|Location||Elmira, New York, U.S.A.|
|Owner||City of Elmira|
|Opened||July 4, 1926|
|Area||15 acres (6.1 ha)|
Eldridge Park, located in Elmira, New York, was a famous amusement park around the turn of the 20th century. Covering roughly 15 acres (6.1 ha), it was dedicated to the memory of a local physician and was in common usage late into the 20th century.
Early in the 21st century, another local physician and friends decided to resurrect the central element of Eldridge Park, the carousel. Their efforts have been largely successful and they have moved on to further enhancements and improvements of the park. It is rumored that the Eldridge Park Carousel is the world's fastest, though this is not yet confirmed. It is, however, one of only 18 remaining carousels in the United States with brass ring feeders.
In the early 1960s, the park included the now-famous carousel, an outdoor stage, an extensive network of picnic areas, a wooden roller coaster, haunted house, shooting gallery, bumper cars, several rides for young and old alike, Jasper II (a boat ride on the park's lake), eateries, a miniature golf course, and a small-gauge train that ran through the park, in addition to several other rides and attractions.
Eldridge Lake was believed to be bottomless in local folklore and, that there was an underground water tunnel that leads at least 20 miles (32 km) to the north, to Seneca Lake, one of the nearby Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. However, the average depth of the lake is 39 feet (12 m) and there are no known tunnels that connect Eldridge Lake with Seneca Lake.
Eldridge Park has several soccer fields, used by the local travel soccer club, Soaring Capital Soccer Club, a skate park, and a baseball field.
Origins of the Park
A pharmacist, Dr. Edwin Eldridge, purchased the land where the park is today and built a sculpture garden. The city of Elmira later bought the land in 1889, after Eldridge died.
On Thursday, February 23, 2003 a local group announced Thursday it has launched a campaign to restore the historic Eldridge Park carousel. The carousel was built in the late 1890s and installed at Eldridge Park in 1924. The former amusement park deteriorated in the 1980s. In 1989, the carousel's owners sold the hand-carved wooden animals at auction. Reviving the ride to its former glory is the dream of Robert Lyon and other members of the Eldridge Park Carousel Preservation Society.He walked inside the old carousel building, once a flurry of activity. The park used to be quite a draw, with a roller coaster, bumper cars and tightrope walkers. He expected to find the building empty, and was surprised to see the carousel mechanism still in place, Mary Lyon said. All that were missing were the carousel animals. Within months, the Carousel Preservation Society formed, and Lyon was in the process of acquiring hand-carved horses, and they arrived on April 23, 2003. After only 5 months of work the carousel was dedicated and was open for the public on July 4, 2003. The work would still continue on the carousel to make sure every part was perfect and was an exact replica of the original. (This seems to be plagiarism?)
On May 26, 2006 a massive group of people gathered at Eldridge Park for the official grand opening of the Eldridge Park Carousel. With a dedication ceremony headed up by NBC News anchor and Elmira native Brian Williams, they revealed the carousel to the public as "An American Centerpiece Reborn."
Between 2003 and 2006 many other things were added including entrances, a gift shop, a stage, restrooms, park benches, and fountains.
In February 2007 the Eldridge Park Carousel Preservation Society announced that they would renovate the former whip building and turn it into a dance hall.
In 2007 the park announced that they would rebuild another ride for the park. Jasper II was a boat ride around the Lake located in the center of the park. Jasper II was built and opened on Memorial Day weekend 2008. They also introduced an new old fashioned arcade in 2008.
For the 2009 season there would be yet another addition to the park. The dragon paddleboats, were introduced on Memorial Day weekend 2009. A concessions building was also added.
In May 2010, the park announced that a new miniature golf course would be created. It opened that summer. The course has a traditional eighteen holes, as well as scenery including fountains, ponds, stones, flowers, and a waterfall. A miniature train rade was also built to circle around the course.
In 2011, Eldridge Park added a new horse to the park's carousel menagerie, named "America." This horse, donning stars and stripes, was unveiled on September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. The horse was added in memory of all of those who lost their lives on that day.
On March 13, 2012 the park named Ryan Alo, a Business Teacher at Southside High School, the new manager of the park. While there weren't any major enhancements to Eldridge Park for the 2011 season, the preservation society is still in planning for many more new projects. In the summer of 2012, the Thunderbird Flying Scooters returned to the park! While they no longer fly over Eldridge Lake, they remain an extremely popular ride.
The opening of the park for the 2013 season saw a complete facelift for the Eldridge Midway. Instead of pot holed blacktop, cement pavers, gardening, and Victorian style lights were debuted. Along with a brand new midway, the park saw the return of the children's Pony Cart ride and the opening of the Lakeside Café. This café brought the park food to a whole new level with mouth watering wraps, the return of a hearty Eldridge Fry, and much more! By the June 29 fireworks, the park will be opening the new Eldridge Creamery in the Carousel Building, featuring Purity Ice Cream and a 50's style décor.
The current version of the Eldridge Park carousel boasts 56 animals available for riding, as well as two dragon benches. Each animal has a name. They are listed below.
Alec - America - Babs - Bashful - Biscuit - Black Seinglend - Bob - Bosco - Butch - Cavalier - Charlotte - Chester - Clare - Dewey - Dusty - Eddie - Ernie - Faith - Frankie - Frivolie Folie - Garnet I - Garnet II - Georgette - Godfrey - Grace - Graham - Gruff - Hope - Inspiration - Kathie - Kingpin - Lucky Star - Majestic - Mary Kay - Old Glory - Oliver - Otha Yo Nih - Patronus - Pegasus - Prophet - Roar - Sebastian - Scout - Silas - Silver - Socks - Spirit - Sugar Candy - Suncatcher - Sylvia - Tennessee - Trois Femme - View from a Carousel - Westward - Willow - Zoe
- HELEN M. SAMSON. "From the Past: Fact or Fiction". Retrieved June 12, 2012.
- "Eldridge Park". Chemung County History. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
- http://www.stargazette.com/article/20120313/NEWS01/203130350/Improvements-coming-Eldridge-Park-Elmira?odyssey=tab|topnews%7ctext%7cLocal%20News. Missing or empty