Hello, coaster and park lovers:
I have followed the discussion here on RRC for almost a couple of
years now, but have never posted, largely because my interests are
very narrow, limited strictly to traditional parks and traditional
rides. I met many of you at Knoebel's for the PPP in October 2000,
and that day still stands out as one of the best ever. But I will
have to save my introduction for another time.
I am prompted to post this today because it has not yet hit the news,
and I know many of you will share my anguish. I received a call at
approximately 12:30 AM this morning from a friend in Lunenburg, Mark
Thompson. He was a tremendous help when I purchased the
merry-go-round frame at Whalom that last season and refurbished and
opened it. He is one set of local "eyes" keeping watch on things at
the park for me. When I received the call at that hour I knew it was
not going to be good. He had picked up a report on his scanner at
10:50 PM that the ballroom at Whalom was on fire. He raced over there
(less than 2 miles from his home) and reports that it was "fully
involved." I am not aware how bad the damage is; my feeling is that
any damage is a bad thing as it was one of the most attractive and
useful buildings left in the park. I haven't heard any more info than
It is also my understanding that the Flyer Comet roller coaster, whose
south end and loading station entrance is within twenty-five feet of
the fire scene, likely suffered no damage, as the firefighters aimed
streams of water on it as well to keep it from catching. A rainy
night also helped to contain the extent of the damage.
Of course, with the current state of the park, and its future in the
balance, how this will affect things can't be determined. It would be
a setback for some specific plans I would have liked to see
implemented for that building, whether or not Allyson's effort to save
the park succeeds. However, only the Bowens could say how it would
affect their plans. Yet, every problem also presents an opportunity.
This may present several of each, but the very least is underscoring
the need for people to get involved to save the park from development
before any more is lost. I would hope, but can't predict or control,
that a renewed tide of publicity for the preservation effort flows out
of this tragedy. (Of course, the naysayers will point to the park as
a "deepening blight" that "urgently needs to be dealt with." How can
that type of person enjoy anything in life?)
I am hoping that a rising level of public sentiment comes out of this.
May help to keep the greedy developer(s) at bay.
More to follow.