Celebrate the history of Rocky Glen Park

Featured — By on July 30, 2008 at 10:57 am

Rocky Glen logoThe Lackawanna Historical Society, with funding assistance from the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority, will host a “Day of Amusement” to mark the dedication of the Rocky Glen Pennsylvania Historical Marker on Saturday, August 9.

The Rocky Glen amusement park was conceived and built by Arthur Frothingham in 1886 in Moosic. The park was a popular recreational venue and was a favorite stop on the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley Railroad’s Laurel Line electric trolley system. Throughout its history, the park used many names including:

  • Rocky Glenn
  • Rocky Glen
  • Rocky Glen Park
  • Sterling’s Rocky Glen
  • Sterling’s
  • Ghost Town in the Glen
  • Ghost Town Amusement Park
  • Ghost Town Park
  • New Rocky Glen
  • New Rocky Glen Park

Some of Rocky Glen’s roller coasters have included: Figure Eight, 1905-1936; Mountain Dip, opened in 1924; Jazz Railway, 1925-1927; Giant Coaster, 1920-1950; Million Dollar Coaster, 1946-1957; and Comet/Jet Star/Jet/Mighty Lightning, 1958-1987.Rocky Glen ride

The park closed in 1987 after 101 years of operation. Only remnants remain today; the site is now part of Glenmaura National Golf Club. In March the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission approved a marker recognizing Rocky Glen’s significance as an important part of the region’s heritage and history.

To celebrate the dedication, the Society has planned a full day of events including a morning market sale at its headquarters, the Catlin House, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Rocky GlenAt 2 p.m., the Society will hold the official dedication ceremony at Rocky Glen including the unveiling of the marker.

The day concludes with a reception at the Electric City Trolley Museum to open a new exhibit on Rocky Glen featuring the original bronze plaque from the park’s Swiss Cottage that was donated to the Society in June. The reception starts at 6:30p.m and there is a $10 fee which covers food and drinks from local restaurants including martinis named after Rocky Glen rides.

For additional information call the Lackawanna Historical Society at 344-3841.

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  • Elaine Gillis Finelli says:

    As a former resident of Duryea, I have many fond memories of Rocky Glenn. I was the park to which my parents took us for family outings and picnics as young children. It was a place to go as we became teenagers and to meet others from different schools. A funplace that’s for sure. I can remember dancing in the Ballroom, running thru the Funhouse and playing Skee Ball. The Whip was my favorite ride. The late 40’s and the 50’s were magical times at Rocky Glenn.

  • David Bernier says:

    My sister + brother in law managed the games for ghost town ,in the 70’s + i think early 80’s,I would come out from ma. every summer to work for them,starting when i was 14 yrs old,i look back at those summers as the best time of my life,for a couple years we even lived in a house inside the park,you had to drive under the coaster + thru the picnic groves to the very back,of the park,it was awesome,at night you could hear the lions roaring on the other side of the park,The house was above the lake + the sound traveled over the water + they sounded close by.I remember camping out up the “cubbies”, or cubby swamps,(locals will remember them)with other game’s employee’s + friends, now they are surrounded by houses providing water frontage for a huge development up by montage,what a shame,it was beautiful up there).oops back to ghost town,i bought a dvd lately about the park + it looks like the games + ski ball (Thats where i worked most often) burned down first.Seeing the park like that,really bums me out,I even look at it on google earth from time to time,+ pull out the old pics,i wish i had taken more back then.I really miss that place.Wouldn’t mind hearing from anybody i used to work with there. Cleganite@comcast.net

  • john Babkowski says:

    Me and my 2 brothers worked at the park in our teenage years, great place, lots of great memories. There is a section on Classmates.com where park workers can join.

  • ken coles says:

    lets get a group of investors and reopen it


  • stephen citsay says:

    I drive by what was once Rocky Glenn park everyday on the way to work at Bank of America, it saddens me because i remember very vaguely of what was a park my mom took me too when i was about5 or 6 years old, Now today the memories merely vanished and I look a a old run down lot with no tresspassing signs, and a falling apart sign above what was the old bus stop. I bring the park up at work all the time recently, why doesn’t anyone do something to bring this land back to a nice place, a scenic view or a amusement park again, Is anyone out there??? Who owns the land?? Why houses get condemmed if they sit run down and owners are pushed to revitalize. But this land sits and creates a eyesore, all except the sign from the national historical society, that shows memories of what was : (

  • Joe Medinosky says:

    There was not a summer that passed between 1975 and 1987 that our family did not make several trips from Binghamton to Ghost Town. We last walked through the old park in the mid 2000’s…how sad. While some of our family has died…others have been born…and we would come back to Rocky Glen Park if someone was to re-open it.

