THE TERRAPIN PARK PARKERSBURG WV
Mackey's Antiques & Clock
1249 Gihon Road
Parkersburg WV 26101
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In 1898, Charles H. Shattuck, president of the Parkersburg Electric Power and Street Railway, decided to build a trolley park, a company-owned park along one of the streetcar lines to attract riders. Shattuck purchased land on the outskirts of Parkersburg at Dudley Avenue and Twenty-fifth Street and began construction of what he called Terrapin Park. Built in 1899, the Terrapin Park Casino was not a gambling casino as we use the term today, but a large multi-purpose building. The casino featured a cafe, cigar stand, and confectionery, but it was the 2,OOO-seat auditorium that drew the crowds. People stood in line to get tickets for plays, musical entertainment, vaudeville, and moving pictures plus performances by the Amazing Canadian Diving Elks and Dare Devil Jack.
Terrapin Park in Parkersburg was given this name because of a small humped up knoll on the property. In 1913 Henry L. Brenig added a roller-coaster, a merry-go-round, dance halls, a skating rink and other items of amusement, and it began to develop an atmosphere of a Coney Island.
A Tunnel of Love, a Ferris Wheel, and other rides followed as did games of ring-toss, ball pitch, and shooting galleries creating a mid-way complete with a fun-house, cotton candy, hot dogs and assorted bakers. The roller-coaster, a wooden structure, was called The Dazy Dazier Dip Coaster and stood at the left of the front entrance to the park. Rides were 10¢ for adults and 5¢ for children. Small boys made a lot of money by retrieving hats blown from the heads of the riders who were unprepared for its wild ride.
In 1916 Paul and Jack Crane took over the park and had great success for two seasons. You could hear the music of the merry-go-round, amusement noises, and laughter for blocks.
When the park was closed for the season after Labor Day in September of 1917, a full-blown fire flared up one midnight under the stage of the auditorium. The fire lighted the area for blocks. As firemen fought the blaze, the crowd noticed the American flag, which for some reason had not been removed, and it waved unscorched, spotlighted by the leaping flames. Only when the roof caved in was the flag touched. The fire was thought to have been set by religious fanatics objecting to the war. Not covered by insurance, the place was dismantled.
A WINTER DAY AT TERRAPIN PARK
TERRAPIN PARK AROUND 1915
OTHER END OF THE CASINO 1912
TERRIPIN LAKE LOOKING TO THE MAN MADE DAM THAT WAS BUILT TO FILL THE LAKE