Wednesday 11 July 2012, North Dartmouth, MA
– P Flaherty
The Comet of Lincoln Park in North Dartmouth takes its last bow to the wrecking ball.
Today the final demise of the Comet has come to fruition. After sitting abandoned for nearly 25 years and having succumbed to the elements, the remaining structure of the once vibrant coaster came to a crashing end.
Lincoln Park in North Dartmouth Ma opened in 1894, when the Union Street Railway Company built the park, as a way to increase weekend ridership. The Comet is the last remaining structure on the site.
The Comet, was the last work of the Vernon Keenan (designer), and Harry Baker (contractor) team, their first being the Coney Island Cyclone, which still stands today. The Comet came to life in 1946 during the heyday or Golden Age of amusement parks, and served as an integral part of Lincoln Parks vitality over the years. There were many controversies in the early years, including a law suit, because of the similarities the Comet shared with the Cyclone. Early names for the Roller Coaster included Cyclone, but that was nixed because of the legal actions.
The Comet stood tall and proud for over 40 years thrilling and terrifying many generations of park goers. For me and many in Southern New England, this was their first real coaster.
I remember many school outings to the park, and the untold/unload reload cycles taken on her. The coaster itself, was a thrill with all the perceived danger that goes along with a great design. She was a Twister type coaster with plenty of really good airtime, banking curves, and some unexpected twists. This always kept riders in a state of anticipation, and the nature of this ride was somewhat violent, in that riders were in a constant state of motion whether in a positive or negative G force or a lateral slapping around the car. There was never more than a brief moment calm before you experienced the next thing.
Near the end of her run, in 1985, Lincoln Park was part of the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) annual convention (Coaster Con VIII) celebrating parks and coasters of New England that year. Other Parks that were part of the Coaster Con included parks that have since vanished from the New England landscape. They included Rocky Point, Whalom Park, and Mountain Park (Lincoln Parks sister park in Holyoke).
The fall of 1987 was the last time the coaster operated, since then many of the original structures in the park have burned down or been vandalized and fallen into a dangerous state of disrepair. The very last run of the Comet resulted in a crash of the cars coming into the station, hanging up on the brake run. The likely cause may have been due to lack of maintenance under the management that took over in the 1980\’s. No one was hurt luckily, but it certainly was the end of an era.
Fortunately during the early 2000\’s the amusement park Little A-Merrick-A (in Wisconsin) tried to make a bid to buy and relocate the Comet, alas it was too late and the elements had taken their toll on the structure. Little A-Merrick-A did however do a full site survey with the intent to eventually resurrect a replica, and purchased the original coaster trains (which are in storage). To date these plans have not taken shape, and with the current changes in the parks management it is unclear whether this will remain one of their goals. All the coaster enthusiasts and fans are hoping that the Comet does one day rise to thrill future generations.
This is pretty hard for me to watch, its a bit rough but needed to be documented
Marion Millwork will be salvaging as much of the wood and hardware as possible recycling it into one of a kind pieces of furniture, moulding and millwork. The lumber used to build the roller coaster was clear vertical grain fir which is known for its tight straight grain and beautiful warm colors.
Marion Millwork is located in Marion, MA and can be reached at 508-748-0700.