Timeless Kennywood!

I love the internet. It provides a wealth of information if you know where to look. One of my favorite reference sites is Wikipedia. The information submitted to this site is at times questionable, however, I was able to locate a relatively complete timeline of the many attractions at Kennywood Park since 1898 to the present day. As I read through the information, I was astounded by the age of some of the attractions and the fact that not only do they continue to operate, but that they remain popular attractions to this day!

Be sure to comment on your favorites! I am sure that you have some wonderful stories to relate. Don’t be shy, be a kid again!

Ride/Attraction timeline

  • 1898: Kenny’s Grove opened by Monongahela Street Railway Co.
  • 1899: Park renamed Kennywood, Merry-Go-Round* (G.A. Dentzel carousel), Casino restaurant (now Parkside Cafe), Dancehall
  • 1901: Old Mill (converted to Garfield’s Nightmare in 2004, also formerly named/themed as Hard Headed Harrold’s Horrendously Humorous Haunted Hideaway and Panama Canal)

Isn’t it amazing to think that for 111 years, the Old Mill has been operating in its same location? I wonder how many first kisses have occurred in the darkened canals within the ride? The Old Mill opened as “Fairyland Floats” but was rethemed 5 years later in 1906 as “The Old Mill.”

  • 1902: Figure Eight Toboggan (park’s first coaster, removed 1921)
  • 1903: Steeplechase (removed 1904)
  • 1904: Steeplechase removed
  • 1905: Dip-the-Dips Scenic Railway (removed 1910)
  • 1906: Fairyland Floats (re-themed Old Mill), Figure Eight Toboggan renamed to Gee Whizz Dip the Dips
  • 1910: 1910 Racer (original version, removed 1926), Dip-the-Dips Scenic Railway removed
  • 1911: Speed-O-Plane (removed 1923), Panama Canal (re-themed Old Mill)
  • 1913: Merry-Go-Round** (original G.A. Dentzel carousel replaced by T.M. Harton model)

It appears that the carousel referred to above was the second of three carousels that were part of the Kennywood landscape. It was eventually replaced inh 1927 by the current merry-go-round.

  • 1914: Old Mill (re-themed Panama Canal)
  • 1916: Wurlitzer Band Organ provides music for Merry-Go-Round
  • 1918: Whip* (replaced in 1927)
  • 1920: Jack Rabbit

Do you believe it?!?! One of my favorite coasters has been operating for 92 YEARS!! Even though I know the infamous double dip is coming up, it still is such a thrill, especially if you’re fortunate to be occupying the last seat on the train! During one family trip, my mother-in-law, Jean, decided to take my youngest daughter Abby on both of their first rides on the Jack Rabbit. The good intentions didn’t turn out so well, my daughter “was not amused!” She rolled into the station with a “deer in headlights” look on her face and promptly began lecturing my wife and I for allowing her to ride. Eventually we were forgiven and she road it once agin.

  • 1921: Gee Whizz Dip the Dips removed
  • 1922: Dodgem (removed in 1929)
  • 1923: Speed-O-Plane removed
  • 1924: Pippin (converted to Thunderbolt in 1968), Kiddieland* (located near Jack Rabbit coaster)
  • 1925: Sunlite Swimming Pool (removed 1973)

Again, its heard to believe that Kennywood’s swimming pool opened 87 years ago. Although our beloved pool met its demise 39 years ago, I for one will never forget it. The article below details some of the specifics about the days leading up to the official opening in May, 1925.

  • 1926: 1910 Racer removed
  • 1927: Merry-Go-Round(T.M. Harton carousel replaced by current William H. Dentzel model, Wurlitzer Band Organ is moved to new carousel), current Racer, Tumble Bug, larger 16 car Whip**, Kiddieland** (moved from near Jack Rabbit coaster to former location of original Racer coaster)
  • 1928: Brownie Coaster (removed 1953 or later), Tilt-A-Whirl* (removed 1934)
  • 1929: Dodgem removed
  • 1930: Auto Race, Laff in the Dark (removed 1965)

Laff in the Dark was one ride that always freaked me out as a kid. I don’t think it was the ride itself as much as Laffin’ Sal who stood in the ticket booth. I still recall dreams of her chasing me through the park at night!

