Giant Dipper (Belmont Park)

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Giant Dipper
MissionBeachRollercoaster 640pixels.JPG
Wooden roller coaster in Belmont Park
Belmont Park, San Diego, California
LocationBelmont Park, San Diego, California
Coordinates32°46′18″N 117°15′0″W / 32.77167°N 117.25000°W / 32.77167; -117.25000Coordinates: 32°46′18″N 117°15′0″W / 32.77167°N 117.25000°W / 32.77167; -117.25000
Mission Beach Roller Coaster
Giant Dipper (Belmont Park) is located in San Diego
Giant Dipper (Belmont Park)
Site in U.S. state of California
Giant Dipper (Belmont Park) is located in San Diego County, California
Giant Dipper (Belmont Park)
Giant Dipper (Belmont Park) (San Diego County, California)
Giant Dipper (Belmont Park) is located in California
Giant Dipper (Belmont Park)
Giant Dipper (Belmont Park) (California)
Giant Dipper (Belmont Park) is located in the United States
Giant Dipper (Belmont Park)
Giant Dipper (Belmont Park) (the United States)
Location3000 Mission Boulevard, San Diego, California
Coordinates32°46′18″N 117°15′0″W / 32.77167°N 117.25000°W / 32.77167; -117.25000
Area2.8 acres (1.1 ha)
ArchitectFrank Prior, Fredrick Church
Architectural style"Bobs"-type coaster
NRHP reference No.78000753[1]
CHISL No.1044[2]
SDHL No.90
Significant dates
Added to NRHPDecember 27, 1978[1]
Designated NHLFebruary 27, 1987[4]
Designated SDHLDecember 7, 1973[3]
Opening dateJuly 4, 1925
General statistics
ManufacturerFrank Prior, Fredrick Church
DesignerFrank Prior, Fredrick Church
Track layout8 layers laminated wood strips with 1/4"x3" wide steel rail
Lift/launch systemChain lift hill
Height70 ft (21 m)
Drop60 ft (18 m)
Length2,600 ft (790 m)
Speed48 mph (77 km/h)
Max vertical angle40 degrees at bottom of first drop°
Height restriction50 in (127 cm)
Giant Dipper at RCDB
Pictures of Giant Dipper at RCDB

The Giant Dipper, also known as the Mission Beach Roller Coaster and historically by other names, is a historical wooden roller coaster located in Belmont Park, a small amusement park in the Mission Beach area of San Diego, California. Built in 1925, it and its namesake at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk are the only remaining wooden roller coasters on the West Coast designed by noted roller coaster designers Frank Prior and Frederick Church, and the only one whose construction they supervised. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978[1] and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.[4]


The Giant Dipper is located at the northeast corner of Belmont Park, a waterfront amusement park at the junction of Mission Boulevard and West Mission Bay Drive. The coaster occupies an irregular area about 100 by 500 feet (30 m × 152 m) in size, and is accessed via a terminal structure on its west side. It has a track length of 2,800 feet (850 m), and its highest hills, located roughly at opposite ends of the area, reach 75 feet (23 m) in height. A sign with the name "Belmont" is affixed to the wooden trestle structure at its northeast edge.[5]


The coaster was built in 1925 as part of a major real estate development led by John D. and Adolph Spreckels to attract visitors and residents to the Mission Beach area. The Mission Beach Amusement Center was built at a cost of $2.5 million and opened in 1925, with this roller coaster as one of its main attractions. It was designed by Church and Prior, coaster designers based in Venice, California, who also oversaw its construction. The Spreckelses bequeathed the attraction to the city, which in 1954 was leased to Jack Ray. He renamed the park Belmont Park, after another park in Montreal. The roller coaster was severely damaged by fire in 1955, and Ray subsequently declared bankruptcy.[5]

Threatened with demolition by the city in 1978, local citizens banded together to rescue it and a few surviving attractions of the defunct park.[5] It underwent a full restoration in 1989–90.[6]


In 1997, the Giant Dipper held a coaster–riding marathon sponsored by a local radio station, Star 100.7. The marathon consisted of eleven consecutive days riding the coaster for more than 12 hours per day. The radio station arranged a second marathon in 1998, which was eventually won by contestants who split a check for $50,000 in cash prize after riding the coaster for 70 days.


  1. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "California Historical Landmark: San Diego County". Office of Historic Preservation. California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  3. ^ "Historical Landmarks Designated by the San Diego Historical Resources Board" (PDF). City of San Diego.
  4. ^ a b "Mission Beach Roller Coaster". National Historic Landmarks Quick Links. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2012-10-08. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  5. ^ a b c "NHL nomination for Mission Beach Roller Coaster". National Park Service. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  6. ^ "Company History". Belmont Park Company. Retrieved 2018-01-29.

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