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Midway Park PTR


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Hi folks!

 

It's been a while since I posted a photo trip report so thought I might play a bit of catch-up. Today I woke up and could hardly walk on my right foot, so I fear that I either developed a case of Achilles Tendinitis or I blew it out while golfing yesterday (such a rough sport, I know!).

 

Anyway, this report features a small, state-owned (former trolley) park called Midway Park in Maple Springs, NY. This is what you might call my "home park" as it is the closest one that I have to our home at about 20 minutes. Waldameer would be next at about an hour.

 

The reason for my visit was not to ride rides as the park was not yet open when I took these photos. My place of employment has what they call 'Every Employee, Every Community' where they will pay us four hours to perform local community service somewhere. And what better way to give back then help to clean up our local amusement park after a harsh winter?

 

I spent a lot of time here as a young kid. Every Friday night, my sister and I would come here to go roller skating with friends in a (what is now closed) 2nd level roller rink. It was great fun to skate here as they would open the shudders so the night air could waft in from the lake as you rolled around endlessly to hit songs from the 70's and 80's. (Be sure to check out the link to the park below to see the roller rink in it's former glory as well as some nice historical photographs!)

 

If you wanted to take a break, you could take off the skates and go outside to the arcade where they had pinball, skee ball, fortune tellers and of course, the coolest 80's video games such as Pac-Man, Centipede, Q-bert and of course...Galaga!

 

They also had food stands below the roller rink so you could endlessly smell popcorn, onion rings, french fries. Elephant Ears and other deep-fried goodness.

 

It seemed weird coming back as I don't believe that I have actually visited the park since the roller skating rink closed its doors many years ago.The amusement park itself has changed little with the exception of them getting rid of their best rides - The Swings (this looked & felt homemade as it ran on a stinky gas engine driven by belts and pulleys, with wooden seats (and dinky chains like the Sky Flyers), the Paratrooper and the Giant Fun Slide (more on that below).

 

One great thing about this park is that they have successfully rehabbed their 1946 Allan Herschell Co (from nearby North Tonawanda) Merry-Go-Round, the kiddie train and also plan on putting a brand new miniature golf course in the footprint of the old one for next year.

 

Anyone wishing to learn more about this historic little park can check out their website:

 

Midway Amusement Park

 

This one's for you, Ejot!

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Welcome to Midway State Park (sorry for my lazy, sucky attempt to photograph the sign)!

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It was early May so the park had not yet opened for the season.

 

Here are the small antique kiddie cars.

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The helicopters looked all ready to entertain young guests.

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As did the aeroplanes.

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And the kiddie boats. You can see the former Dodge Em bumper car building in the background. Sad that they got rid of these because I remember them being a lot like Skooters at Knoebels.

 

Edit: The Bumper Cars are OPEN!

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It looked the aeroplanes got some new platform wood in the off-season. Surprised no one has made them remove the toy guns! ;-)

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Here is the recently restored train that circles the park.

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The Tubs-O-Fun. I used to LOVE this ride as kid! My sister and I would spin those things until we almost threw up (and lots of kids did - and probably still do)!

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This classic is like a kiddie rendition of The Whip called the Roto-Whip. This used to be my favorite ride when I was a little one.

 

Think of it as training wheels for growing up to be a theme park enthusiast/geek!

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This is the track for the pedal cars. They didn't have the cars on the track yet though. You can see the old miniature golf course on the right...it's nice to hear that they will be revamping this for next year!

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They were just getting the Tilt-A-Whirl assembled. Unfortunately, this is all that is left of the "bigger" rides in the park.

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They were still missing the clam shell portion.

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This coaster is for the most serious of all credit whores out there.

 

The only TPR person I know of besides me that has this credit is Big Mike - although I would think that there has to be others out there that have ridden this before?

 

Anyone?

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Can't do a report without some lift hill/lift chain porn.

 

Note the belt & pulley driven hotness!

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This looks like it could be an airtime machine, but I remember it being very awkward, clunky & scary riding it as a child!

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I recall this turn being quite jarring as a child.

