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End of the line for Kennywood Park's Turnpike

If you grew up in Pittsburgh, like I did, every spring it was time for the school picnic at Kennywood Park. And as you wind down the hill from the ticket gate, through the tunnel underneath Route 837, and formally entered the park. The first thing you always notice was the big 'Gulf' Oil Gasoline sign, the replica Gulf station, and the sounds of motorized cars meandering through a patch of shade trees.

Depending on the when you visited,those little cars that took forever to climb up the hills on the concrete roadway were either vintage cars of the 60s or open air roadsters from the 1920s.

It was the 'Turnpike'.

It was the ride as a child you couldn't wait to actually be allowed to 'drive'. You were beyond the cars in Kiddie Land. You were bored of the 'Auto Race'. The 'Turnpike' was real cars...real driving. On a 'real' road. Or at least it sure seemed like that to a seven year old.

It's the ride, where you were the driver, not Mom or Dad. You were taking them for a 'Sunday Drive'. And you could turn the wheel, and thankfully that center rail kept you from driving off the road.

And just before you went into the candy store right before you left for home. It was the last ride of the day after a long and exhausting but tons of fun day.

That was the Turnpike for me, and yesterday was its last ride. The ride, first installed in 1966, is being removed for a new coaster.

But it won't be the last ride. After the 2010 season, though it is not sure when, the Turnpike will be back...just in a new part of the park.

Comments

Richard said…
Allentown, PA's Dorney Park still has its version of Turnpike...it's called "Road Rally".
Dan Omlor said…
For good photos of the Turnpike see OutpostUSA.org/Amusement Parks/Kennywood/Rides.
123 123 said…
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