The Auto Race is still in operation and is still enjoyed by thousands each day. I love the ride and can’t wait until my grandson is old enough for me to take him on the ride!

 

  • 1931: Tickler (roller coaster, removed 1952)
  • 1935: Teddy Bear (roller coaster, removed in 1947), Skooter (removed 1979)
  • 1936: Noah’s Ark (re-built in 1996), Loop-O-Plane* (removed 1950)

One of the grand old rides and a landmark of Kennywood!

  • 1937: 13 Spook Street, Kiddie Old Mill (Swan Boats, removed mid-70s)
  • 1938: Ridee-O (removed 1959)
  • 1940: Rockets (Traver circle swing added to island in lagoon, removed 1978)
  • 1941: Daffy Klub (replaces 13 Spook Street)
  • 1945: Olde Kennywood Railroad
  • 1946: Original facade on Racer loading platform replaced
  • 1947: Teddy Bear removed
  • 1948: Little Dipper (remodeled in 1958, removed in 1984), hills removed from Auto Race and car bodies replaced with current style bodies, Tumble Bug cars replaced with turtle-looking versions
  • 1949: Tilt-A-Whirl** (removed 1963), Tumble Bug renamed Turtle
  • 1950: Roll-O-Plane* (removed 1969)
  • 1952: Octopus (removed 1965), Tickler removed
  • 1953: Sunlite Pool closes to swimming due to maintenance problems and turned into U-Drivem boat concession
  • 1955: Rotor* (removed 1958), Sunlite Pool reopens after rehab, Kiddie Cadillacs, Daffy Klub removed

I LOVED the Rotor. I’m sure I couldn’t handle it today, but I remember turning upside down and having a great time on this ride.

  • 1957: Round-Up* (replaced with new model in 1964)
  • 1958: Wild Mouse (removed 1960), Little Dipper remodeled and renamed Dipper
  • 1959: SkyDiver
  • 1960: Wild Mouse removed, facade on Racer loading platform redesigned
  • 1961: Bandshell destroyed in fire, Calypso (removed 1987), Old Mill gets new boats
  • 1962: Kangaroo (only Flying Coaster flat ride in existence)
  • 1964: Tornado dark ride (from defunct Freedomland, removed 1966), Round-Up** (replacing original Round-Up; damaged by the June 19, 1975 fire and replaced with Super Round-Up)
  • 1965: Rotor** (removal date unknown), Popover (removed in 1976), Laff in the Dark removed
  • 1966: Turnpike (Electric cars added in 1987)

I remember the distinctive clacking sound of the gas engines when the ride first opened. The smell of all the exhaust fumes had to have been a problem for the poor kids who operated the ride!

