Canobie Lake Park
|Slogan||Just for fun|
|Location||Salem, New Hampshire, United States|
|Opened||August 23, 1902|
|Operating season||May– Late October |
Canobie Lake Park is an amusement park in Salem, New Hampshire, located about 31 miles (50 km) north of Boston. Founded as a trolley park on the shore of Canobie Lake on 1902, the park most prominently featured botanical gardens, with few amusement rides. Three local families currently run the park, which draws visitors from throughout the New England region. Canobie Lake Park's age and history inspired author Stephen King to use rides and elements from the park in his Joyland novel. It is one of only thirteen trolley parks still operating in the United States as of 2019.
After the automobile became the most popular mode of travel in the United States, the trolley line serving the park was closed. Attendance in the park declined until it was purchased by Patrick J. Holland. He installed a wooden roller coaster named Yankee Cannonball in 1936, a ride which was designated as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark by American Coaster Enthusiasts in 2013. The park recovered, and the Canobie Corkscrew was installed in 1987, after being relocated from the Old Chicago amusement park in Illinois. Arrow Development designed the Canobie Corkscrew, which was known at the time as the Chicago Loop. Untamed, a Euro-Fighter coaster, is the only other coaster in the park besides the Corkscrew with an inversion.
Canobie Lake Park opened on August 23, 1902 as a trolley park for the Massachusetts Northeast Street Railway Company. The amusement park has opened every summer since then. In its early years, the park was known for its flower gardens, promenades and gentle attractions. After the decline of trolley as a mode of travel, the park declined in popularity, culminating in the park's closure on St. Patrick's Day in 1929. In 1931, the park was auctioned off with the intent to subdivide the land into residential lots. Patrick J. Holland, a construction contractor from Ireland, bought the property for US$17,000. He and his workers restored the park with new gardens, attractions, and modern electricity. In 1932, the park reopened, three years after its initial closure. Its popularity recovered, and the Yankee Cannonball was installed, becoming one of the park's most popular attractions for decades. Holland died in 1943, leaving the park with his wife and son, who continued to own the park until 1958. The park is now owned by three families, who purchased the park afterward.
Some films and novels have used Canobie Lake Park as a setting or filming location. Stephen King, an American author of horror novels, based the amusement park in his novel Joyland on Canobie Lake Park. A resident of the nearby state of Maine, King visited after searching for a park "that was nice and clean and sunlit, but wasn't too big". During a visit in 2012, King took photographs inside the dark ride attraction, "Mine of Lost Souls", because he wanted to incorporate a haunted dark ride into his novel. The park was also used as a filming location for the 2013 film Labor Day, based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Maynard. It also appeared in the reality TV Show Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman as well as in the season 6 intro to the TV Show Zoom.
Rides and attractions
Canobie Lake Park features a variety of rides and attractions. The Yankee Cannonball, a 1930s-era wooden roller coaster, is one of the park's best known rides. The park also has a looping, steel roller coaster named the Canobie Corkscrew, designed by Arrow Dynamics. Originally manufactured in 1975, the Canobie Corkscrew operated at Old Chicago from 1975 to 1980 as the "Chicago Loop", at the Alabama State Fairgrounds as "Corkscrew" from 1982 to 1986, before moving to Canobie Lake in 1987. The Canobie Corkscrew is one of the first steel looping roller coasters manufactured in the world and is part of a series of Arrow corkscrew models produced from 1975 to 1979.
Other thrill rides in Canobie Lake Park include Starblaster, an S&S Double Shot, which replaced a ride called the Moon Orbiter in 2002. The park also features a rotor ride named "Turkish Twist", and a shoot-the-chutes ride named "The Boston Tea Party". Canobie has one dark ride, named "Mine of Lost Souls". Passengers board a ride train resembling mine car, and the ride is themed around a fictional mine that is beginning to collapse. Another flat ride at the park is the "Psychodrome", a scrambler ride located in a dome, with lighting, music and special effects. In 2005, the park opened Castaway Island, a small water park consisting of a water play structure. In October 2017, the park announced an expansion to the water ride complex, including a lazy river and a series of water slides.
The park once had a simulator ride named "USA Missile", built early in the Space Age by John Taggart and Sam Daugherty. Passengers sit facing the nose of the rocket, which is then inclined. A movie is shown on a screen at the front as a simulation of space flight. While at Canobie Lake Park, it was repainted to mimic the markings used on such launch vehicles as the Saturn rockets.