  • marty hall says:

    I agree with ken.c why is it takeing so long for someone to open this great park i too have a lot of great memories of this park i often dream of opening it some day . yey Iknow dream. oh yey it makes me sick to drive by there now

  • Rebekah says:

    I wish this attraction was available to the younger generations. It was innocent, affordable, and great fun. I remember my grandparents taking me and my best friend Beth there, and we tired ourselves out getting off of the roller coaster to get right back on. I wish we could re-open the park and show the next generation what ‘fun’ truly was.

  • Mary Butera says:

    What was the name of the clown on the front of the fun house in Rocky Glen. The one that Clem Danoski has on his house.

  • Michelle LaVigne Mauck says:

    I grew up in Scranton. Many of my summer days were spent at Rocky Glenn Park. A friend of mine and I were just talking about those days. I was fortunate enough to have been able to bring my daughter before the park closed. I lived in WV and travelled home just to be able to do that. She was a little over a yr old, and doesn’t remember that. The rickety old roller coaster drew all the crowds. The fun house and skee ball, as well. My sister and I left our high school graduation party early and went to Rocky Glenn Park with our cousins. It was a park that it didn’t matter what income level one had, anyone could afford to go and have a good time. It’s a shame that we no longer have something like that in this area. We also had rides at Nay Aug Park and that no longer is the case. Local families are definitely missing out of these experiences. Some investors would be wise to bring something like this back again.

  • Rose says:

    Like Joe Medinosky, my family traveled from Binghamton each and every summer..sometimes twice.. always loading friends into our big station wagon to come to this park. I grew up in the 70s, and my very best childhood memories are of Ghost Town in the Glen. Like Rebekah, my sister and I would ride the coaster, get off and run back into line to ride again and again. I remember the ferris wheel, the merry mixer, the tilt-a-whirl, and even the black spider that I threw up on while riding with my father and him begging the attendant to “stop the ride!!!” I remember winning HUGE stuffed animals. I remember the giant slides at the bottom of the hill, the crooked fun house, the wild-west shoot-out shows. I LOVED that place. I wish I could’ve bottled it up forever to revisit again and again. Such wonderful memories.

  • Rose says:

    And one more comment.. I remember being lucky enough to be there one year and Harry Chapin was there playing. Wow.. the memories just keep flooding back.

  • Abbey says:

    There were 3 owners of the park, and my great grandfather was one of them 🙂

  • Denny Christine says:

    My grandparents lived in Kingston, PA and Rocky Glen was the first park I ever went to probably at age 2 or 3 and then every summer at least until 1955 when I was 8. My parents got me hooked on amusement parks and I’ve been crazy about them since, going to Disney World 10 times,and to old and new parks throughout the midwest. Now I take my granddaughters to Cedar Point twice each summer. My first real park rides were at Rocky Glenn and I remember first being afraid of the big wooden coaster, and not allowed on the Duckboat. My first taste of pizza was there, and first Tilt-a-Whirl ride. Great memories.

  • Danelle says:

    I was interviewed by Bob and an in the finished documentary. If you notice during my interview…I am holding back tears just talking about Rocky Glen. Some of the best times of my life were spent there. I LOVED the indoor Tilt-a-Whirl so much…I can still smell it. It was sort of a burning rubber and motor oil smell. I provided some video footage and old photos too…the documentary really came out great!

  • John Sophy says:

    I went there as a kid. Loved the slanted house and the rest of the old western town. I remember the old wooden roller coaster, stunt man shows, and the roundup. So many great memories its a shame that it was demolished.

  • Tom Higginbotham says:

    I was there a couple times in the early 70s,when my mom and dad divorced,i was around 12 or so and meeting mynew stepbrothers 3 of them along with my 3 biological bros,so my dad took us there and I think it was a pay 1 price dealfor the day where you can ride all the rides all day and go to shows and swim. I had some of the best times of my life there just running free and jumping on that excellent roller coaster time after time and seeing the gunfights in the old western town and the can can shows (stil have pics from then)we would play arcade games,and run free all day from ride 2 ride an still have enough time to have our own little western adventure divided into teams running through the rocks and woods good guys chaseing the outlaws amongst ourselves and playing like boys play all 7 of us boys.It was nice to be able to be and feel free in the beautiful surroundings of the lake and woods,and the fact that our parents didn;t have to worry about things parents have to now! Long lines,hundreds of $ and all the commercial crap and especially the line where if you have more money to pay you don;t have to wait as long as the less fortunate or those with big families (express lines) to go on a few rides for a whole day.Now that I am a single Dad with a 12 yr old daughter I only wish that there were more places like Ghost town in the Glen that I could take my little girl to and have those memories,it almost like finding a private fishing hole nobody else knows about.LOL Well I’m sorry about the book but I’ll never forget the joy this place gave me and to my now deceased father Thank you very much.Thanks also brothers bill,ryan,patrick,dave,john and mike.

