New Bedford, Fall River and Dartmouth’s Lost Amusement Parks
When Dartmouth's Lincoln Park finally went out of business in 1987, it joined a long list of former amusement parks in Massachusetts to bow out. According to the National Amusement Park Historical Association (NAPHA), there were dozens of amusements parks in Massachusetts dating back at least as far as 1892. Several were in our area.
Lincoln Park opened in 1894 and was once known as Midway Park or Westport Park. According to Wikipedia, the park was owned by Union Street Railway Company and was intended as a picnic area and playground for company employees before becoming an amusement park. Rides were added to the park in the 1920s.
Lincoln Park closed in 1987, and the property is home to The Residences at Lincoln Park apartments and several dozen private single-family homes.
Acushnet Park opened across the street from East Beach on East Rodney French Boulevard at Clark's Point in New Bedford in 1916. Dan's Pavillion was across the street. According to a Facebook page dedicated to Acushnet Park, it belonged to Eastern Consolidated Amusements of Springfield. Park rides included a train and a roller coaster. Acushnet Park was destroyed in the 1938 hurricane. Efforts to rebuild were not successful.
Sandy Beach Park boasted a large wooden roller coaster on Fall River's waterfront. According to the book Rhode Island Amusement Parks by Rob Lewis and Ryan Young, Sandy Beach Park opened in 1892 and was visited by President William Howard Taft. NAPHA stated Sandy Beach Park was heavily damaged by fire in 1930, and what remained was destroyed by the 1938 hurricane.
NAPHA reported that Lakeside Park once existed in Lakeville but was unable to document details about the park, including when it opened and when or why it closed.
NAPHA said there were many other amusement parks in Massachusetts over the years, some of which you may remember such as Paragon Park on Nantasket Beach in Hull, Pleasure Island in Wakefield, and Riverside Park in Agawam, now Six Flags New England.
There were other parks throughout the region that you may recall. Rocky Point Park in Warwick, Rhode Island, Crescent Park in East Providence, Rhode Island, and Benson's Wild Animal Farm in Hudson, New Hampshire were some of the amusement parks I visited as a kid.
Do you remember going to amusement parks around New England as a kid? Which were your favorites?