Long Branch Pier
The pier was popular among fishermen and club goers who enjoyed late nights at "The Pier Pub" night club. From the late 50's -- all through the 60's and into the 70's, it was the home of Leon's Amusements, a popular "penny" arcade that was dominated inside by a merry-go-round along with numerous skee-ball, pin ball and "spin and win" machines. The pier itself was owned by the Sowul family until May 1979, when developers Pat Cicalese and Carmen Ricci teamed together to buy the pier and build the Haunted Mansion, inspired by the Brigantine Castle in nearby Brigantine. The new pier had an arcade, several retail stores, a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) haunted mansion, a McDonald's, Big Al's Hot Dogs & Lemon Aide and Junior's Restaurant. The pier was heavily advertised in New Jersey and New York. By 1985, Kid's World was introduced, it was an amusement park inspired by Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. The park featured a pay-one-price system, that included both the Haunted Mansion on the Pier and the Giant Waterslide and other attractions across the street. That section of Ocean Avenue was closed and became part of the park so kids could go from one side of the park to the other without fear of traffic. After the change, the advertisements changed from gruesome mansion photos, to happy, family-friendly photos of kids laughing.
In the end
On June 8, 1987, a gas leak and an electrical glitch sparked a fire under the pier. The heavy winds that day caused the fire to spread, destroying the whole pier. Luckily, nobody was injured.
There were rebuilding plans for the pier, but with almost no insurance, and no banks offering to pay for the project, the plans would never come to be. In 2001, after 14 years of slow deterioration, the remnants were torn down and replaced by a mixed-use shopping/dining/entertainment complex, Pier Village, which opened in 2005.
In 2005, it was announced that a new pier is in the works for the waterfront of Long Branch.
- "Haunted Mansion". darkinthepark.com. Retrieved 12 January 2011.