  • 1967: Road Runner (Cuddle Up), Ghost Ship (Replaced Tornado, Both rides destroyed in fire on June 19, 1975)
  • 1968: Thunderbolt, rebuilt from Pippin. The four drops in the ravine and the lift hill remain intact from the original coaster. The new Thunderbolt track had a small hill in the inner helix that was removed in 1969.
  • 1969: Noah’s Ark remodeled, Loop-O-Plane** (removed 1983)
  • 1971: Roll-O-Plane** (removed 1985)
  • 1972: Bayern Kurve*, Le Cachot Name means “The Dungeon” in French, replaced Safari dark ride. (removed 1998), Monster* (removed 1974)
  • 1973: Gran Prix, Sunlite Swimming Pool removed
  • 1974: Hardheaded Harold’s Horrendously Humorous Haunted Hideaway (theme change of park’s Old Mill), Kenny Kangaroo makes his debut as park mascot
  • 1975: Log Jammer (first multi-million dollar ride in the park’s history) Carousel is completely stripped, and repainted, Wurlitzer Band Organ is completely rebuilt
  • 1976: Tilt-A-Whirl*** (removed in 1988, moved to Idlewild), (Super) Round Up*** (moved to Idlewild 1985), SkyDiver replaced with new model and renamed Paratrooper
  • 1977: Monster**; Nearby West View Park closes
  • 1978: Enterprise (renamed Volcano in 2003), Rockets removed
  • 1979: Monster***, renamed Monongahela Monster (removed 1989), Garden Stage (removed in 2006)
  • 1980: Laser Loop.(Removed in 1990)
  • 1981: Gold Rusher (removed in 2007), Paddle Boats
  • 1982: Pirate, Wonder Bread trains on Racer replaced by new PTC models
  • 1983: Ranger (lasts only one season)
  • 1984: Wave Swinger, Swing Around* (removed at end of season, but returns five years later), Bayern Kurve** (original replaced), Dipper removed
  • 1985: Raging Rapids, Super Round-Up removed
  • 1986: Wonder Wheel (removed in 1999), Bayern Kurve** removed, geysers and waterfall added to Raging Rapids
  • 1987: Musik Express, electric cars added to Turnpike and directions cars face on track reversed, Kennywood designated National Historic Landmark
  • 1988: Flying Carpet (removed in 2006), Rotor*** (removed in 1994, eventually moved to Lake Compounce), Tilt-A-Whirl removed, Kennywood Memories is filmed and premieres 28 Sep. 1988
  • 1989: Swing Around** (removed in 2005), Monster removed
  • 1990: Great Balloon Race (removed in 1995, moved to Idlewild), Laser Loop removed, original facade on Racer loading platform restored
  • 1991: Steel Phantom (quickly tops top 10 list, rebuilt as Phantom’s Revenge in 2001), Wurlitzer Band Organ undergoes extensive repairs
  • 1992: Tri-Star (lasts only one season, moved to Idlewild in 1998), Old Mill (Haunted Hideaway renamed)
  • 1993: WipeOut (removed 2009, relocated to Lake Compounce)
  • 1994: SkyCoaster, Bayern Kurve*** (Removed in 2005)
  • 1995: LOST KENNYWOOD expansion in former location of Sunlite Swimming Pool – Pittsburg Plunge, Phantom Phlyer (Removed in 1996, moved to Lake Compounce), Roll-O-Plane*** (removed in 2003), Whip and Wave Swinger moved to Lost Kennywood, Great Balloon Race removed
  • 1996: Lil Phantom (Kiddieland), Kenny’s Parkway, Noah’s Ark remodeled, Phantom Phlyer removed
  • 1997: Pitt Fall (Removed in 2011)
  • 1998: Kennywood celebrates its 100th anniversary, Centennial Midway (one season), Le Cachot removed
  • 1999: Exterminator, Wonder Wheel removed.
  • 2000: Aero 360, Dancing Waters relocated across from Grand Prix, Garfield and Odie added as park mascots
  • 2001: Phantom’s Revenge (rebuilt from Steel Phantom), Crazy Trolley
  • 2002: Garfield’s Pounce Bounce, Phantom Fright Nights debut
  • 2003: King Kahuna (formerly Top Spin from Lake Compounce, removed 2010), Ham-on-Rye (removed in 2005), Volcano Valley themed area, Volcano (theme change from Enterprise), Roll-O-Plane removed, Miniature Golf removed
  • 2004: Garfield’s Nightmare (theme change from Old Mill)
  • 2005: New front gate structures built, Bayern Kurve*** and Swing Around removed, Merry-Go-Round undergoes a complete overhaul and is rebuilt, Wurlitzer Band Organ is repainted
  • 2006: Swing Shot
  • 2007: Cosmic Chaos, SS Kenny, roofing over the escalators to lot 2, Gold Rusher removed.
  • 2008: Ghostwood Estate,[16] new Kiddieland games building.
  • 2009: Bayern Kurve****,[15] WipeOut removed, original Phantom drop and second hill retracked
  • 2010: Sky Rocket, A New Steel Roller Coaster,[14] Turnpike Removed and placed in storage with intent to be reinstalled. King Kahuna Removed.
  • 2011: Kandy Kaleidoscope is remodeled, Parkside Cafe is remodeled and becomes the park’s first air-conditioned food service location, Kiddieland restrooms are rebuilt to include a refreshment stand, Star Refreshment stand is renovated, Merry-Go-Round horses are refurbished, Pitt Fall Removed, Holiday Lights debut, Wurlitzer Band Organ on Merry-Go-Round is completely rebuilt.
  • 2012: Black Widow ride to replace Pitt Fall [13]
  • .
  •  
  • Asterisks (*) indicate number of times a ride was replaced or re-introduced.
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9 Responses to Timeless Kennywood!

