Sunday, February 17, 2008

Lincoln Park, RIP...

A couple of weeks ago, in the email news headlines I get from the Boston Globe, was an article about a potential mixed use development in Dartmouth Massachusetts. The plan for The Village at Lincoln Park calls for 308 units of housing, including rental apartments and mixed commercial property, in a “traditional neighborhood development” approach.

The development site would be on the acreage that was once Lincoln Park, a smallish (by Six Flags standards) amusement park which had its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, and which I visited many times growing up. The park closed in September 1987, after declining revenues caused by larger, newer amusement parks; a dubious safety record (including a death on the park’s roller coaster, the Comet; and indifference by the ownership.

In the twenty years since it closed, almost nothing has changed at Lincoln Park, meaning nearly everything that wasn't sold off, or burned or torn down by vandals is still there. And with lax security and fencing, it was/is fairly easy to get in. After reading the Globe article, I Google’d Lincoln Park, and found pictures people had posted of the park back when it was open, and others who have traveled through the park as it sits now, overgrown, rotting, and frankly, haunting. Here are some examples of how it looks now:

The Comet. The first hill collapsed under snow load in 2004

Pizza Snack Shack

Loading platform for the Comet

The Comet

I think this was the popcorn stand

The Comet, from the other side of the Park.

The building that covered the carousel.

Anyway, if you want more, there are hundred of photos on the web of Lincoln Park now, and in years past. You can Google it yourself, but, for example, here’s one site with over 100 photos:

Ok, one more picture:

Frankly, I’m not sure why this is so fascinating to me. Is it a reminder that you can’t go home again? Or a taste of my own mortality? Or perhaps just a morbid curiosity? It is hard to reconcile the pictures I see now with the memories I have of the Park, although I recognize, even among the damage and dilapidation, the Park I once knew. It’s also amazing to me that the town has let it sit like this for 20 years, and no one has gotten seriously hurt in there and sued the town.

By now, either I’ve piqued your curiosity, or you’re wondering whether I’ve lost my marbles. So, feel free to explore some more, or just delete.

More another time.