West View History part 2

johnschalcosky Member Photo

Clipped by johnschalcosky

West View History part 2 - In 1927. the Racing Whippet designed designed...
In 1927. the Racing Whippet designed designed by Edward Vettel ST. was built by the park. This $75,000 ride was a racing, coaster which had two interconnected interconnected tracts.' Therefore, the coaster that started on the right side of the loading station finished on the left side and vice versa. The Dips was remodeled in 1928 at a cost of $32.000. The Speed-O-Plane was recontoured in 1928 and became the Greyhound Coaster. During the Great Depression of the .1930s..West..View. lost.money. Competition Competition was cut-throat with parks as far away as Canton and Youngstown, Ohio, bidding for picnic business. The Dips and Whippet remained the most heavily patronized rides on the midway, midway, but in the '30s West View earned moe money from its ballroom. West View featured both national and local bands like Ted Fiorite. Tommy Tuckerr-Ace-Brigode~Baron~Elliot:--JameST whether amusement parks should stay open during the war, but West View Park answered with the slogan "Work, then play at West View Park!" George M. Harton III, the nephew of T.M. Harton. took control of West View Park in 1945. For the next 20 years, Harton had complete control over the park. West View Park enjoyed enjoyed its best years -- its Golden Age. Harton decided to remodel the old ballroom in 1947. Edward Vettel rebuilt rebuilt it and Danceland reopened in 1948. New lighting and air conditioning conditioning also were added. West View advertised advertised its Danceland as "one of the Nation's Great Dance Centers." Some of the bands that played Danceland Danceland during this period were Vaughn Monroe. Tex Beneke. Less Brown, Guy Lombardo and Harry Ray Herbeck and Fran Eichler and others. On some nights, as many as 3.500 dancers jammed the ballroom at West View With the advent pf World War II in 1941. the park felt shortages of employees, employees, especially men. and material. material. There was some question as to In the 1930s, ballroom business nosedived. By the 1980s, only George Bodnar's over-19 record dances remained. remained. The declining ballroom business business was more than offset by the park's ride and picnic business. Many of the young dance couples of the Late 1940s brought their children out to West View's Kiddieland in the 1950s. The baby boom following World War D was first felt in Kid- dieland, but later it showed up on the regular rides. Conditions were changing. On Sept 5. 1965, the Pittsburgh Railways Co. discontinued trolley service to the park. The park continued to add rides UJce the antique car and Haunted House in 1963: Boot Hill in 1964: the Alpine Sky^ide in 1963: and the Bat Chute (two-story slide) in4966. George M. Hacton III died April 24. "1966. Until that time. West-View-had- kept up with Pittsburgh's other major major park. Kennywood. Control of West view Park passed to George M Harton Ill's mother. A.E. Kountz The question has often been asked. "What Happened to West View in the 1970s?" The best answer to this question question is "nothing." Perhaps this is why Wost-View clogpil for gtHMJ a 1 the ^pd. of the 1977 season. While the 'park remained the same, the amusement park industry underwent dramatic and expensive changes. Certainly the consolidation of school districts into larger districts didn't help. Declining school popu lation affected West YieV like olher parks. Danceland was completely destroyed destroyed in an eight-alarm fire the park. West View was spending looked like the setting for a horror smaller amounts every year. As at- picture of an abandoned amusement tendance dropped. West View park. Weeds were growing in the couldn't afford to advertise on tele- cracks of asphalt Paint was turning vision. to chalk on the coaster and fading on New competition was emerging a " lne other buildings The two from local parks like Conneaut Lake haunted houses looked spookier than and IdJewild. and later from new regional regional parks like Cedar Point. Geauga Lake and even Hersheypark The Dips and the Racing Whippet remained in good working condition Dip.- and Hjcmg Whippet would never never be heard again. The Last picnic been held, the last race won. it and structurally sound until the park ever. The carousel's wooden horses had been-removed shortly alter the park closed and only me poles and mechanism mechanism remained All of the sounds of the park were gone. Along the midway. onl the Gondbji*. Wt-sl View. good.b\i* uodbxi'. Danceland and thtt Inn in thi' past Goodbye to ihf rouinj marches trom Tal'kje Tern pie. the vaudeville acts, the circus pertornii-r N e v e r use West View a i ·«-lereni.-«- 01 where you hail* vi urked ( 1 i (i d i \ e a i r s u m even, 1 year, but some of the park's natural charm faded in the last few years. The carousel received a major refurbishing in 1975. The lake was filled in during the early 1970s. Many- trees wre lost over the years and seasonal plantings were reduced in the '70s. jMong with everything .else^JnfJa^- tion hit the amusement park business. business. Thecosts of opening the park increased dramatically every year Two hundred seasonal employees wore required tt keep the park open. Insurance on the coaster and other rides had increased every year At the end of the 1977 "season the park didn't bother to put up its sign. "See You Next Year." Within one ~wind~t)lowlng"Coufd~b?--trol1c'-s-\« more- cars tn-ihe parking heard- Was it the murmurs ol the past? Was it the long trapped sounds of joy and excitement from nder ol th Dips and the Whip 1 ' The Bug's motors would never be heard again The sound of the chain starting (he- lots no more eason openers., no murt* w a i l i n g " in line lor more w a r m .-uniim-r nights at ccland ami no more wailing for tht' next spriiig \\I^T View can only exist now in

Clipped from
  1. North Hills News Record,
  2. 20 Jul 1985, Sat,
  3. Page 5

johnschalcosky Member Photo

Want to comment on this Clipping? Sign up for a free account, or sign in