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Ivyside Park | 1923 – 1946

Ivyside Park was a tract of land which was purchased by E. Raymond Smith, a pharmacist, and Harry C. Gwin, a realtor and civil engineer, in the summer of 1923. The intention was to build an amusement park featuring a large pool at its center. Work on the pool began shortly after the purchase went through; this pool would be the largest all concrete pool constructed in the world.

The pool opened in August 1924, while other amusements were slated to be installed in 1925. These amusements included a carousel, an airplane swing, and a roller coaster named Sky Rocket. Over the next few years, the park added a number of other attractions, including a Ferris wheel and a Dodg’em bumper car ride. The park operated under the leadership of Smith until his death in 1945.

1930-07-29 The Altoona Mirror (p12)
Published in The Altoona Tribune, July 29, 1930, page 12.

It is unclear if any of the amusements operated at Ivyside Park in 1945 or 1946. Picnic groups were still attending the park in the 1946 season. In August of 1946, it was announced that Smith’s widowed wife had reached an agreement to sell the Ivyside Park tract to Altoona Undergraduate Center, a branch of the Pennsylvania State University system, which was later renamed Penn State Altoona. In 1947, the money needed for the purchase was raised by the campus and the purchase was completed.

Sky Rocket information

Sky Rocket was owned and operated as a concession by Charles Morgan, who lived in New Castle, Pennsylvania. According to Richard Munch, this was a John A. Miller designed roller coaster. Sky Rocket opened in 1925 and operated through at least the 1944 season. It likely operated to the 1946 season, after which point the park was in the process of being sold to Penn State. After the sale was completed in 1947, Sky Rocket was torn down. The wood from the ride was advertised for sale by the college.

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