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Friday, July 29, 2011

The Ugly Side of Amusement Park History

It is a sad reality that many amusement parks were segregated and only became integrated due to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Some parks in the nation were strictly segregated for their entire histories and closed rather than integrate. Kennywood Park in nearby Pittsburgh closed its large swimming pool for this reason. But, as far as I have been able to determine, Rock Springs Park was always integrated, which makes the story below from The Beaver Daily Times of July 23, 1907 all the more inconceivable.This unfortunate incident appears to be the fault of either the person who booked the trip or the steamship company. It is not clear that it has anything to do with any restrictive policy of Rock Springs Park.

Although Chester was not as diverse as other communities in the area, many African American families visited the park, especially when companies like Globe Brick held their annual picnics there.

(Images courtesy of Rich Brookes.)

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