In 2011, the park added Untamed, a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter 320+ model. This is the fourth Euro-Fighter to be added in the United States, the only one in the Northeast, and the first roller coaster to be opened in Canobie Lake Park since the Canobie Corkscrew in 1987. The following year, park added Equinox, a ride that lifted and spun riders on a giant mechanical arm. Despite the ride's popularity, it was shut down in 2014 after persistent mechanical problems left the ride operating "sporadically". The park has stated that safety was not an issue.
|Canobie Corkscrew||Arrow Dynamics||A steel roller coaster with two corkscrew inversions. Originally a yellow and black color scheme, the ride was repainted in 2012 to blue and white.|
|Kiddie Dragon Coaster||Zamperla||A children's roller coaster with a train designed like a dragon.|
|Untamed||Gerstlauer||A Euro-Fighter roller coaster with three inversions, located near the Jackpot Casino. The ride features a 72-foot vertical lift and a beyond vertical drop at a 97 degree angle, as well as three inversions: a vertical loop, an Immelmann loop, and a zero-G roll.|
|Yankee Cannonball||Philadelphia Toboggan Company||The park's oldest roller coaster; A wooden roller coaster with an out-and-back layout. The ride was given its name in commemoration of the American Civil War. Recognized as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark.|
|Ice Jet||Bertazzon||A Flying Bobs ride.|
|Pirata||S.D.C.||A pirate ship ride|
|Psychodrome||Eli Bridge Company||An indoor scrambler ride with flashing lights and sound effects.|
|Starblaster||S&S Power||A Double Shot launch tower ride, opened for the park's centennial.|
|Turkish Twist||S.D.C.||A Rotor ride.|
|Wipeout||Chance Rides||A Wipeout ride|
|Xtreme Frisbee||HUSS||A Frisbee ride|
|Antique Carousel||Looff/Dentzel/Stein & Goldstein||An antique carousel with a Wurlitzer style 153 band organ.|
|Antique Cars||Unknown||Arrow Development||A car ride with cars themed after Ford Model Ts.|
|Blue Heron||Unknown||A boat ride that takes guests for a 20-minute trip on the lake.|
|Boston Harbor Patrol||Unknown|
|Canobie 500||Arrow race cars||A car ride with cars themed after race cars.|
|Canobie Express||Unknown||Crown Metal||A train that runs through the park, around Castaway Island, and along the lakeshore. It runs on 2 foot narrow gauge tracks.|
|Caterpillar||Harry Traver||A caterpillar ride.|
|Crazy Cups||Philadelphia Toboggan Company||A teacup ride|
|DaVinci's Dream||Wood Amusement Rides B.V.||A swing ride|
|Dodgems||Unknown||Bumper car ride|
|Giant Sky Wheel||Preston-Barbieri||A ferris wheel|
|Mine of Lost Souls||Sally Corporation||A themed dark ride|
|Over the Rainbow||Zamperla||A Wizard of Oz-themed balloon ride|
|Rowdy Roosters||Unknown||Bisch-Rocco||A Flying Scooters ride|
|Skater||Zamperla||A Disk'O ride|
|Sky Ride||Unknown||SkyTrans||A chairlift|
|Twist & Shout||Unknown||Sellner Manufacturing||A Tilt-A-Whirl ride|
|Zero Gravity||Battech Enterprises||A Round Up ride; Replaced a similar ride.|
|Boston Tea Party||Hopkins Rides||A shoot the chute boat ride that splashes guests on nearby paths when the boat falls down the drop. It is named and themed for the Boston Tea Party, an event when residents of Boston rebelled against the then-occupying British.|
|Castaway Island||WhiteWater West||A small water play structure with slides and fountains.|
|Policy Pond Log Flume||Hopkins Rides||A log flume ride.|
|Tall Timber Splash||WhiteWater West||A water coaster.|
|Castaway Island Tidal River Expansion||2018||Aquatic Development Group||First of its kind Tidal River water ride.|
|Name||Ride type||Year added|
|Alpine Swing||Children's swing ride|
|Flower Power||Children's whip ride|
|Jump Around||Children's Wave Blaster|
|Junior Sports Cars|
|Kiddie Canoes||Children's Boat Ride||Unknown|
|Kiddie Carousel||Children's carousel||Unknown|
|Mini-Skooter||Children's bumper cars||Unknown|
|Name||Ride manufacturer||Year added||Year retired||Notes|
|Figure 8 roller coaster||Frederick Ingersoll|
|Jr. Roller Coaster||Allan Herschell Company|
|Rockin' Rider||SDC||Originally called Galaxi at Canobie before being rebranded/renamed; Replaced with "Xtreme Frisbee".|
|Wild Mouse||B. A. Schiff & Associates||Used wood supports and steel track. The Paratrooper replaced the Wild Mouse, and was later replaced by the Skater attraction.|
|Name||Ride manufacturer||Year added||Year retired||Notes|
|Bowling alley||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||After purchasing the park in the 1960s, the owners burned all the pins from the bowling alley to keep warm during their first winter.|
|Calypso||Mack||Unknown||Replaced with the "Moon Orbiter".|
|Equinox||KMG||A twisting, spinning and flipping ride. Removed due to mechanical issues.|
|Fascination||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Replaced with the "Jackpot Casino".|
|House of Seven Gables||Unknown||Unknown||A walk-through haunted house.|
|Kosmojets||SDC||Unknown||Unknown||Replaced with "Wipeout".|
|Matterhorn||SDC||Unknown||Replaced with a concession stand "Hotdog Diner".|
|Moon Orbitor||Unknown||Replaced with the "Star Blaster".|
|Ocean Trip||SBF||Replaced with Boston Harbor Patrol|
|Paratroopers||Unknown||Unknown||Replaced with "Skater".|
|Round Up||Unknown||Replaced with "Zero Gravity" (Round Up)|
