Even before Jane’s Carousel was installed in Brooklyn Bridge Park, groups traveled from Ohio to DUMBO to be reunited with the carousel of their childhood, beautifully restored by Jane Walentas. Philadelphia Toboggan Company’s 1922 PTC #61 was originally installed in Youngstown, Ohio’s Idora Park, which closed after a devastating fire. The Walentas’ purchase of the carousel at the park’s 1984 auction kept the ride from being broken up.
Seeing an ad by Jim Amey on a used ride site seeking ride cars and other Idora Park artifacts for his homegrown museum reminded us of the Ohioans poignant visits. When ATZ contacted Amey, he said the Idora property was still vacant after 30 years and the park’s rides had gone the way of the four winds.
I was in my mid 20s and living overseas when Idora Park ‘died.’ I was sad to hear about Idora’s fire and closure, but it took quite a few years before I realized just how much I (and Youngstown) had lost when Idora Park disappeared. I returned to Youngstown in 1993 and my wife and I walked the Idora Park property. It was heartbreaking to see the destruction and decay. I had been to this park so many times as a child and as a teenager. I worked at Idora Park in the Football Throw game and the Skee-Ball game in the summer of 1976 – my last real visit to Idora Park. Now it was gone. I think that walk of ours was when the seed was first planted that I needed to try to preserve whatever parts of Idora Park I could find, to preserve and share the memory of Idora Park.
Amey started to find Idora Park ride cars, posters and ephemera through people he met via the message boards at IdoraPark.org. His collection includes one of only three front cars to the Wildcat roller coaster, a rear car to the wooden Jackrabbit roller coaster, a Silver Rocket Ship, a Tilt-A-Whirl car, three Caterpillar cars, the 12-foot-tall metal Nutcracker Soldiers that guarded Kiddieland, the entire Kiddieland train and all of its tracks (seen in the 1952 photo below) and a 6-foot-long Idora Park neon sign.
“My wife Toni and I are going to put up a building to display our Idora Park collection during certain parts of the year,” says Amey, who plans to retire in the Youngstown area, where he owns property in Canfield, Ohio. “We spoke to the zoning department and the director there is excited about our plan and he’s ready to help us make this a reality. I want people to have the chance to come and relive a little of Idora Park. I’m having large banners made up from photographs that were taken while Idora Park was operating. Those banners will serve as backdrops for the rides that will be on display. We’re still in the planning stages, but I expect that the building will be in place within the next 12 months.”
Since Idora Park closed nearly 30 years ago and it is difficult to identify things as being from the park, Amey is also looking for what he calls “Idora Park-Identical, or Idora Park-Like artifacts” including signs, ride parts and games. His email address is jamesamey[AT]aol[DOT]com.
Related posts on ATZ…
February 14, 2013: Photo of the Day: Lettering Saved from Demolished Arcade
January 21, 2013: Rare & Vintage: 1960s Chance Skydiver Car
May 18, 2012: Rare & Vintage: Pinto Bros. Pony Cart from Coney Island