West View Park
West View Park was a trolley park that was in West View, Pennsylvania, from May 23, 1906 to September 7, 1977. The park was founded by T.M. Harton and owned by his company for the entire time the park was open.
The park featured the longest coaster in Pennsylvania at the time of it’s opening in 1910 and was the first park to have two carousels. Many of the rides and coasters in the park were designed by roller coaster legend Edward A. Vettel and built by T.M. Harton & Company.
After West View Park closed in September 1977, the park remained standing, but not operating, until 1980 when the park was torn down. The park was replaced by West View Park Shopping Center. The sign for the shopping center has a carousel horse on top of it, as a recall to the park.
The decline of the park was blamed on a lack of school picnics resulting from the consolidation of school districts. As the smaller school districts merged into larger ones, they agreed to have their school picnics at Kennywood instead of West View.
The loss of their primary revenue stream, increased competition from nearby parks such as Conneaut Lake Park (as well as the aforementioned Kennywood), and theme parks such as Hersheypark – which hadn’t draw large numbers people from western PA until the park was renovated in the 1970s – brought a fast and sharp decline to the park.
The loss of this part remains sad to this day, as it was an advanced park in its early years and certainly seemed like a park that could have lived on for as long as it’s south Pittsburgh counterpart, Kennywood.