An End To Whalom Park

The demise of an old time amusement park where many summers were spent
September 10, 2009
I read an article a ways back on here written by vkimo called "The Toll Tomorrow Takes" it was about abandoned amusement parks, stores, arcades so on and so forth. It reminded me of an amusement park I used to go to when I was a kid named Whalom Park. It closed down in 2000 but I spent much of my childhood there and i'd like to talk to you guys about it.

Whalom Park opened in Lunenburg Massachusetts in 1893, it held one of the countries oldest merry-go rounds and the park itself is (or was) the 8th oldest in the country. Whalom was also the place I spent most of my adolescence. I lived in Lunenburg MA and every fall we would have "Whalom Night" they would give away tickets in school to the park and everyone from school would be there. You would meet up with your friends and run around the park, a favorite of my friends and me was to go through the haunted house repeatedly because they would have one of those rotating cylinders you could play in until one of the carnies told you to leave.

The merry-go round was always fun, it was the one where you could reach out and grab the rings as you went by, all the horses were hand crafted from wood. They had an old wooden roller-coaster called the comet, when you got the the top of the ride right before you would hit the slopes you'd have a great view of the lake that would be just enough distraction to take your mind off the horrifically dangerous sounds emitted by the 80 year old wooden roller-coaster (creaky wood, loose screws that type of thing) and you could just enjoy the beauty of the park before being plunged through the wooden labyrinth of tracks into the mysterious pepsi sponsored black hole and then coming to a screeching halt at the end.

We would go to Whalom steadily throughout the summers it was a great place to go for water slides on a hot day. I pumped about 20 bucks in quarters into the Lethal Enforcers game in the arcade one time so i could have the high-score. It was a wonderful place to go when i was a kid but like all good things they come to an end. The late 90's birthed the popularity of larger amusements park such as six flags where they would have an abundance of thrill rides and corporate sponsorship slowly weaning out the mom and pop amusement park if you will. Now you had to pay 3.50 for a bottle of water and wait for an hour to go on one ride.

Whalom Park was no exception during this changing of the guard, the park had many financial troubles and decided to shut down and sell the merry-go round horse by horse to pay the piper. The picture below shows a couple of corporate drones dragging away one of the prized horses bringing an end to the joy it brought to millions of people for over a century.

During the parks slow demise the fun-house was subject to fire by the hands of teenagers and many a bulldozer. The park was purchased by the Global Developments company, I don't believe a more ominous or chilling name exists in a corporation. 240 gated condominiums will be replacing the park.

I went back with a friend to take pictures of the park and all that lies there now is a lot of rubble and some broken streetlights. we walked around trying to imagine where rides in the park once stood. I couldn't get over the fact that something so seemingly monumental in my past was now un recognizably destroyed and will never be coming back. It was like going to an open casket wake, you can see the body of the person but it hurts seeing it with no personality or life and the more you want them back the more frustrating it gets. like anything in life that you lose you can only reflect back on the good things to extract some level of comfort, every now and then i can think back and enjoy the park in my memories where things good or bad always seem better.

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