Skip to main content

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…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Popular posts from this blog

Goodbye Interstate 495; Hello Interstate 87

It seems like yesterday when I blogged about new Future Interstate 495 signs that were going to be installed along US 64 along the Knightdale Bypass and along the way to Rocky Mount.  Well after just three years, Interstate 495 is officially no more.  This week NCDOT crews began to install Interstate 87 shields along the Raleigh Beltline and Knightdale Bypass from Southeast Raleigh to Rolesville Road in Wendell.  The new interstate designation follows Interstate 440 west from I-40 near Garner leaving the Beltline at the Knightdale Bypass and following US 64/264 about another 12 or so miles until the six lane portion of the Knightdale Bypass ends just beyond Business US 64.

Eventually, Interstate 87 will continue east along US 64 past Zebulon, Rocky Mount and Tarboro to Williamston where it will head north and northeast along US 17 into Virginia and Norfolk.  The new signs reflect the first official section of Interstate 87 in North Carolina - as the Knightdale Bypass meets national I…

The story on how the unbuilt US 40 Expressway in Brownsville took 40 years to complete.

For nearly four decades, the four lane US 40 just east of Brownsville came to an abrupt end - shown in the photo above - at Grindstone Road in Redstone Township.   In the late 1960s, what was then the Pennsylvania Division of Highways (PennDOH) extended a new four lane alignment of US 40 eastwards from Broadway Street slightly over one mile to Grindstone Road where an incomplete diamond interchange was built.  Earlier in the decade, PennDOH had built a four lane US 40 in Washington County into Brownsville complete with a new crossing over the Monongahela River known as the Lane Bane Bridge.  This new highway and bridge allowed US 40 to bypass the older Intercounty Bridge and downtown Brownsville. 

After this new highway opened, nothing would happen to it for nearly forty years.  US 40 traffic would use the ramps for this planned diamond interchange and then jog on Grindstone Road briefly before continuing towards Uniontown on the original National Road. 
What is unknown (at least to…

Hunting for forgotten history; Old US 99 in Fresno

Coming back from my Great Lakes Trip the other day I encountered this sign goof at Fresno-Yosemite International Airport which incorrectly displays US Route 99.





That little US 99 sign was the inspiration I needed to start tracking all the former alignments through the City of Fresno.  Fresno in general has had a huge shift in highway layouts over the decades which is something I intend to finish with California 41 and 180 perhaps later this month.  Based off my research I came with the following three maps progressing northward through Fresno showing every iteration of US 99 before it was downgraded to a State Highway in 1967.




Essentially the route alignment history of US Route 99 in Fresno is as follows.

1926-1930 Alignment 

Progressing northward into Fresno US Route 99 would have followed:

Railroad Avenue
-  Cherry Avenue
-  Broadway Street
-  Divisadero Street
-  H Street
-  Belmont Avenue
-  Golden State Avenue

1930-1934 Realignment off of Railroad Avenue

Sometime between 1930 to …