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Libertyland Demolition Begins


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After 4 years of fighting, the city of Memphis won and has begun demolishing the former Libertyland site. A large section of the Zippin Pippin has been removed but according to a city official, it was only removed for "salvageability" tests.

 

From the Commercial Appeal:

 

Demolition crews tore out a hunk of the Zippin Pippin Monday morning as part of the project to sweep away the remains of Libertyland.

 

Some city officials and community leaders have wondered if the wooden roller coaster, like the recently dismantled carousel, could be repaired and reinstalled somewhere else.

 

Lipscomb thinks that’s unlikely.

 

“What they’re going to do is analyze how bad it is and see if it can be salvaged. The timbers are really, really rotten,” he said.

 

Steve Mulroy, a county commissioner and member of the nonprofit Save Libertyland, wasn’t pleased that the city took action Monday.

 

“In the final analysis, it probably doesn’t matter because we’d have to replace that wood anyway,” he said. “But the fact that they assured us they wouldn’t touch the Pippin, and did anyway, is a little troubling.”

 

Meanwhile, demolition will continue on the remains of Libertyland. Monday afternoon, bulldozers and cranes were at work in a corner of the park near the former Skeeball building.

 

“The stuff that is noncontroversial, we’ll tear it down and clean it up,” said Lipscomb, estimating that the work could be done within 30 days.

 

The city has been trying to figure out what to do with the Mid-South Fairgrounds site for several years.

 

Last year, city officials chose a plan backed by real estate developer Henry Turley to redevelop the area into a center for retail, entertainment and other purposes.

 

But disagreements over fees have slowed that project, leading officials to consider other alternatives.

 

The ownership of the coaster is even in dispute.

 

Save Libertyland says they own it after a previous developer, Carolina Crossroads, deeded it to them.

 

However, Mulroy said city officials told Save Libertyland to remove the coaster. When they didn’t, Mulroy said, city officials claimed ownership.

 

When asked who owned the ride, Lipscomb could only say, “I have no idea,” then added, “If they own it, they need to get it moved.”

 

– Jody Callahan: 529-6531

libertyland1.jpg.31e0b8fbe307482c50002cdad094836c.jpg

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I'm sad to see this and will get over there in the next day or so for more pictures.

 

Based on what I saw earlier this year, Pippin has just sat too long to even be salvagable or awfully close.

 

The way that section is torn off, I wouldn't bet on analysis for anything. More likely "Oh, it's an old damaged coaster, we HAVE to tear it down now". Kind of like purposely damaging something to get the scratch and dent price.

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Wasn't Zippin Pippin the coaster that Elvis used to ride? I've read that he'd rent the park so that he and his friends could ride it.

 

If that was in fact the "Elvis" coaster, it's too bad that it couldn't have been declared a landmark or that someone could have moved it back when it was closed, before it deteriorated as badly as it did.

 

Eric

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No offense, but Elvis is dead. So is the Zippin' Pippin'!

 

Zippin' Pippin' was my 500th coaster. Oh well.

 

It wasn't much to write home about anywho.

 

 

JJ

It's not so much the ride experience itself but the fact that it was the second-oldest operating coaster in the country. To Elvis fans it has a whole separate kind of historical value.

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I had a Zippin Pippen sighting the other day, I swear! It looked a little older, but I am sure that it was Zippen Pippen! It's all a big conspiracy to make you think Zippin Pippen is gone, when in reality it is alive, well and enjoying life without the fame and fans

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  • 2 months later...

Crews began to dismantle the Zippin Pippin yesterday:

 

 

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/jan/28/track-ends-zippin-pippin-roller-coaster/

 

Crews began dismantling the Zippin Pippin roller coaster Thursday, four years after Libertyland was closed to clear the way for Mid-South Fairgrounds redevelopment.

 

Long known as Elvis Presley's favorite ride, the Zippin Pippin dated to 1912. Workers are taking the wooden roller coaster apart with care in hopes that parts can be preserved, said city Housing and Community Development director Robert Lipscomb.

 

It has been exposed to the elements with no maintenance since the amusement park closed in October 2005.

 

In November, crews tore out a piece to see if it was salvageable, and an expert estimated that it would cost the city millions of dollars to restore or rebuild the ride.

 

Last year, Carousels and Carvings of Marion, Ohio, dismantled the Grand Carousel at Libertyland and stored it in an undisclosed location in Memphis.

 

Since then, the city approved about $2million to demolish Libertyland and the fairgrounds site, and much of the area has been cleared.

 

"I've got a lot of calls about that and just about all of them are about how good it looks," said Lipscomb.

 

But fans of the Zippin Pippin were saddened to hear that it had reached the end of the track.

 

"I'm crying inside," said Denise Parkinson, co-founder of the grass-roots Save Libertyland group. "It's not OK to go ahead and tear everything down without a plan."

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It seems like being Elvis' favorite coaster should have given this ride enough historical significance to warrant saving it. I know certain parties have looked into doing so - I seem to recall reading that Dolly Parton wanted to move it to Dollywood, but it wasn't possible due to the ride not fitting into the topography of the park. I'm guessing this one's a goner at this point, more kindling for the fire. It breaks my heart. The King is rolling over in his grave. RIP Zippin Pippin.

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So I was just watching American Idol with my finace,(brutally annoying by the way) when there was a promo for our local news that says that our local tiny amusment park in green bay maybe purchasing this very coaster! Looks like you will have to travel to the land of crazy football fans in order to ride it in the future! Here is the article!

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It looks as if the Zippin Pippin will be heading to Wisconsin:

 

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – If the mayor of Green Bay, Wis., gets his way, the old wooden roller coaster Elvis Presley loved to ride will be rolling north.

 

The Commercial Appeal reported Mayor Jim Schmitt and Green Bay’s parks director Bill Landvatter were in Memphis on Monday, looking over the Zippin Pippin, which is being dismantled.

 

Schmitt didn’t disclose the asking price, but said most of what he anticipates his city paying would be to move the coaster to Beach Bay Amusement Park.

 

It’s being disassembled after the closure of Libertyland amusement park in 2005 and the planned redevelopment of the site.

 

Schmitt said he’s talked to city engineers and said “this can happen.”

 

Schmitt said he would recommend his city “work diligently” to acquire the Pippin and move it.

 

Click here for recent pictures of the Zippin Pippin.

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If Bay Beach does get the ride anyone from Memphis will be able to ride for free.

 

Schmitt said that if he lands the Zippin Pippin, Memphians who make it to Green Bay will be able to ride the roller coaster free of charge.

 

“We are very sensitive to how Memphis feels about this,” he said.

 

Full article here --> http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/feb/08/sold-green-bay-wants-zippin-pippin/

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It is looking pretty good for us here in cheese land to move the coaster up here! Pretty much every local news source has done a report on it. Today's paper here mentiond that between 75 and 90 percent of the wood would have to be replaced and will cost about 3 million bucks to move and rebuild. I would link the article but the website is being annoying and won't let me find the article. It also mentioned that members from the Gravity Group traveled with the Green Bay Mayor down to Memphis to view the coaster. It also mentiond that most the salvaged portions and cost would pretty much buy the mechanical aspects and original blueprints. All pretty interesting stuff. I will be definatly be one of the first riders to ride the new ride If it opens early 2011!

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