Monday, October 10, 2011

Quassy and Lake Compounce, A History

Yeah, I decided to combine them. I know it's a little late, but it's always fun to take a look at a park's roots. We'll start with Quassy, formerly known as Lake Quassapaug Amusement park and founded in 1908. Like Kennywood and several other amusement parks still in operation, it began as a trolley park. The lake was popular for fishing and canoeing, and the park hosted bands every night during the summer for several years. The park made it through the Great Depression thanks to the income from the trolley line and new activities like roller skating and a merry-go-round. After World War Two, Quassy continued to add Herschell kiddie rides and eventually coasters like Mad Mouse (defunct), Little Dipper, and finally Wooden Warrior in 2011.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any Quassy maps or brochures online, but here's a nice picture from the park's website:

Photo courtesy of Quassy. Click for larger image.
... And lets move on to Lake Compounce...

Lake Compounce is actually America's oldest operating amusement park, since 1846. It too began as a trolley stop, and the first permanent building to be built on the property was actually a casino. In 1914, the park added the Green Dragon roller coaster, the park's first electric powered roller coaster. They tore it down in 1926, and the Wildcat wooden roller coaster opened in its place the following year. The park continued to grow throughout the 1930s, until the trolley line was shut down as a result of the Great Depression. The park continued to struggle all the way up until the '80s, when the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company purchased it in 1985. Unfortunately, Hershey couldn't seem to figure out how to run the place; the park didn't open until July one season, and even then most of the rides were closed. Attendance figures continued to drop and Hershey listed it for sale in 1987.

The Joseph Entertainment Group purchased the park at that point and managed to fix it up. Most of the rides were running, and a large new amphitheater with live entertainment brought in the guests for a few years. By the early '90s, however, the park was struggling once again. After Funtime Inc. took over the management for a few seasons in the mid-90s, Kennywood Entertainment finally bought the park. The company continued to improve upon the park, adding new thrill rides and the famous Boulder Dash wooden roller coaster. Today, Lake Compounce is a large and successful park.

All photos from All brochures and maps courtesy of

Park photo, undated. Click for larger image.
Wildcat Roller Coaster photo, undated. Click for larger image.

2002 Brochure Page. Click for larger image.
2005 Brochure Page. Click for larger image.
2002 Park Map, largely unchanged. Click for larger image.


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