What Dartmouth’s Lincoln Park Looks Like After the Comet
The mere mention of Dartmouth's Lincoln Park conjures memories for many folks who grew up in the Greater New Bedford-Fall River area in the last century.
The legendary amusement park first opened in 1894 and closed in 1987.
Lincoln Park was one of the dozens of amusement parks that used to exist in the region.
The Union Street Railway Company opened up 46 acres of land surrounded by Route 6, Reed Road, and Beeden Road. It was eventually named Lincoln Park.
Lincoln Park was intended for company employees to take family members for picnics. There were no amusement park rides at Lincoln Park until the 1920s.
The name "Lincoln Park" was chosen by lottery. The park was known first as "Midway Park" or "Westport Park" before the name change. More rides were added in the 1940s when a bowling alley and roller skating rink were added to complement the existing dance hall, later named the Lincoln Park Ballroom.
When Lincoln Park closed in 1987, the property sat dormant until 2012, when what remained of the Comet roller coaster was demolished. Our friend Taylor Cormier tells me he recently saw a stool claiming to be made of wood from the Comet at an area consignment shop.
In 2016, after several false starts, the first of three apartment buildings opened on the former Lincoln Park property. The apartments would be known as The Residences at Lincoln Park. Some 60 single-family homes comprise a private neighborhood referred to as Homes at Lincoln Park. Plans for retail development and a fourth apartment building have either been canceled or delayed, perhaps in part because of the pandemic.
There is very little on-site to remind you that the property was once a thriving amusement park, alive with carnival music, the occasional shriek of a Comet rider, and the crack of the guns in the shooting gallery where young men competed for stuffed animals for their sweeties.
The street signs that mark your way through the now quiet neighborhood are perhaps the most telling reminder of what once was.
Here are some pictures I took during a walk-through of the neighborhood.
This was the first apartment complex to open in 2016:
The second apartment complex opened in 2018.
The third apartment complex opened a short time later.
This is the view from upper Rollercoaster Drive:
Walking on lower Rollercoaster Drive:
This rescued ecosystem was buried under the park.
Walking along Midway Park Drive, this is what you'll see:
These are the community mailboxes: