the ride backwards.

Sidewinder 2013

Sidewinder in 2013. Photo courtesy of Shawn Marie Mann.

Food, Souvenirs, Ephemera

After the house was transferred to Hersheypark management after the purchase of the Lingle house in 1980, it was initially used for storage. When the food court was created, this house was repurposed into Spring Creek General Store.  It was converted into Country Christmas Shop in 1995. In 2000, it became Amtrak Train Garden. In 2002, it was converted into Subway when Subway in Minetown was replaced with a Wok-n-Roll.

Much like there was a bandstand proposed in the 1985 expansion study, a gazebo bandstand was installed in the middle of the seating area in the food court, rather than behind the General Store.

2004-pioneer-food-court

Pioneer Frontier Food Court on a 2004 map of Hersheypark. 

Taco Shell probably was in Hersheypark starting in 1985, when the food court was built. It then appears on park maps beginning in 1987, as the quality of their map and brochure significantly increased from the previous two seasons. Taco Shell, a generic taco stand, would remain in the park through the 1991 season. In 1992, Hersheypark converted the stand into a Taco Bell. In 2004, the Taco Bell branding was removed and a new taco stand replaced it – Tumbleweed’s Tacos. This stand was converted into The Outpost in 2015.

Adjacent to that building was an ice cream stand. It became a Ben & Jerry’s when Ben & Jerry’s became a sponsor in 1990. When that agreement ended, the ice cream stand became a Turkey Hill Creamery. That building was split into two parts, the other half eventually being a coffee place called Latte Tude. It became Panini Express in 2010. In 2015, it was transformed into Pioneer Pete’s, a fruit smoothie stand, which was a relocated food stand that had been next to Mixed Grill.

pioneer-frontier-food-court-shawn-marie-mann

Pioneer Frontier Food Court, in 2016. Photo courtesy of Shawn Marie Mann.

The building that housed Wells Cargo was converted into Wurstburg Grill for the 2003 season; this food stand has been the same since. The building that housed Livery Stables became Mixed Grill in 2003. Mixed Grill was converted into Moe’s Southwest Grill in 2015.

A small building next to Livery Stables housed a glass blower and blacksmith shop, as well as souvenir etchings. This was redeveloped into Pioneer Pete’s, a fruit smoothie stand. This building was torn down when Moe’s was constructed (although it erroneously appears on park maps in 2015 and 2016).

2015-pioneer-food-court-large

Pioneer Frontier Food Court on a 2015 map of Hersheypark.

The building next to that was also part of the blacksmith and glassblowing retailers in the food court. In 1991, it became Sidewinder Sizzler. This was renamed The Whistle Stop in 2003. In 2016, this became the second Chickie’s & Pete’s location in the park. The first location is near The Boardwalk in Midway America.

One other location in the food court is just on the outskirts next to Sidewinder – that is a Dippin’ Dots ice cream stand. This ice cream stand was simply a movable cart (these are placed at various locations around the park).


This was a history of Pioneer Frontier Food Court, which opened in 1985 and continues to exist to this day inside Hersheypark. If you are interested in other articles about Pioneer Frontier or the expansion of Hersheypark north of old West Derry Road, click here

Little Red Caboose (Lost Children’s Caboose)

In 1969, Hersheypark received a donation from Reading Railroad Company – a rare red caboose. This caboose, #92938, was built in September 1942 – when steel was only allowed to be used for the war effort during World War II.

As a result, this caboose was made out of wood, a material not otherwise used for such a purpose since 1920. The cabooses made during the war were all made out of wood, making them rare compared to all the other years made from steel. (That’s interesting, given the US Mint released steel pennies in 1943.)

This train car was a little red caboose, often called a Northeastern Caboose, and was placed adjacent to several kiddie rides – Helicopters, Whipperoo (later Wells Cargo), Space Age, Motorcycles (named Traffic Jam today) – in an area approximately where Music Box Theater stands today.

North Kiddieland.jpg

A photograph of North Kiddieland, unknown uploader, circa 1970.

In 1980, the caboose was relocated when Hersheypark expanded and Pirat and Cyclops were added. The caboose was moved to a spot where Tip Top had been located (it had been removed after the 1979 season). It remained in this location until it was removed from the park in 2015.

The caboose was originally a walk-through ride at a charge of 10 cents in the 1970 season. This was essentially a flop and the walk-through was discontinued in the 1971 season. It was then used as a place parents could have parties for their children. It eventually became Lost Children’s Caboose, a place where children who were disconnected from their parents could be taken until their parents were found. In 2006, the caboose was discontinued for this purpose with a new building having a Lost Children’s Corral next to The Claw.

The caboose is currently in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, at a train yard for Reading Railroad Heritage Museum. Pictures of the removal of the caboose from Hersheypark and installation at the train yard can be seen here.

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The Crusader newsletter for RCT&HS, March 2014.


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…A Happy Experience | May 7, 1972

Printed on May 7, 1972, in The Patriot-News, was a special section all about the grand opening of the new Hersheypark (although it was renamed a year earlier in 1971). What I’m sharing here is what was on the front page of that special section and what is one of the first prominent appearances of the Hersheypark pinwheel logo.

2016-02-25 - 1972-05-07 The Patriot News (p1)

When the park opened, there was a ceremony in which dignitaries and invited guests were in attendance. The ceremony was held in Carrousel Circle, the most prominent of the three new themed regions added to the park. The guests were paraded from the entrance of the park – for the 1972 season, located at the northern end of the park, adjacent the Dry Gulch Railroad station and the main lobby (Lobby 1) of Hersheypark Arena – to the edge of Carrousel Circle in Der Deitschplatz, another of the new themed areas (the third themed area added was the Animal Garden).

After the ceremony, normal operations began for the day. New rides to open included the Twin Towers Toboggans, Scrambler and Monster. This would be the start of the last month and a half of operations for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company water toboggan ride, The Lost River, which would be destroyed in the flood of 1972 in June. This would also be the last year of operations for the last funhouse, Funland, the Aeroaffiliates ride Flying Coaster, and the Magic Carpet Giant Slide.