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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Rock Spring's Own Green Lantern

As the latest summer superhero movie hits theaters, I am reminded that Rock Springs Park had its own “Green Lantern” starting in 1927.

I first read about the Green Lantern Restaurant in Rock Springs Park in Roy C. Cashdollar's History of Chester: The Gateway to the West, Part 2. Roy wrote, "The street cars ran around the loop and discharged passengers in front of the main gate and the Green Lantern Restaurant." Then, while researching the book, I was reminded of its existence by R.Z. Macdonald. His father, C.C. Macdonald, owned and operated the park starting in 1926, following the successful C.A. Smith years. According to Cashdollar, “In 1926, C.C. McDonald [sic], owner of the Summit Park in Akron, bought the grounds and proceeded to eliminate some of the antique equipment and introduced other rides.”

Although, I have examined and scanned hundreds of photographs and postcards of Rock Springs Park, I have never seen a picture of the Green Lantern. When I mention the restaurant to those who knew the park today, they don’t seem to recall that it was ever there.

A close-up view of the aerial photograph (above) which was taken during the Macdonald Years, shows what I believe to be the Green Lantern (green arrow points to the building). Notice all the Model Ts lining the trolley loop and a trolley making a turn into the park off of Carolina Avenue.
In his first History of Chester book, Cashdollar notes on page 113, "A fine restaurant called the 'Lantern Inn' was operated in the loop at the park entrance for many years. This was in the building originally constructed as a refreshment stand and waiting room for the street cars." That waiting station is shown on the postcard images above and below.

I enjoyed comic books as a kid but was never a collector. I know little of the superhero called "The Green Lantern" as he was featured in D.C. Comics and I read mostly Marvel, but I do know he had some sort of ring of power that gave him super abilities. I wonder if it could render him invisible or hard to see like the Green Lantern in Rock Springs Park.

If anyone reading this blog has a photograph of the restaurant, I would love to see it.

Which Came First? Rock Springs Park’s Green Lantern was constructed inside the old trolley loop waiting station in 1927, while the Green Lantern (Alan Scott) made his first appearance in All-American Comics #16 thirteen years later in July 1940.

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