Whalom Park – An Abandoned American Amusement Park

The lift hill of the Flyer Comet at Whalom Park

Whalom Park was an amusement park in Lunenburg, Massachusetts that was open from 1893 to 2000. First opened as an English style park of gardens and paths, Whalom Park was in operation for 107 seasons before it closed and was left abandoned. Most of the structures were removed in 2006 to make way for condominiums.

Whalom Park was built by the Fitchbugy and Leominster Street Railway as a trolley park. In the early 19th century, trolley parks became popular along or at the ends of streetcar lines in many larger cities. The idea behind the trolley parks was to get people to use the street car services on the weekends. To that end, they were quite successful. Undoubtedly, the most famous of these trolley parks is Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. Some, like Kennywood in Pennsylvania, have expanded into modern amusement parks. There are only thirteen of the original trolley parks operating in the United States today.

Originally, trolley parks took inspiration from European pleasure gardens. At first, featured picnic areas and pavilions with events such as dances, fireworks and concerts but they began to expand, adding features like swimming pools, roller coasters, ferris wheels, carousels and more. By 1920, there were approximately 1,500 trolley parks in operation in the United States entertaining millions of people. By the end of the decade, that number began to decline rapidly as streetcars fought for relevance against the automobile. The Great Depression in 1929 saw the end of many of the trolley parks.

An early postcard from Whalom Park

An early postcard from Whalom Park

Whalom Park survived the depression and continued to operate until 2000. At that time, it was the second-oldest trolley park in the world and the 13th oldest amusement park in the United States. It had been in operation for 107 years.

One of the most popular rides in the park was The Flyer Comet, a wooden roller coaster that opened in 1940. It was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company which also built a number of roller coasters for Coney Island (none of which remain) and Blue Flyer at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in England which is still in operation. The Flyer Comet remained in Whalom Park until it closed and was eventually demolished in October 2006.

The entrance of the Flyer Comet

The entrance of the Flyer Comet from when the park was open

A view from the top of the Flyer Comet

A view from the top of the Flyer Comet from when the park was abandoned

The carousel in Whalom Park was built by Looff in 1906 after he had created a number of attractions in New York and New England. At the time of the closure, the carousel was sold off horse by horse in an auction in order to pay debts. A fire in the funhouse had furthered the parks problems before this and seemed to speed up the amusement park’s demise. After entertaining the people of Lunenburg and beyond for 107 years, Whalom Park finally reached the end of the line.

Location: Lunenburg, Massachusetts

Abandoned: 2000

Part of a damaged ride in Whalom Park

Part of a damaged ride in Whalom Park

Abandoned games in Whalom Park

Abandoned games in Whalom Park

7 thoughts on “Whalom Park – An Abandoned American Amusement Park”

  1. I remember riding on the fire truck ride, back in the 40’s when the ride was set up next to the ball room, across from the park office. I lived in Fitchburg, Highland Ave, We took the track-less trolley from depot sq, down summer st, up the old bus rt at the leominster line, to the park, where the trolley cars turned around, which became an ice cream stand in the early 50’s. in 52,my dad built a house on wilder rd,over looking the lake, i was then 12. the next two summers i spent half my time in the lake at the cove at the foot of wilder rd. (the summer of 54, i swam around,with a row boat beside me, the lake, cut off the coves, like angels ,ect.) took me several hours) summer of 55 i worked at the rose garden making pop corn, and eating fried clams, when i could. ( frid clams then were .45 for a half pt., 85 for a pt and 1.60 for a qt) in the summers of 56,57, and 58 i worked at kiddie land. operating the rides I rode on in the 40’s. ( the first summer we lived on wilder rd,, 1952,, JOHN wAYNE stayed in the house across the street from us. he was in a play at the play house. didn’t meet him, but saw him to a from his lemo, in and out of the house. the wife of the house worked on broadway, a regular person, and invited him to stay at her house while he was at the play house. I kept my residents there till i got married in 72, wasn’t always there, went off driving truck and interstate bus. ain’t the neighbor hood i grew up any more. in pepperell now for 44yr. miss Cappy’s

  2. Hi I’m wondering if I could use your footage of Whalom Park? I’m with the Leominster Historical Commission and I’m putting together a new documentary. I’ll give you credit on the tagline. The video is for educational use only no profit will be made from the video. Thanks Ron (978) 870-4703

    1. Hi Ron. The video is from YouTube so you’ll have to ask the rights holder there for use. We’ve just embedded it into our story.

  3. Some of my favorite childhood memories were in this park. Breakers my heart to watch videos of it’s demise. Such a happy place in it’s day

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