  • Jim says:

    All the memories of Rocky Glen will happily remain with me! We always had our end of the school year trip there. I will never forget when they got the Sea Dragon! It’s too bad it all had to end. I wish my children could have the same Rocky Glen experience as me!

  • Don says:

    I remember sitting on stage with Harry at that concert…. worked at the park for a few years as a kid.

    Way too many memories and good times. Sad to see its conditions today.

  • Kim says:

    My mother worked there as a teenager in the 40’s and always spoke about it with great memories. I just got back to California having taken my 19 year old daughter to see the homes her grandparents lived in in Taylor and Moosic. We were exploring the area and stumbled on the signs and empty land. Even though it was sad to see that it really brought back memories of the stories her grandmother shared with me and she loved hearing them. It’s great to be able to read more about the park here!

  • Elaine says:

    As a child of the 50’s Rocky Glen Park was THE greatest destination in the area. Memories still entertain me to this day. That Fat Laughing Lady outside the Fun House still can give me nightmares. The Fun House now adays would cause parents to sue. Wooden planks that would slide and catch your feet. REAL glass mirrors that always were broken off somewhere on the frame. The Caterpillar and the rumors of ‘snakes’ in the cars would cause us all to scream on the ride. Picnics in the grove under the roller coaster—hearing the screams overhead while munching on a hot dog. The small hand pedal scooters down by the lake..sort of like sitting on a skateboard and pedaling with your arms to make the cart move along the small track. Nothing like the good old days. Kids today don’t know what real fun is!

  • John k says:

    I remember goin to the Glenn for the telathons back in the day and seein all. Of channel 16 there . Just walkin threw that park was so exciting as a child and to see it now is a dissappointment. I agree that the park should be reopened. And I think if enough peaple get together we can not only find out who owns but but see if we can reopen this wonderful place that we as children enjoyed so very much. I would love nothing more then to take my daughter there and share my memories with her

  • jamie says:

    rose, i wwondered if anyone remembered them shoot outs i was very young and remember being really scaredlol and the crooked fun house i forgot about that til u said about it. i was there in the 70s, mid. what happened did it burn down?

  • Cindy Bermudez says:

    I remember the shoot outs! They were at the saloons. I remember a guy rolling off of the roof. I loved going there as a kid. It was the 70s for me as well. 🙂

  • Theresa Rusnak says:

    Loved this park, we went every year. My Dad would drag me up the ramp to the rollicoster. I would cry the whole way. Soon as we gat off I would beg to go again. Would love to see it open again.

  • Martin Novak says:

    Does anyone know of a place called Fanti’s Park that was somewhere near Rocky Glenn? My family recounts the many times they went there, but I can’t find any references or traces of it. Apparently, there was a stop somewhere along the Laurel Line that was near the park.

  • Brenda says:

    Like Rose, .comments July 2010 : I have those same memories of Ghost Town in the Glen in the 70’s! Loved the big slide on the burlap bags and I threw up on the spider ride too! And those shoot outs were great as a kid. Loved that place!

  • Bill King says:

    My father still tells stories of the Million Dollar. I have great memories and pictures on the paddle wheeler in the late 50’s Does anyone remember the smell of the candied pop corn?? Or the smell of the rides. In 2007 I went to USGA Senior Open qualifier at Glen Maura Golf Club and looked out at Glen Lake. I picked this course to qualify to get the feeling. It worked and I qualified. I could still see my Grandfather and I on the lake. I also remember getting free rides for every A on your report card. I do remember the snake story in the caterpillar ride

  • Joe Jacopetti says:

    When I was a young boy in the 70’s I would always look forward to going to Ghost Town every summer because of the shoot out..
    I remember getting put in the jail by the Sheriff. I was really upset when I herd that the park was closed and torn down because I wanted to take my children there…

  • Stephanie says:

    I remember Rocky Glen Park. My kindergarten class went on a field trip there. For years after that, my Grandma would take my sister and I for the day to ride all of the rides. It was so much fun. I was so sad to hear Grandma say that the park had closed. Such fond memories of that park.

  • Silas Hoellwarth says:

    Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to take a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information.

  • michelle edwards says:

    I went to rocky glen as a young child was I could remember more, my father worked there he used to be ” black Bart” in the western town/plays he loved it, it would be lovely to have this place restored to a park.

  • Andy says:

    I remember,the band I played with,playing with Harry Chapin there for world hunger back in Aug. of 78.

  • Jerome S. says:

    We had a lot of great times at the park when I was a child. I use to love the watch the gun fight’s or the tilted house. It was great walking up the wall’s in the tilted house. I wish they still had it open for my kid’s and Grandchildren. A lot of memories were made there and still think back all the time about the park. Best of all it kept us out of trouble for the most part.