 

In the background, you can see the sorry-looking replacement for the Giant-Ass Fun Slide that they used to have. It was about three times the size of the one shown here and faced in the opposite direction.

 

It used to be red, white and blue and if you fell off of your burlap sack on the way down, you were sure to get nice and burned from the hot metal or rug burns from the sack. The 2nd hill used to provide some OMFG air time and that was usually what resulted in you falling off the sack.

 

Fun times indeed....the old giant slide RULED!

 

I tried to find a Google image of it, but unfortunately came up empty. :-(

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Aaaand back to the brake run. They used to do two full circuits, but not sure if they still do.

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The Merry-Go-Round is the big start of the show now.

 

They have done a GREAT job of restoring this!

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Pretty spiffy if I do say so myself!

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They did a wonderful job of restoring all of the horses!

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One of my tasks was to sweep the leaves that had accumulated around the platform area. There were maintenance guys working on it as well as testing it. Didn't get to ride unfortunately.

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Look...a real "Bench: The Ride"!!!

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Let's check out the arcade, shall we?

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There are still lots of classic games here.

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Skee Ball is still here!

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Glad to see that they still have classic video games from my era!

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This was the stairway to the roller rink. I asked the employee in charge if there was a chance of it reopening, but unfortunately the park did not have the funding needed. Very sad, but maybe one day they can restore it. Be sure to check out the 360 view of this on their website!

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Break time is over so I need to get back to work cleaning and sweeping out the picnic pavilions.

 

Thanks for reading!

Edited by Philrad71
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Looks like a nice little park to take the kids for the day, do they still have food vendors and everything when it's open? Also I imagine the state itself doesn't run all the rides and concessions, do you know if it's a local company, individual vendors, or what? It's a very interesting state park for sure, around here our state parks are all nature or history related; it's neat that you have a State Amusement Park

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Ahhh, I love this TR! I grew up going here, my first ever amusement park, and first roller coaster. My most obscure credit. I've actually been meaning to make a TR from a trip there earlier this summer with my family and niece and hadn't gotten around to putting it together. Thanks for posting! BTW, you'll be happy to know that they still have the Dodgems. They were a hit with the niece as was the fresh popcorn. I kicked her ass at air hockey though and she wasn't too pleased about that. The swings were already gone if I recall as far back as I can remember, but I dearly miss the paratrooper. That roller coaster, is absolutely brutal. Do not recommend except for the whoriest of whores. They had a powered dragon that was new when I was maybe 7 or 8 but that's gone as well. The big slide was indeed great. Love...

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First of all...

Bench: The Ride

 

And I LOVED the Tubs-O-Fun when we had them here at Playland!

One of the (then) best flat rides I ever rode, when I was younger.

 

And that's a pretty good looking kids' coaster there, for the size that it is.

 

Looks like a great little family park.

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^^^ The park used to be privately owned until they got out from under it. The state took it over and designated as a state park in order to preserve it's historical stature. I believe that there is still a food vendor under the skating rink that is open. There is also a restaurant across the street that I have heard is pretty good.

 

^^ That is cool that you grew up going there. We're you originally from the area? Good chance that we may have seen each other there!

 

And yes, I remember the coaster to be quite violent. I only rode it once or twice because I swore that it was going to derail!

 

^ Those Tubs-O-Fun were insane, weren't they, Bill? I think that the term 'spin & puke' originated from this ride!

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^^ That is cool that you grew up going there. We're you originally from the area? Good chance that we may have seen each other there!

 

 

I'm from Cleveland but spent every summer at my folk's summer cottage on Prendergast Point (right across from Midway). It was always a big day I looked forward too in the summer getting to ride and play. Nowadays, I normally only get up to the lake for a week in July but it was great to initiate my niece into the tradition of Midway.

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^That's great! I know someone that used to live on Prendergast Point years ago.

 

Glad that you were able to introduce your niece to the park...I did the same for my niece when she was a kid. I also introduced her to Cedar Point by taking her there a few times when she was tall enough to ride all of the coasters. She LOVED it!

