Great Depression (1931-1940)
1931: The Skooter was removed and replaced by a new dark ride called The Pretzel. The bumper cars wouldn’t be replaced until 1938. Custer Specialty Company’s Bike Boats were placed on Spring Creek. And, brought back by popular demand, the Giant Toboggan Slide was built in the pool area, next to the ballroom. It was located on the other side of Spring Creek from the Hershey Park swimming pool.
1932: Hersheypark’s first themed area is opened: Sunken Gardens. This is named such because it used to be under water until the old dam was replaced a couple years before – hence the gardens used to be sunk below water. The Electric Fountain, manufactured by General Electric at a cost of $75,000, debuts in the Sunken Gardens.
1933: The Bug and Speedboat are added to the park as part of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the town. The rides debuted in August, with the 20th anniversary celebrated over the first weekend of September. The Bug previously operated at the 1932-1933 Century of Progress in Chicago. The Speedboat was named Miss Marguerite and was the only ride to operate on Swatara Creek. It was located at the Hershey Boat House.
1934: Hershey Park Zoo is expanded.
1935: A kiddie ride, Automobiles, is installed near the Kiddie Ferris Wheel (1926) and the Airplane Swing.
1936: Custer Car Ride, manufactured by Custer Specialty Company, is installed in the park. The track is laid out next to Funhouse and the midway down towards Spring Creek where Comet’s station and course would largely be built (except for the dog leg).
1937: Hersheypark installs Whip, manufactured by W.F. Mangels.
1938: A new bumper cars ride, the Auto Skooters are placed in the hollow next to the Whip. Several rooms in the back of Hershey Park Theatre are converted into a new funhouse called Death Valley Fun House. The park’s first funhouse is renovated and converted into Whoops.
1939: No significant changes. This is the final season of operation for Death Valley Fun House.
1940: Death Valley Fun House is converted into Laugh Land (also spelled Laughland).