Saturday, October 31, 2009

Haunted House Souvenir Building

Reader Mark M. wrote this Halloween post about a theme park with thrills and chills.

“With Halloween looming, I started looking around my collection of miniature architecture for a location that might have some double meaning this time of year. My eyes landed on the small resin replica of the Haunted House from Camden Park in Huntington W.Va.
Camden Park originated in 1903 as a picnic ground for the Camden Interstate Railway Company along the banks of Twelve Pole creek between Huntington, West Virginia and Ashland, Kentucky. Looking to boost rider ship on the weekend, picnic and amusement parks popped up along trolley lines around the country. Camden evolved from a picnic ground to an amusement park at one point the park boasted having a small zoo, a swimming pool, and a roller rink in addition to twenty-eight rides. Camden Park has survived as the only amusement park in the state of West Virginia and the only park in the country with a 2000-year-old Adena Indian Burial Mound. Camden Park is a very small, but what it lacks in size it makes up in nostalgia - which many modern amusement parks have lost. The park is home to two American Coaster Enthusiasts Classic roller coasters and an original Whip ride manufactured in Coney Island NY. Camden Park has made some renovations in the past few years and continues to add new attractions. What the future holds is still uncertain as the local joke for the past forty years is that the current year will be the last year it will be open. The Haunted House at Camden Park is the second ride of its type built in the park. The Pretzel Amusement Ride Company sometime around 1947 designed the original Haunted House ride; the single rail dark ride operated until sometime in the mid 1960’s. At this time the park redesigned the Haunted House into the gravity-powered ride that exists today. During the renovation the park used the original Pretzel Cars and added a chain operated lift hill to take the cars to the top of a small hill. The cars would then make a turn descend down hill and up another hill and back into the twisty turns that most amusement park’s haunted houses are known for. Camden Park is one of only two amusement parks in the country that feature gravity-powered cars and the only park in the country where an employee must physically catch the cars as they come out of the ride, often shouting “Boo!” The Haunted House at Camden Park is also one of a few that have the original mural art and exterior facade designed by the well-known Haunted House artist Bill Tracy. A miniature replica of the Haunted House measures 3 inches long, 2.5 inches deep, and 2 inches high. The replica is available from their online gift shop at Camden Park’s website for $5.99 plus shipping. The turn-around was not the quickest during my ordering experience. “ – Mark.

1 comment:

DarkAngel said...

I used to have the haunted house souvenir replica , sadly it was stolen years ago. I tried to go to the online gift shop to buy another but it says error. Do you know where I could buy one by chance?

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