  1. Lou A. RPh says:

    Jim, and all… Having worked the Olde Mill from 69-73, I have many memories. I’ve already mentioned Freddy Weber and Felix. One bit of trivia; the timeline confirms this. The ride was never actually named the TUNNEL OF LOVE although many people called that. But that’s not to say a whole lotta lovin’ didn’t happen! I could relate true incidents that could NEVER get posted here. Let’s just say that the back seat of a ’57 Chevy had nothing on the tail end of the dragons…. and it all happened in under 4-1/2 minutes.
    One story I can relate involves the cook-outs. Few people realize that the circling of the channel forms a triangle out back that is only accessible by climbing over the roof from inside one of the outside scenes. It’s not visible from the outside, unless the burgers were burning, but the fact that it was out near the pavilions was a cover for the smoke and aroma. One of the employees’ father owned a bar in Braddock; he would supply us with hamburger patties. The rest of us would chip in for a grill, charcoal, buns, mustard, etc. Cold cans of pop, you say? There is a storage pool inside the ride behind the wheel; the moving water provided the ‘chill”. Yeah, memories.

  2. Bob Chermonitz says:

    Jim, what a wonderful timeline on timeless Kennywood! This brought back alot of memories and clarified some others. Just a few thoughts I recall about some of the rides. The Wild Mouse was moved to Idlewild, I know this because I threw my back out on it while riding it there with one of my sons. The Turnpike, while it still had the gas engines, was a terrible ride to work on. I spent a few days in ’69 working there. The fumes were enough to cause an all-day headache and they did! The Road Runner was attached to my Ghost Ship ride. There was a secret door that opened from the Runner into the Ship just where the cars entered the 1st turning tunnel. My DHS buddy Ozell George worked on the Runner & would use that door to come & eat with us in the Ship’s workroom. I’d meet him almost everyday and scare the daylights out of him until his eyes adjusted to the dark. LOL! The Calypso was a ride leased to Kennywood (next to the Ghost Ship) and was operated by employees of that California company. In ’69 the guy who ran it was a true California Hippie and had the hottest California girls working with him. Anyway, thanks again for the hard work and keep it up! Bob

  3. Ron Corso says:

    The list shows the 1910 Racer removed in 1926. I have been on the Racer many times starting in the 1950’s. When was it re-installed?

  4. Frank Mullen says:

    I don’t think I was ever able to decide on a favorite ride, but the three adult-sized roller-coasters were tops with me. First, upon entering the park, I’d ride the “Jack Rabbit”; then, race over to “The Racer,” always trying for the front or last seats. After the Rabbit, as I made my traditional route over to the “Pippin,” I’d ride the “Auto Racer” and afterwards make it straight to the Pippin (unless I could calm down enough to take a leisurely ride on that deco-style train that ran along the cliff overseeing the river.) Next, came “The Skooter” bumper-cars that slid around on that metal floor, and after that came a leisurely ride on one of what used to be twin Ferris Wheels, often hanging over the back of the seat imaging I was being picked up by King Kong. Lastly, I’d ride the Merry-Go-Round, for a magical journey through an enchanted atmosphere that was filled with gliding lights and swirling musical chimes, all the while sitting astride gorgeous animals that stepped along in my imagination. Those were all my favorites. At the very least.

  5. Vickie Brady says:

    Oh the memories. Growing up in Duquesne that was usually the summer hang out. If you were lucky enough to become friends with all the ride operators which we did, it didnt cost us nothing to ride the rides. I spent many a day there until I got older and had to do what every 16 year old did and that was get a job I have to say Kennywood was not one of my job chioces (must have been too many days spent out there before becoming working age). As i grew up and had children of my own, that would be theIr big adventure for the summer (I couldnt afford to take them on vacation), but we always made the best of it and enjoyed it. I have to say, the rollar coasters to this day are still my favorite, I would be disappointed if I left the park without riding all of them at least once. This thursday Aug 9, 2012 we are celebrating one of my grandchildrens birthdays out there, and yes I will ride all of the coaster at least once ..Hope the weather cooperates. so as generations are born I hope Kennywood hangs around a lot longer for them to enjoy it, like we did as kids and even as adults. Thank you for the timeline of Kennywood.

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