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That sucks to hear about the rink - I remember my wife and I went up there very early in our relationship and it was like this magical, perfectly polished throwback to a by-gone era. Figures its been closed for 8-9 years now and we had no idea.

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^ Yes, it really is too bad that they can't restore it, but the employee in charge of our cleaning team said that it had gotten pretty bad and that it would take a significant amount of funding for a complete restoration. But if they spent a good amount of money on the carousel, you never know?

 

Although we just lost our last roller rink here in Jamestown a couple of years ago due to declining profitability and poor attendance. Apparently, families and children don't find roller skating interesting anymore....kind of like bowling, it's quickly becoming part of a bygone era.

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This one's for you, Ejot!

 

Thanks Philrad!! I really enjoyed the TR and am definitely a little bummed to have to miss this place. The Tubs-O-Fun look like a blast. I love how the park is historically significant though many eras: a 19th C. trolley park, a showroom for the Herschell company, and as a continuous operation surviving many dark times for parks. Totally worth a stop! The merry-go-round is looking fantastic.

 

I am assuming the train is also a Herschell device. In late 1956 he purchased the Illinois-based Minature Train Company, who had been making these "G-16" (GM style, 16" gauge) train sets since 1946, and continued the production until about 1963. I haven't ever ridden one and will definitely check out this one wonderfully restored example someday.

 

We have a local roller rink and I'm sure to visit at least a few times a year to help support it. It's totally fun.

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You're welcome, Ejot!

 

I see that you are really up on your train history as you nailed the model! While a bit cramped to ride as an adult, it is cool how it circles a good portion of the park...and kids really seem to love it.

 

I hope that you will be able to visit someday. If you do, let me know...if you're a microbrew fan, you can't miss Southern Tier Brewery if you're in the area. We'll meet up for a beer!

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  • 1 year later...

Once again, it's time to do something good for my community, so last Wednesday, my work team headed over to the local amusement park to perform some community service!

 

For those of you that have never heard of Midway State Park, it is one of the oldest continually operating amusement parks in the country today and only one of eleven (5th oldest) remaining trolley parks.

 

In looking at the photos, it may look like a very small park (it is) and perhaps even a little rough around the edges (it is). But that's why every year I coordinate a day with the park manager for our team to go over to pitch in and help get the park ready for it's opening day of the season. In the past, we have helped sweep and clean out the picnic pavilions, cleaned around the newly-restored Herschell Merry-Go-Round (made right here in Western NY) and helped cleaned out the decorative pond/fountain. It may not seem like much, but it's for a great cause and the manager certainly appreciates a few hours of free labor!

 

This year our team got to paint! Two of us were asked to paint the recently overhauled Roto-Whip ride while the other two of my team members painted the Bumper Car building. There was also a group of four from my employer that resealed the go-kart track.

 

Some of the major restorations projects done to the park in recent years (besides the merry-go-round) was a renovation of the parks Herschell train and "station", a complete overhaul of the park's miniature golf course and relocation of the Helicopters (2016) and a complete restoration of the park's Herschell Little Dipper kiddie roller coaster & Roto-Whip ride (2017).

 

As mentioned by ejot in a previous post, Herschell rides are the prominent ride manufacturer here at Midway with kiddie classics like the Tubs-O-Fun (get your puke bucket handy), the aforementioned train and Helicopters, with boats and airplanes amongst several others.

 

I really like the fact that the park is getting the needed funding to keep it open as well as funding to keep the rides safe, freshly painted and operational. I tried to pry the one of the park's maintenance managers on what would be on the horizon for next year's project, but at this point it sounds as if it is still a secret - playing the Cedar Point tactic, I see!

 

Okay, let's get a little sneak peek at what's in store for 2017 at Midway State Park!

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Today's task...repaint the parks newly revamped Roto-Whip kiddie ride!

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Here are the inner workings of the ride. Certainly not hi-tech, but it gets the job done.

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Okay, I admit that we're no Monet, but the red portion hadn't been painted yet...we were doing the white portion first! ;-)

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My boss and engineer were tasked with painting the ride queue area for the Bumper Cars. Look - no island!

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We also got to leave our initials .

