For some it was the smell of candied popcorn or the excitement of their first roller coaster, but anyone who had the pleasure of visiting Rocky Glen Park in Moosic PA will tell you there were endless reasons to love it. Everything was set in motion when Arthur Frothingham purchased a 40 acre lake surrounded by 225 acres of land in 1885. Like many other parks, it started as simple picnic grounds and grew to be something spectacular. In the beginning it was most popular for having boating, swimming and skating attractions, truly becoming an amusement park with the addition of rides and concessions in 1904. The following year showcased the big opening of the figure eight roller coaster, a signature ride of the park manager, Frederick Ingersoll. 1906 brought about disagreements between Frothingham and Ingersoll and led to the decision of parting ways. With interest in the park faltering by 1910 Frothingham wished to sell his half of the property. His attempts at selling to MGM or the Federal Feature Film Corporation of New York failed and forced his hand in selling the property quickly.
A trio of businessmen showed interest in the park, finally buying it in 1919. The new owners, John Nallin, Joe Jennings and Ben sterling had issues from the beginning causing a subpar experience for park-goers. The park found it’s self in a unique situation at one point being divided in two by a concrete wall. Although considering themselves two separate parks they shared essentially the same name and showcased many of the same rides. The northwestern side was called Rocky Glen Park and was owned by the Nallin-Jennings Park Company and was accessible by a public road. The southeastern side was known as Sterling’s Rocky Glen Park and was owned by Ben Sterling and his wife, being accessed primarily via rail. Despite it upheaval the park continued to do well with over 200,000 visitors annually. The park began to hold ethnic festivals including Polish, Welsh, Irish and Italian bringing in as many as 20,000 a day. In 1951 Ben Sterling took ownership of the entire park, combining the two once more and disposing of duplicate rides. The most famous ride in the park was known as the Million Dollar coaster, although only costing 100,000, was called “Best in the East” and “ahead of its time”. With a peak of 96 feet and 4,700 feet long it was truly spectacular, having brought over a million riders in its first three years of operation. The park became a hot spot for top entertainers like Frank Sinatra, Harry James and Guy Lombardo. With the decline of railroad use post WWII trolley parks began to fade into history, and Rocky Glen was no exception. Sterling sold the park to a Georgia based entertainment company, National Recreation Service, who promptly gave the park a new identity. The park as renamed to Ghost Town in the Glen and had a western theme, but did not bring about much success. 1979 the park changed hands again with yet another name change, New Rocky Glen Park, and attempted to bring it back to what it once was. By this time state safety laws had become stricter and with competition from Hershey Park and Great Adventure, Rocky Glen was struggling and eventually closed its doors for the last time in 1987.
The park has recently gained attention as a local high school senior, Christopher Ritzco, started a Facebook page for the park, with hopes to provide a place for people to share memories. In addition Ritzco has dreams of fundraising in hopes to bring back Rocky Glen Park.
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