Can This Amusement Park Be Saved?

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Mr. Futrell estimates there have been greater than 1,000 trolley parks in the US within the decade earlier than the primary world warfare, a lot of them in small suburban cities. In these increase years, Clementon Park added one of many area’s first nickelodeon film theaters and a brand new bathhouse. Trip properties and eating places sprung up all through city.

The warfare was robust on the amusement business, however as trolley parks closed elsewhere, this one grew. In 1919, the Gibbs household put in a Ferris wheel and a steam-driven carousel. That very same 12 months, they spent $80,000 — greater than $1 million at this time — for the Jack Rabbit coaster, designed by the famend experience engineer John A. Miller and constructed of wooden by the Philadelphia Toboggan Firm.

The Despair and the car’s growing reputation introduced one other wave of park closures. “You could possibly survive for those who had room to put in a parking zone,” Mr. Futrell stated, “and Clementon did.”

Extra trendy thrill rides have been added. Within the dance corridor, Purple Skelton and Dick Clark hosted dance-till-you-drop marathons. There have been day by day high-dive exhibits and circus acts on the lake. Simply outdoors the park gates, a downtown procuring district bustled via the midcentury, and by 1960, Clementon’s inhabitants had grown to just about 4,000 residents in simply two sq. miles.

However the increase that adopted World Battle II threatened the small-town lifestyle.

“They constructed large malls and procuring facilities simply down the street,” Danielle Burrows stated, “and there was a tough shift away from downtown districts within the Nineteen Sixties.” Ms. Burrows, 41, grew up on the town and wrote about Clementon for the “Pictures of America” ebook collection in 2009. By the point the principle avenue’s outlets and flats have been demolished within the identify of “city renewal” within the Seventies, Ms. Burrows stated, “the city’s heyday was a minimum of a decade within the rearview.”

There are few shops and eating places left now, and virtually nothing is manufactured in Clementon at this time. When the amusement park didn’t open in any respect throughout the 2020 season, Marian Mumie, 82, who moved to Clementon in 1938, recalled that earlier demolition.

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