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.
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 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