PINE ISLAND PARK
Opened on August 2nd 1902, the Pine Island Amusement Park was commissioned by the Manchester Light and Power Company to increase tourism to the city, as well as to “bring joy” to those already here. As a trolley park, business was generated to the companies as they would ferry people across the city to the amusement park. The trolleys would pick visitors up at the Town Hall plaza and whisk them away on an 18 minute journey across town to their final destination. Enjoyment seekers from out of town took the train to the city, from various locations like Boston or other Mass. and NH cities, and could walk from the depot to a nearby trolley station. The park, however, was not only geared toward sundry travelers or young kids, the park owners and operators encouraged big businesses to hold company outings. They believed that if the company could spring for a day of amusement, then their workers would be happier and more productive. The original park closed in 1963, ending an era of excitement, and doling out the land to various prospective businesses. Today, the Pine Island Park is known as a playground and nature trail facility located directly on Pine Island. The park of today is located just behind the original location.
Additional information on Pine Island Pond can be found by visiting the SEPP page on the Environmental Protection Division Webpage. Please click here to be redirected.
For directions click here.
· The “Honeymoon Express” – A Ferris wheel with a height of 60 feet. The car on this Ferris wheel were named after famous (and lesser known) cities from around the world.
· There was a large carousel upon the grounds of the park, featuring a variety of seating options. There were sleighs and horses, very common fare, as well as hand-carved lions, tigers and other “marvelous critters”. This particular carousel was known for its speed and visitor to the park risked bruises to attempt to obtain the brass rings while riding.
· The Figure 8 – Pine Island’s original wooden rollercoaster. Open from 1902 to around 1950.
· The Wildcat – The Park’s second wooden coaster operated from the late 1920’s to around 1960.
· The early 1950’s saw the park’s first steel rollercoaster which operated until the park closed.
· The Park also featured a roller skating rink, a swan pond and small paddle-boats that were able to be taken out around the pond.
· In 1907, William Ulrich crossed a 500 foot wire suspended across the pond
· 1909, “Aeronaut” George Busher fell 1000 feet to his death in the pond when his parachute failed to open after jumping out of a hot air balloon.
· 1910, “Beppo” the trained bear broke from his chain and ran about the crowds watching his performance.
· 1912, a dirigible became unstable and crashed into the current rollercoaster.
History of Pine Island Park researched and written by: Max B. from Manchester Memorial High School Class of 2011.