About Me

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Rock Springs Park Book Coming 2010

After four years of research and five months of intensive work interviewing fans and having lots of "scanning parties," my book about Rock Springs Park is only days away from being sent to the publisher. The book is expected to hit the stores next spring coinciding with the 40th Anniversary of the park's final season -1970.

Here's the information as it will appear on the back cover of Images of America: Rock Springs Park:


Once described as “a place where god and man went fifty-fifty to produce perfection,” Rock Springs Park was an amusement park located along the Lincoln Highway in Chester, West Virginia. In its hey-day this unique panhandle playground attracted twenty thousand visitors a day with a number of popular attractions including the World’s Greatest Scenic Railway, the Cyclone Roller Coaster, and the classic hand-carved 1927 Dentzel Carousel. The book features over 200 rarely seen images and portrays the life of Rock Springs Park from its earliest history as a Native American hunting ground to its development as a local trolley park and full-fledged amusement park. Rock Springs Park hosted business and community picnic excursions, free-acts, and celebrity performers, such as Bobby Vinton who remembers the dances as “a very romantic time…almost like something in the movies. There was the carousel, the guys in white shoes and girls that were all dressed up with their crinoline skirts.”


Joseph A. Comm is an elementary gifted support teacher with an interest in local history. He studied theater arts and education at the University of Pittsburgh and graduated with BA and MAT degrees. He grew up in Chester at a time when the sun-bleached skeleton of the Cyclone bordered his school’s ball field and remembers well the many tales of Rock Springs Park.

A recent article in the East Liverpool Review can be seen at this website.

6 comments:

Sam A. said...

Hi Joe - look forward to your book, as well as catching up on your blog. Mom sent me the article from the Review, it looks cool. My memories of the park are much like yours. I do remember actually riding some kid rides there when I was really little, but not much else aside from the coaster there along the road. I have an original ride ticket from the park too that we found in my grandfather's room after he passed away, but I'm not sure where it's at.

Sam Allison

Average Joe said...

Sam,

Great to hear from you! I could not have done this without all those hours we spent making Star Trek books. LOL!

I would love to find out how you're doing. Please feel free to email me at JandLComm@comcast.net.

Joe

Will said...

Looks like I found this site a little late. But a good find all the same. I've been a resident of East Liverpool all my life. Unfortunately I was born after the parks closing (1971). I do have family whom are part of the ELHistorical Society and have been interested in the history of the park (and the old Laurel Park Zoo near Homer Laughlin China). My mother was the last class (at ELHS) to hold a dance at the ballroom.
I also work with a woman who's grandfather had taken the aerial photo of the park in the late 60's. She also has a few great photos of her as a child, her mom complete with beehive hair on the (then) anemic central area where the kittie rides were.
I took that aerial photo into Google Earth and superimposed the park over the now bi-way rt30. (It had the high school in the photo so it was pretty easy to match it up. Very interesting. I'd still like to know exactly where the lake was and where the pool sat.
Anyway, I am really looking forward to your book.

Average Joe said...

Will,

The aerial photo you mentioned is in the book courtesy of the new Memory Lane Room in the old Chester High School. I wrote the book as guided tour, so you will have a good sense of the location of the lake and pool. There is a postcard image of the pool under construction in 1904 and a photograph of what little remained in the lake area during the park's last season, 1970. (The pool never reopened after WWII due to the shortage of materials needed to fix it.)

Thanks for leaving your comment. Originally this site included more historical information, but as I look forward to the book's release on May 24, 2010, I hope to tell about my experience writing it and talking to people like you.

Joe

Megen said...

Just saw a show on PBS about old amusement parks and it jogged my memory of Rock Springs Park and how my grandparents used to take me there when I was little. Wondered if there was anything on the internet about it and was happy to find this. I would love to read your book and will look for it - I'm guessing it is out now?

Megen Smith
Indianapolis, IN

Average Joe said...

Megen, I'm sure you were watching a Rick Sebak documentary. Rick was a big inspiration to me and my interest in local history. On his blog about the Lincoln Highway, I asked him about Rock Springs Park. Read it at at the bottom of http://www.wqed.org/tv/sebak/blog/2009/07/2-socializing-on-a-thursday-evening/