Ballroom burned in August of 1968 in a spectacular fire. Arson was the
cause as three kids who were thrown out returned to seek revenge. The
flames were visible all around the area and extra firefighters
(volunteers) were called in. I was lucky enough (or unlucky enough as the
case may be) to have seen the fire as a child. The view to the right is
looking from roughly the dam at the lake toward Parkview Avenue. The
Thunderbolt Coaster is visible in the background. Today, this shot would
be looking toward the public pool. A new Rec (recreational) center was
built just behind where the ballroom sits and the "Tot Lot"
kiddie playground is where the Ballroom once was.
Please note: much additional Cuddle Up information
will be posted in a short while. Some of the notes have changed as well
due to new information. Stay tuned.
The above photo shows what is likely the first Cuddle Up at Carsonia, a
smaller ride than the one that replaced it. Above is an overview shot.
A side view with some landscaping on the first Cuddle-Up
A view of the later Cuddle-Up, one of the big 5 wheel models with 12
cups, which were the most fun. Additional notes on the above
picture. This picture may not be from Carsonia Park. I will be researching
this some more in the near future. So far, I have only found that Carsonia
purchased an 8 cup, 4 disk ride from PTC and the original Berks
Engineering ride was also an 8 cup, four disk ride. The ride in storage is
a four disk ride so this picture may be labeled incorrectly. Stay tuned.
Rides and Attractions
Following is a list of rides and attractions that were present at
one time or another in the park.
- Carousel - 1896 Armitage-Hershell of New
York - lasted two years
- Carousel - 1904 by Dentzel of
- Carousel - PTC #29 which went to Port Arthur, Texas in
1944, currently being refurbished in Texas. Persistent rumors HAD put this ride in storage in
the "coal regions" of PA. That rumor might apply to one of the
other Carousels from the Reading area.
- Shoot the Chutes - Removed to construct pool
- Old Mill (Venetian Boat Ride)
- Old Mill (Venice / Trip to the Orient) - 1905
- Toboggan Pleasure Railway - by JA Griffiths
(who originally worked for LA Thomson, inventor of the modern roller
coaster and built many toboggans)
- Roller Coaster - 1903 Ingersoll Construction Co.,
(Ingersoll was a well known coaster designer and started a chain of Luna
Parks throughout the USA)
- Thunderbolt - 1932 by John Miller
(Miller was the master of coaster design, inventing many safety devices.
The Thunderbolt had a distinctive Miller look to it).
- Scenic Railway (A Trip to the North Pole)
[Another coaster of older design, probably built by Griffiths or
- Whiz Bang - Was supposedly at Twin Grove Park,
- Circle Swing (Airplane Ride) - 1904 Traver Engineering,
had moved to Twin Grove Park (Schuylkill County). It is still there in
storage. None of these rides are in use in any park at this time. If the
Twin Grove/Carsonia ride is restored, it will be the only one operating.
- Cuddle-Up - 1929 by Berks Engineering, Reading PA
[This ride seems to have been the prototype ride. PTC later purchased
the rights to sell this ride in the USA]
- Cuddle-Up - Philadelphia Toboggan Co.
(PTC), moved to Rocky
Springs after Carsonia closed, currently in storage. Likely the only one
left in North America.
- Ferris Wheel (2)
- Dodgem cars
- Speedway - battery powered "Hupmobile"
- Roundabout (Thrill) - patented by Oscar Olsen
- Pretzel [classic dark ride by the
Pretzel Company of NJ]. This might be the ride that is in storage at
Twin Grove Park??
- Noah's Ark (Cave of the Winds / Castle of Mirth)
[another classic ride that was quite common with only one remaining in the
US - at Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh, PA] Ark's were built by a number
of manufacturers and it is unknown at this point who built this one.
- Palace of Fun [funhouse]
- Sum Fun Laundry [funhouse]
- Bubble Bounce
- Penny Arcade
- Carsonia Park Calliope Truck
- Skee Ball Alleys
- Carsonia Theater
- Edison Parlor
- Bowling Alley
- Skating Rink
- Laughing Gallery
- Bavarian Beer Garden [modified but still at same
location and is now a restaurant]
- Swimming pool [not the same one as the
two that are on the site today]
- Crystal Ballroom [Sadly it burned in August of 1968 due to
- International Miniature Village [Became "Roadside
America" and is still on display in Shartlesville, PA]
- Penny Arcade
- Baseball field
- Crystal Lake - 10 acres in size - still
there in a somewhat modified form.
Little remains of the park site. If not for the lake, it would be
difficult to even tell a park existed. Finding the park site is easy if you are familiar
with the area. Check Reading maps for the Pennside/Stony Creek area and check the streets
- Still inside what was the park boundary is the Beer
Garden, which is now a Restaurant (Anthony's) at the corner of Byram and Navella Streets.
- Most of the lake is still there as well as
some of the woods
behind the lake. A large portion of the woods have been removed in
recent years, including the remains of trolley tracks that were there in
- Two buildings were moved behind the park,
one is still there and the other burned a few years back.
- Another building was
moved and converted into a house nearby.
- Some light stands are still in use around
Reading, including at the restaurant listed above.
- The miniature train is owned and operated by the Reading
Society of Model Engineers (RSME) as the Laurel Run RR.
- The PTC Cuddle Up is privately owned and in storage.
- The Circle Swing is at Twin Grove Park, Pine Grove, PA.
- The Whiz Bang was also supposedly at Twin Grove Park, Pine
- The International Miniature Village, has
become "Roadside America" in Shartlesville, PA
- The Carousel is still in Texas and is
- A ticket booth is located in a private yard around Reading.
- Some wood from the Thunderbolt was used as attic rafters
in a nearby house.
Warning: all photos are
copyrighted - DO NOT COPY
|Defunct Amusement Parks wishes to thank everyone listed above for