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Signage - I noticed that they don't mess around when it comes to casts on some of the rides. I believe every ride states whether they are allowed or not.

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Imagine seeing these signs at Cedar Point? Enthusiasts would be bringing pitchforks and torches. lol

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I really need to come back to the park this season to check these out. These aren't the really old model bumper cars like the ones at Knoebels, but I wonder if they are faster than the neutered versions at most theme parks?

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Time to check out the rest of the park - here are the nausea-inducing Tubs-O-Fun. Basically a smaller, stripped down version of a tea-cups ride.

 

Loved this ride as a child. So simple, yet so deliciously evil!

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The aeroplanes.

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Looks like they just took the tarps off of the kiddie boats.

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The newly remodeled train and station.

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Please use the test seat so you won't have to do the walk of shame!

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I have some great memories of riding this Tilt-A-Whirl with my family. It was my mother's favorite ride of all time (this and Gemini) and I still recall how she used to laugh so hard on this that she would cry!

 

Next to it, is a fairly recent addition: Tidal Wave, which I have learned is a 2000 Sartori Ride. In it's place, a Dragon coaster used to reside here and before that a Paratrooper ride. I still miss Paratrooper as I recall it having a fantastically fast program - like the thing was on steroids compared with other models that I have ridden.

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Love the job that they did with the Helicopter ride last year - they look great!

 

 

In the background is the Fun Slide, although the old one they used to have was the king of all slides (mentioned in my previous report).

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Cleaning this out was last year's project.

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Tugboat Paddler with the revamped miniature golf course in the background. I was going to go snap some photos of the mini-golf, but they were doing some work back there and I didn't want to get in their way.

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And the newly renovated Little Dipper coaster!

 

It boasts a new station, new paint, a cement pad...

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...and a new coaster train!

 

While not quite finished yet, I was very impressed with how these older rides are getting new lives here in the park!

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Here is the old location with the old train/station for comparison.

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The park is free admission - here are the ticket booths for the rides and mini-golf.

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Here is the Herschell carousel in all of it's restored beauty - it looks great!

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Signage for Larry.

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No brass rings like Knoebels, but still a classic.

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My hope is for a revamp of the old lakeside roller rink, but unfortunately that era may have come and gone. I still have great memories of roller skating here as a kid though!

 

Thanks for reading - hope you enjoyed the report!

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By the way....aeroplanes......really?

No, uh uh. They are ROCKET JETS!, Phil.

 

(Let them know, as soon as you can, ok? Thanks.)

 

I also loved the kids version of The Whip. And I wish they'd bring back a good

grown up version of that ride. I miss it a lot. In fact, I think some of the classic

retro flat rides could be updated easily, re-designed but maintain the same

cycle of the ride itself. And the metal look of it too. Painted right.

 

Thanks for the Pre-Opening photos, Phil!

 

 

 

 

P.S. What the heck is the Tugboat Paddler?

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^ Bill - I checked their website and came up with the attached photos. Looks like quite the workout for the little ones - kinda like pedal boats, but kids use their hands instead of feet to propel themselves.

 

Rocket Jets...or are they called Skyfighter Jets??? Hmmm....

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Borrowed from the Midway Park website.

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Borrowed from Wikipedia.

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^ Thanks Chuck...appreciate the kind words!

 

I have been e-mailing the parks manager and found out that she is also an amusement park enthusiast/historian. She told me a neat little story about the park's merry-go-round, which I thought was awesome...

 

"Our carousel is a 1946 Herschell. However, it did not start it’s life at Midway. It started at another Trolley Park on Owasco Lake in Auburn, NY. An old co-worker’s father was the last owner of that park. In 1968, that county used eminent domain to take the park and annex it to the county system while removing all amusements making it green space. There were 3 carousels: one is at Hershey Park in PA, one is scattered in collections around Long Island etc, - they didn’t know where the 3rd ended up. Then, I came here 3 years ago… found it! The records here indicate is it indeed the one from Owasco Lake and I have old pictures of it there matching up perfectly. I had the family out and they were thrilled to see it again! One of those warm-fuzzies!! :) "

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