|Roller skating rink||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Used to house ScrEEEmfest haunts|
|The Swamp||Pretzel||Unknown||A dark ride that was replaced with the Can Alley game and employee center building.|
|Swimming pool||Unknown||Unknown||Removed during the construction of a larger main entrance.|
|Tiki-Maze||SDC||Unknown||Formerly the Crystal Orbiter, on broken motor-driven platform.|
|Vertigo Theatre||Unknown||Unknown||Replaced with Autobahn to make room for "Wave Blaster".|
|The Whip||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Was replaced with Matterhorn, then Equinox, until the latter ride was removed.|
Canobie Lake Park holds many events in the park throughout the year, including live performances and fireworks shows. The park has multiple venues for live entertainment, including the Country Stage, Midway Stage, and Dancehall Theater. The park's Dancehall Theater has hosted performers such as Duke Ellington, Sonny & Cher, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald. The Canobie Ramblers occasionally perform at the Log Flume Gazebo. On certain weekends in September and October, Canobie Lake Park holds ScrEEEmfest, a Halloween event run in the afternoon that features Canobie's most popular rides plus five walk-through haunted attractions. Past "haunts" have included Merriment Incorporated, The Dead Shed, Black Hollow Cove, Head Hunters at Cannibal Lake, Cannibal Island, Demons of Darkness, and Virus. The park hosts performances from impersonators of various celebrities, such as Michael Jackson and Tim McGraw.
- On July 27, 2001, five people riding the Yankee Cannonball roller coaster were injured when two of the ride's trains collided.
- On July 1, 2014, a family of five attacked police officers after they were told they could not carry weapons in the park. Three of the family members were charged with felony riot.
- On August 6, 2016, a stuntman rolled off of a safety net during Canobie Lake Park's "Rocket Man: The Human Cannonball" performance. The stuntman was unharmed, but was taken to an emergency room for an evaluation.
- "Hours". Canobie Lake Park. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- "Coaster Landmark Award". American Coaster Enthusiasts. June 20, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
- Seed, Douglas, & Khalife, Katherine (1996). Salem, NH. Volume II - Trolleys, Canobie Lake, and Rockingham Park, Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-0438-5.
- "Park History". Canobie Lake Park. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- "The Holland Years". Canobie Lake History. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
- "A Classic New England Amusement Park in Salem, New Hampshire". New England Today.
- "King novel based on Canobie Lake Park". Eagle Tribune. June 3, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- "Film crew sneaks into Canobie Lake Park". Newburyport News. August 16, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- Cowette, Colleen (June 17, 1990). "Salem's Canobie Lake Park Has Given 80 Years of Fun". New Hampshire Sunday News. Manchester, NH.
- "Canobie Lake Park Gets Partial Approval For New Water Park". Patch. October 27, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
- "Coney Island Space Age Icon - will it be destroyed?". Coney Island History Project. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- "USA Missile (Canobie Lake Park)". ThrillNetwork LLC. Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- Bullock, Joel (24 November 2010). "Canobie Lake Park adds new roller coaster: Untamed in 2011". Gadling. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- Ireland, Doug (July 30, 2014). "Equinox shut down at Canobie Lake Park". Newburyport News. Newburyport, MA.
- "CANOBIE SPECIAL", Boston Globe, April 16, 1989.
- Sandy, Adam. "The Flat Joint". Retrieved July 14, 2012.
- "More sure signs of spring: Canobie Lake Park opens", New Hampshire Sunday News (Manchester, NH), April 29, 2001
- "Our Clients". SkyTrans Manufacturing, LLC. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- Miller-Medzon, Karyn (July 5, 1998). "For your amusement - Region's theme parks have a host of new rides to thrill and chill you". Boston Herald.
- "Canobie's new Castaway Island water complex opens", New Hampshire Union Leader, May 26, 2005
- "Trolley Parks: Survivors of an Earlier Era". NBC News. June 26, 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- "Big Bands". Canobie Lake History. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
- "Canobie Lake's 'Screeemfest' Provides Halloween Scares". CBS Boston.
- "Amusement Parks Near Boston: A Huffington Post Travel Guide". The Huffington Post. August 11, 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
- "Rides have stranded or injured passengers". USA Today. June 1, 2002. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- "Roller Coaster Accident Injures 19". ABC News. August 6, 2001. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- "Vt. family allegedly attacks officers at Canobie Lake". Boston Globe. June 17, 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- "Probable cause found against 3 accused in Canobie Lake Park melee". WMUR. July 1, 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
- "Canobie Lake stuntman rolls off net, falls 20 feet". WMUR. August 6, 2016. Retrieved February 13, 2017.