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Theme Park and Amusement Park History

Coney Island History Site
New York’s Coney Island was the top amusement area during the first half of the 20th Century. Coney Island was actually the home of several adjacent amusement parks built and operated by different entrepreneurs. A site by Jeffrey Stanton.
Defunct Amusement Parks
Lots of amusement parks have gone out of business over the years. Joel Styer has gathered information about many of them.
Early Amusement Parks of Orange County
Richard Harris, author of Early Amusement Parks of Orange County (Arcadia Publishing, 2008), presents images from his book and his personal collection.
Destiny of the Forgotten Realms
Anthony Tomassi explains the story behind Boardwalk and Baseball, a defunct Central Florida theme park. There’s also information on other failed or forgotten theme park efforts.
Florida’s Lost Tourist Attractions
Let Robert H. Brown take you on a tour of roadside attractions that welcomed tourists in the Florida of yesterday. Here’s your chance to visit Tommy Bartlett’s Deer Ranch, Treasureland, Weapons of the World, and many others.
Frontier Village
Frontier Village was a small Western themed amusement park in San Jose, California. It opened in 1961 and closed forever in 1980, a victim of high land values and competition from Great America.
Knott’s Berry Farm Museum
Jay Jennings, author of Knott’s Berry Farm, The Early Years (Arcadia Publishing, 2009), presents Knott’s memorabilia and history.
Knott’s Preserved
This is the official website for Knott’s Preserved, a long-awaited book about the history of Knott’s Berry Farm. The book is by Christoper Merritt and J. Eric Lynxwiler, with an introduction by Tony Baxter.
Billed as “The Internet’s First Unofficial Look at Knott's Berry Farm,” this blog covers everything from vintage Knott’s to the latest Knott’s news.
Legend City
Legend City, Arizona’s answer to Disneyland, opened in 1963 and closed forever in 1983. It didn’t help that summer afternoon temperatures in Phoenix are often around 110°F.
Marineland of the Pacific Historical Society
A series of owners operated Marineland of the Pacific on Southern California’s Palos Verdes Peninsula from 1954 until 1987. The final owner was the parent company of Sea World park; they promptly closed the park, thereby eliminating competition and gaining orcas and other cetaceans for Sea World parks.
National Amusement Park Historical Association (NAPHA)
Learn about this amusement park enthusiasts’ organization, and read about the history of amusement parks and theme parks.
Pacific Ocean Park, Santa Monica
“POP” tried to compete with Disneyland from 1958 to 1967. See what you missed at this simple site with postcards and brochure pages.
Palisades Amusement Park Historical Society
Palisades Amusement Park, located atop the New Jersey Palisades cliffs, closed forever in 1971. Read the history of the park, see photos, and shop for souvenirs at this Web site.
Roller Coaster History
This series of articles describes the origin and development of roller coasters. This is a part of UltimateRollercoaster.com.
Theme Park Memories
See photos and brochures from defunct Southern California attractions, including pictures of the ruins of Marineland of the Pacific.
Venice History
The California beach communities of Venice and Ocean Park were home to various amusement piers over many decades. This is a carefully researched article with vintage photos, by Jeffrey Stanton.

World’s Fairs

Expo Museum
This is a great website. It’s an “online museum”devoted to all World’s Fairs—the major ones, and the ones you never heard of.
World’s Columbian Exposition: Idea, Experience, Aftermath
A hypertextual exploration of the Chicago’s World’s Fair of 1893, and its social and cultural implications for early modern and postmodern America.
New York World’s Fair 1939-1940
This is Alan Anderson’s tribute to what he calls THE FAIR. It includes personal recollections and links to other sites.
The Space Needle, from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair
The fair is history, but the Space Needle remains as the most recognizable symbol of Seattle. In addition to plenty of information about what the Space Needle currently offers, read about its History and Fun Facts.
New York 1964/1965 World’s Fair
The New York World’s Fair at Flushing Meadow in Queens, New York, occupied the same site as the 1939 New York World’s Fair. the Walt Disney introduced Pepsi Cola’s It’s a Small World, the State of Illinois’ Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the Ford Motor Company’s Magic Skyway, and General Electric’s Progressland.
New York 1964 World’s Fair
This site by Jeffrey Stanton has terrific clickable maps that allow you to navigate to articles about the many pavilions of th New York 1964 World’s Fair.
Expo 67 Montréal World’s Fair
Expo 67 was a huge event almost 45 years ago in Montréal, Canada.
Expo 67 - Montréal World’s Fair
This is another site by Jeffrey Stanton. As with his New York 1964 World’s Fair site, there are terrific clickable maps.


© 1995-2010 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated May 16, 2010.