  • Brian Yezierski says:

    My Grandparents lived in Dickson City. My Dad would take my brother and I to Rocky Glenn every summer from the early 70’s until 1981 when my Grandparents passed away. What a great time of my life, so many memories and great times. I remember getting Wilbert Montgomery’s (Philadelphia Eagles running back)autograph down by the lake. I have several pictures of us at the park. It saddens me to look at what remains. The last time I was there was in July of 1986. I spent the day there prior to going to the NASCAR race in Pocono.

  • Joyce B. says:

    As a child in the 1950’s I remember soooo many wonderful days at Rocky Glen Park. I wasn’t even a year old when I had my first visit there. Every year our school had a school picnic there. I remember the snake scares on the caterpillar and the whip. Does anyone remember the hayday ride? The Million Dollar was no longer working but was a reminder of its glory. I remenber my mother telling me about riding it and how it would stand you right up in your seat. The smells and sounds are still with me fifty plus years later, especially the Fat Laughing Lady in the glass box. It broke my heart to see the pics of how it looks now. Someone should rebuild it. Children need to know what fun really was.

  • Kate Dircksen says:

    I am working on homework on snakes, did you know the largest snake?

  • Gary says:

    I spent a good portion of my formative years at Rocky Glen. First coaster I rode was the Ghost Town Jet aka The COmet aka Mighty Lightining.

    I miss the park, it was affordable and fun just poorly managed. I have wished for years and years it would re-open but I do remember the main reason for closure was the high cost to rpeair the rollercoaster when the chain snapped in 1986. I was on that ride and the cost to fix it and rebuild some rotted sections was $250,000.00 a lot of money for an ailing small business.

    Still talk about Hershey buying the park consumed the rumor mill for years but Knoebels has gone through that same rumor mill as well. However, it should be re-opened it was a great local hang out plus the concenrts on the lake were awesome. (BON JOVI 1985)

  • robin says:

    Hello –

    An author, Harry Angus, five years ago began writing The Encyclopedia of Jerry Garcia Music Venues. Alphabetically by state, there are 1250 venues that include live performances, canceled shows, interview, rehearsal, and recording studios. It’s predominantly about the history of each venue which includes architects, builders, and owners. Taking notice of the venues murals, paintings, statues, stage prosceniums, backstage areas, pipe organs, secret rooms, hidden tunnels, restorations and demolitions. In addition, Jerry’s own history of each venue includes the bands he played with, opening acts and other information. In some cases via dated photos, what guitar he was playing and other anecdotal stuff. Thus far, he has over 900 venue photos approved by over 775 photographers. With your help, he can come closer to his the 2016 self-publishing goal.

    I am seeking your help or guidance to locate the capacity of the Rocky Glenn on a floating stage on a lake in the amusement park during Jerry’s performance on ‘84 with the Jerry Garcia Band.

    Thank you kindly,

    Robin Brown

  • Joe Smer+++ says:

    Went to ROCKY GLEN PARK from about age 5. Spent most spring time there with school friends who came on Nickel Day as a school outing.
    The whole park was beautiful in many ways. The memories are great.
    Remember the Swiss Cottage, the Glen Canal, The acrobats on the beach each afternoon and evening, the many fireworks fired from there when only Ben Sterling could afford them. Jennings were there for many years and I remember the fun house. Ice Skating in Winter. Have not heard of anyone with a bad memory of the park. Must stop somewhere so I will STOP. Joe – Moosic Schools when it was First through Twelve.
    Would love seeing it renewed.

  • Laurie Johnson says:

    I, too, spent time at this park. Loved going & was very affordable. While I am too young to have ever seen the Million Dollar Coaster up & running, I do remember seeing the remains standing many years after it closed. Looked impressive to this little girl at the time. What happened that it was shut down after only about 11 years of operation? This isn’t addressed…just says it closed in 1957.

  • Michelle angela says:

    My dad played black Bart in those shoot outs.. Boy I do miss Ricky Glen.. And that place was where my dad’s love of magic stemmed from I’m sure.. Such an amazing guy he is.. I can only imagine the crowd he drew I never saw him work if I did I don’t remember but we still have his photo dressed up as black Bart he can be found on Facebook hed love to reminese his name is Richard Edwards resides in moosic to this day

  • Brian P. Keane says:

    I remember Ghost Town In The Glen 1970’s Camp Len-How in Nicholson Pa used to charter 3 buses and bring their campers up there several times during the summer season. The main thing I remember was the Roller Coaster it was one of the shakiest rides in the East Coast. I used to trip on LSD and walk down to the Shaky crooked house down near the towpath. The memories the food the people all gone now. Its a shame nowadays you have Six Flags and Hersey Park that attacks millions of weekend warriors who wish to be frightened.
    It was a great 2 years.

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