Friday, October 20, 2006

Whalom Park: Rest In Peace

Whalom Park DemolitionWhalom Park, a small 100 year old amusement park in Lunenburg Ma had its greatest monument, The Flying Comet roller coaster, torn down this week. Though the park has been closed for a few years already, this is finally the closing chapter.

Here's a good story in the Boston Globe on it.

I grew up just a few blocks from Whalom Park in a little section of Leominster called Whalom District and spent many weekends playing skeeball with my dad and going on the roller coaster and Pirates Den over and over as a kid. Each year I looked forward to opening day, that was always Easter weekend and featured hidden egg hunts throughout the park. As I got older, me and my friends had huge collections of string and metal tags that served as the all-day entrance to the park. We would scour the parking lots for discarded tags and ask people leaving the park each day for their bracelets for our collections. If a week went by without me running around Whalom, we must have been out of town. As I got older still it became the site of my first job too. Because it was a service industry you could work the concessions and weekend picnic area at age 13 or 14. That's when I learned never to eat at parks.
The park was the locale of my first adventures being drunk, meeting girls, getting in fights... all the low-end traditions of growing up in central mass. Combined with the nearby Video World arcade and the drive-in --- all the best trappings of a misspent youth were available.
I finally grew out of the place before I was old enough to be a ride operator - one of my dream jobs while a tyke. I also remember seeing the flames in the sky when a big fire hit the outing and storage area in the early 80s. Though I was in high school then and now cynical about what a lame boring park it was, that fire was a very sad thing to see.
From the roller rink, miniature golf, bumper cars, fun house (which seemed to always be blasting Boston or Van Halen), giant slide, turnpike, girls, arcade, beers... man I forgot how much fun I had at Whalom Park.

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