Rocky Glen: Early Amusements (1903 - 1914)

-- Introduction -- Early Years (1885 - 1902) -- Laurel Line Connection (1902-1903) -- Early Amusements (1903 - 1914) --

At the same time the Laurel Line was finishing its construction of the Rocky Glen station (circa 1903), Frothingham teamed up with Frederick Ingersoll, of the Pittsburg Construction Company. Ingersoll was quickly rising to fame as he built or helped construct several amusement parks across the country, including the Luna Parks in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1904, Rocky Glen Park opened as an amusement center, and was able to draw crowds from the new Laurel Line running right next to the park. Early amenities likely including picnic facilities, boating on the lake, various concessions, and several amusement rides.

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For the 1905 season, Rocky Glen would debut its first roller coaster, an unnamed figure eight style wooden coaster, likely employing the side friction design popular of the day. Although the exact dimensions are unknown, the ride would certainly have been tame by modern day standards. But in 1905, the likely 30 or so foot high structure with drops ranging up to 10 feet would have been an incredible thrill for the amusement seeking public.

By the end of that season, a rift between Frothingham and Ingersoll had developed, and the partnership was ended. Ingersoll went on to design and build several other amusement parks, including Luna Park in Scranton, which opened in 1906.

Various postcards from the first decade of the 1900s show a variety of scenes in Rocky Glen, including dirt paths lined with benches, rock walls and flower beds, a large pier and boating on the lake, and the various amusement rides. At least one postcard shows that Rocky Glen was destination in the winter as well – a huge crowd of ice skaters are seen enjoying the frozen lake.

(Some early postcards and advertisements used the spelling ‘Rocky Glenn’. It’s unclear if this was just a random error, or if for a time the park was actually billing itself as such.)

The first few seasons saw rides like the Aerial Swings, miniature railroad, shoot the chutes, carousel, a two or three story slide, and the figure eight roller coaster. Other buildings, including a dance hall and various concessions, are also seen.

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A great number of postcard images featured the Swiss Chalet, a large two story building along the lakefront that looked like it could have come out of the Swiss Alps. At some point, a bronze plaque was attached to one of the stones on the building, and read:
‘On this stone Arthur Frothingham conceived the idea bringing enjoyment and laughter to the people of the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valleys’

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Each season for almost a century, thousands upon thousands of visitors to Rocky Glen would spend hours each summer enjoying the different rides and attractions, and smile and laugh the day away.

NEPA Defunct Park List

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