Memories of Rocky
by Bob Edgerton
When I was 10 my step father used to take me up there during the
summer. We would get there at 8 in the morning and leave at 11:00 at night. He was
not a carny type guy but a normal hard working blue collar type. He worked at Rocky
Glen for about 30 or 40 years. He had married my mother when I was about 7.
In the early 50's the park was owned 1/2 by a guy named Joe Jennings and the rest by a guy named Ben Sterling of Moosic, PA. Ben's wife was called the Misses.
He always had these large pictures all around the park with his portrait. Under his pictures was a line that said. "Think of me as you wish, but please call me Ben".
Ben finally got control of the park in about 1954 or sooner.
Main rides I remember in the mid 50s were
The Million Dollar Roller Coaster
The Hey Dey
The Tumble Bug
The Cuddle Up
The Merry Go Round
The Ferris Wheel
A real Fortune Teller
(summer residential gypsy lady)
The Love in the Dark
A car that went on a electric track through a dark room.
The Fun House
You would walk through it and get scarred. It was a building with crooked rooms and things to scare you. A dark walk through a labyrinth basically.
A small Roller Coaster (Junior Type, but not a Kiddy ride)
Go-carts. Gas type.
Miniature Golf Course
A boat that went out into the lake called the Dragon or something like that. Looked like a Dragon and had a Norse ship head on the front of it.
A ride called the Duck which was a Navy amphibian landing craft. A boat with wheels that held about 30 people.
A small carrousel called the German Carrousel.
A bingo Hall
When I was 12 or 13 I use to work in the ticket booths selling tickets.
Later on when I got older they let me operate the rides.
I use to run the Ferris Wheel, The Dodgem, the Merry Go Round (it had a free ride for getting the brass ring) and the Love in the Dark and The Fun House. I was never old enough to run the Million Dollar Roller Coaster. I also never operated the Tumble Bug or the Caterpillar.
When we would get there in the morning, my stepfather and I would walk the entire tracks of the coaster. There was a 2 to 3 foot stairway on each side of the tracks. He would walk on the stairway next to the tracks and look for lifted or worn rails or loose screws. If the rails looked bad he would come back and re-drill the rail and get it flat onto the track by driving new screws into the track. After a rain he would put kerosene on the track to make sure the coaster would not stall on the outer most bend. The kerosene would make it go faster. Rain would rust the track and slow the coaster. He also would inspect all the rides early in the morning looking for defects that would make the ride unsafe. I used to go into Scranton with another guy early in the morning to an industrial supply place and get some parts to fix the rides.
They had a kitchen there and we would go eat lunch for free at 11:00 and dinner at about 4:30. All the employees had free meals. It was a cooked meal served family style.
I also use to work at the lake bath house selling tickets to those who wanted to use the bath house to change and leave their clothes there when they went swimming.
Later when I got older they let me work in the penny arcade taking money out of the machines. Next to the penny arcade was a dance hall. When I was smaller they use to have big bands there like Sammy Kay.
When I was about 5 or 6 they use to have an old style fun house that burned down. It was the one that would have these giant wooden flat circles on the floor. Every one would sit on the circle, which was about 30 or 40 feet in diameter and it would spin. After it got to top speed all the people would be spun off the sides. There was a vertical metal thing in the center you could grab onto but a man in the control booth could push and button and give you a shock if you held on to this. This made you let go in a hurry.
There was a mid-way there also. This was an area with chance games like you see in modern carnivals with ring toss, dart games to hit rubber balloons, etc. There was a giant chair where they guessed your weight. You would pay either 25 or 50 cents. If the man did not guess your weight you would win a prize. The prize was always worth about1/3 the value of the money you paid so you bought the item anyway.
There was this radio station there in Scranton called the mighty 590. They would have WARM Days in the park in July or Aug. They would bring major rock bands there and I remember seeing Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons.
Other times they would have meet the stars days and famous people would come there just for a few hours to sign autographs for the crowds. I got autographs and pictures of The Cisco Kid, Pinky Lee, and Debbie Reynolds.
The one thing that was unique about the place was the smell of the machinery of the rides. There was this Ride called the Whip. They would cover it with grease and oil each day so it would operate well. Well this smell was unique and after a while each ride emanated a different smell. The Roller coaster smelled of a wood smell. The Dodgem would smell of burned electrical contacts. The Caterpillar would smell from the large canvas top that would come over the ride and cover it during the end of the ride.
There were some, usually guys who use to work there each year.
One guy who ran the Cuddle Up was named Shotwell, another guy was Bunsy (he had formally worked in a bakery). Another guy was Juicy ( real name was Steve Juice). Another guy was Foxy. He would always run the Million-Dollar Roller Coaster. My step father's closest friend was Stanley.
Almost all of these guys would only work the summer. They then would be laid off during the winter and somehow collect unemployment for the winter as far as I could tell.
Ben also had a giant jukebox and pinball business called Sterling Service. I believe this is still operating.
Anyway this is a start of my knowledge on Rocky Glen.
Thanks to Bob for allowing me to post this article
The opinions stated in this article are
those of the author
and are not necessarily the opinions of defunctparks.com
© 1998 Joel W Styer. All rights reserved. Updated Saturday, February 24, 2001