Wild Cat (Hersheypark)

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This article is about the roller coaster Wild Cat which existed from 1923-1945. For the present Hersheypark roller coaster with this name, see Wildcat (Hersheypark).
The Wild Cat
Coordinates 40°17′18″N 76°39′13″W / 40.2882°N 76.6535°W / 40.2882; -76.6535Coordinates: 40°17′18″N 76°39′13″W / 40.2882°N 76.6535°W / 40.2882; -76.6535
Status Removed
Opening date June 16, 1923
Closing date September 1945
Cost US$50,000
General statistics
Type Wood
Manufacturer Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters
Designer Herbert Schmeck
Track layout Out and Back
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Drop 75 ft (23 m)
Length 2,331 ft (710 m)
Inversions 0
Trains 3 trains with 3 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 4 rows for a total of 24 riders per train.
The Wild Cat at RCDB
Pictures of The Wild Cat at RCDB

The Wild Cat (initially The Joy Ride) was a wooden roller coaster at Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States. The roller coaster was constructed in 1923 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC). Under an agreement between Hersheypark and PTC, Hersheypark leased the land the coaster occupied, while PTC owned and operated the coaster. The agreement was for 15 years, at which point they had the option to extend the contract. The contract was ultimately extended to 1945. The roller coaster operated from June 16, 1923, through September 1945. PTC and Hershey Park elected to close The Wild Cat and construct a new roller coaster in 1946.

The Wild Cat was the first roller coaster designed by Herbert Schmeck .


Milton S. Hershey had The Wild Cat built at a cost of $50,000, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the town of Hershey.[1] It was the first roller coaster built in Hersheypark. However, unlike all other roller coasters build at the park since, Wild Cat was owned by the Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters (PTC) and the land the ride was built on was leased to PTC on an agreement that expired in 1945.

When the ride opened on June 16, 1923, it was called The Joy Ride, but it was shortly after renamed Wildcat. The ride stood approximately where the Trailblazer and Storm Runner's double roll and snake dive are currently, and the ride went through a tunnel near the present-day Country Grill. The first woman to ride the roller coaster is Miss Marion Murrie, the daughter of Hershey baseball coach and Hershey Chocolate factory worker William Murrie.[2]

The roller coaster operated through the 1945 season. It had been decided that Wild Cat would be torn down and replaced with a new wooden roller coaster. It had fallen into significant disrepair as a result of the Second World War economy requiring most wood and supplies to go to the United States' war effort. Schmeck designed the replacement roller coaster, Comet, which was Milton Hershey's last purchased ride (he died before Comet's completion), and is still in operation as of the 2016 Hersheypark season.

In 1995, Hersheypark announced they were building a new wooden roller coaster for the 1996 season. They chose the name Wildcat in honor of the Wild Cat, and used the slogan, The Cat is back!

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "1st of Five-Phase Improvement Plan Now Completed By Hersheypark". Lebanon Daily News. September 30, 1972. p. L-6. 
  2. ^ Hershey Community Archives