Although I could show you around the eastern end of Chester and point out a few things which still remain from the Rock Springs Park era, like owner C.A. Smith’s house on the terraced hillside above Pyramus Street, or the rustic log house, once the family home of Bob and Virginia Hand and their two sons, or even the spring itself which continues to flow unceremoniously into a drainage ditch above Chester’s iconic World’s Largest Teapot, it would be impossible, none-the-less, to tour the old Victorian park or its beautifully landscaped grounds in any meaningful way, as it was completely erased in 1974 to make way for an onramp and cloverleaf exchange to the Jennings Randolph Bridge.
That is why I chose to organize my book, Images of America: Rock Springs Park, as not only a historical tour, but also a virtual guided one. In the book we meet at the entrance gate (pictured above) and together walk the shaded paths of the lower picnic area, where I point out the Old Mill Ride and its tragic history. Then we stop to watch an afternoon matinee at the Summer Theater, followed by a quick dip the huge swimming pool. Once calmed by the serene setting of the spring lake lagoon and the log bridge along Lover’s Lane, we take one last cool drink from the ancient rock spring and climb the steep steps nearby to visit the noise and excitement of the upper park. There, we make our way along a busy midway, where the screams of thrill-seekers rounding the final turn on the Cyclone and the sweet smell of cotton candy, buttery popcorn, and the burning flash of electric sparks coming from the Dodgem car pavilion, excite the senses and force us to hand over five dollars for a strip of ride tickets at the ticket booth.
Buy a copy of Images of America: Rock Springs Park and take a stroll down memory lane.
Here’s want others have said:
“Great book. I literally absorbed it in two evenings before bedtime. You did a great job on the research and will presented text along with the imagery. And thanks for sharing your personal feelings on the excitement, and thrill and deep nostalgia for Rock Springs Park.” ~Will
“I found the book very interesting, and well done. The natural beauty of the area and the landscaping of the park must have been quite a sight in the early 1900s. I liked how the book was organized, showing distinct eras of the park, and how it changed over the years. I love history and had a lot of fun reading this book. Thanks for writing it Joe!” ~Sam
“I had read from my hometown's online newspaper that the author had been in town to sign books. I wanted to purchase a copy because I grew up around that the time the park was well visited. The stories where very interesting; I really enjoyed the photos. ~John
“We all thank Joe for his time to write this book, this is how things stay alive for our kids, who cannot believe what all Chester had. Thanks Joe, you made a lot of people happy. I rode the rollercoaster, must say never road another. Lol.” ~Mary
“I can't lay the book down either. Joe did a great job documenting the history of the park.” ~Kassy