Don’t miss the story in today’s Lowell SUN about the surviving “trolley parks.” Oue regional and well-used Canobie Lake Park in neaby Salem, NH is featured. I’ve written before about these parks built by the trolley companies as a way to extend their business into the weekends and to provide access to a whole new realm of leisure activity. There are many books, postcards, phographs and posters celebrating this special era and much available memorabilia dear to collectors. Locally, Willowdale and Lakeview Parks were popular destinations.
As AP Travel writer Beth J. Harpaz tells us:
The parks were built by trolley companies at the end of the line in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as a way to get workers and their families to ride streetcars and railways on weekends. They had carousels, picnic grounds and live entertainment, and they were often located by lakes, rivers or beaches where visitors could take a boat ride or swim.
On Canobie Lake Park:
Canobie Lake Park in Salem, N.H., located 30 minutes north of Boston, also remains family-owned and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, according to marketing director Chris Nicoli. The park is three times its original size, and the old trolley station has been preserved as a Skee-ball building. A new exhibit at the park documents its dance hall, which through the years hosted Duke Ellington, Sonny and Cher and Frank Sinatra.
Canobie’s rides are a trip through history too: The carousel is a 19th century antique; the Yankee Cannonball wooden coaster is vintage 1930s, and the looping steel Canobie Corkscrew dates to the ’70s.
“We’ve got children coming on their eighth-grade field trip whose grandparents came on their eighth-grade field trip,” said Nicoli.
Canobie Lake Park continues and thrives as an amusement park today enjoyed by families across the Merrimack Valley. My granddaughters love the park. Do you have memories of days at Canobie Lake Park? special outings with groups or as a family? Do you still go to Canobie Lake Park? Do you remember Lake View Park? Share your stories.
Read more here in today’s Lowell SUN on-line.
This steroview from the collection at the UML/Center for Lowell History shows typcial weekend day at Willowdale Park in nearby Dracut, Massachusetts cira 1890s.