WEST POINT PARK, West Point, PA

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Location

West Point Park
765 Park Road
Lansdale, PA 19446
United States
40° 12' 40.842" N, 75° 18' 34.7904" W

About

This was the location for the Zeiber's Park from 1868 to the 1940s, and then West Point Park until 1987. My grade school in Cornwells Heights used to have an outing there every year during the last week of classes. In the old yellow buses, it seemed like we were going to the other end of the world.
The park became a housing development. Its pond is still there, and the address I chose for it is the closest one I can find to the pond, which still exists. I remember that the swing ride was on an island and the many kids getting sick over the water.
I have some distinct memories circa 1970. I remember the dance hall and the girls dancing with girls because we boys were too shy to dance, and I even remember some of the songs, Andy Kim's version of "Baby, I Love You," and Vanity Fare's "Hitchin' a Ride."
I remember that you could win a goldfish by tossing a ping pong ball into a little jar with a fish in it. They would cover it with plastic wrap and a rubber band, and invariably someone would spill all of the water out on the bus and that was it for the poor fish.
I also remember that the game pavillion had a mutoscope. It might have cost a penny, certainly not more than a dime. I was afraid of getting caught looking into it, but classmates who did (all male) would grin and say it showed a racy movie of a woman. I can't imagine it was too racy, given the family nature of the park, but maybe for the times it was.
I remember reading an article after the park closed about the Jumper roller coaster having been disassembled, but it could not be sold because no one kept track of parts placement as it came down. As I remember it, a would-be buyer was going to measure all of the pieces and try to to use a computer program to reassemble the coaster. Maybe someone knows what happened. [See comments, below. - Editor]

Created by:

plaquemaster
Wed, 03/07/2012 - 20:19

Picture

Comments

There is a photo of the swan boat from the early 1920s at http://media.thereporteronline.com/2015/07/03/photos-days-gone-by-lansdale-and-its-surrounding-areas/#4.

There is a program on this park on 10/11/16: http://www.thereporteronline.com/general-news/20161003/lansdale-historical-society-to-remember-west-point-park-oct-11. The Lansdale Historical Society always does a good job so it promises to be good.

The Lansdale Historical Society's Steve Moyer hosted a great program last night, in front of maybe 250 people, all who had visited West Point Park, and many of whom worked there. Two guests were sons of the owners, Bruce "Bill" Evans and Leo Booz. (I hope my notes are right.) Some interesting things I learned follow. The site was once Luken's Station, a train station. There is a building in the area that still exists that was a station. There are still goldfish in the pond that are descendants of goldfish that had been won and let loose. Gypsies had visited and camped there in 1910 when it was Zeiber's, and Mr. Moyer had a picture of their palmist. The carousel at WPP was a Denzel menagerie. The Jumper roller coaster was bought used from Topeka, Kansas, disassembled by Native Americans, and the first roller coaster ever moved. It was manufactured by National and was a wood/steel combo. When the park closed it had a buyer who backed out, and it was sold for scrap. I asked Mr. Evans about the story I recalled where it was not cataloged when disassembled and could not be sold, and he said not true, all parts were carefully numbered. (Could I be thinking of Lakeview in Royersford, PA?) The Jumper got its name because it jumped the track early on, leading to a change to a safer braking system. WPP had the first flat rate tickets of any amusement park. The Ferris wheel was an Eli. Some trees that were planted (catalpas, oaks, maples) still exist at the site. The late Frank Blaze was the sign painter for the park, and some of his signs are now used at nearby Mermaid Lakes. The Philadelphia Zoo Band would play at WPP, and Mr. Evans learned that the zoo did not realize it ever had a band. When WPP closed, the kiddie rides went to a park in Canada. The park was enjoyed by adults in that it served beer. Owner Howard Booz had a slogan, "We sell fun." WPP closed after the 1988 summer, in part because of increasing insurance rates. Also, NIMBY neighbors had the township require public sewage that it could not afford (1/2 million dollars at the time). Bill Evans hopes that a picnic for fans of WPP can be scheduled. I asked him about what was on the mutoscope that I was afraid to peer into, and he did not remember it, but agreed it must have been tame, maybe a woman dancing with a feather boa.

A nice account of last night's meeting about the park is at http://www.thereporteronline.com/general-news/20161012/hundreds-turn-out-to-share-memories-of-west-point-park.

The Woody Woodpecker sign pictured was part of the memorabilia on display at the Lansdale Historical Society program on West Point Park on 10/11/16.

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