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The abandoned Rocky Point amusement park in Warwick, Rhode Island, is truly a small piece of American history

David Goran

The history of Rocky Point begins back in the late 1800s. It was an idea first thought of by Captain William Winslow in the 1840s. By 1847, he had purchased a part of the land and began to offer amusements and serve dinner. The profitable business eventually grew to become a large amusement park, featuring a multitude of rides and attractions.

A postcard from 1912. Source

A postcard from 1912. Source

 

1940s postcard. Source

1940s postcard. Source

 

Rocky Point Banners. Source

Rocky Point Banners. Source

From the 1950s through the mid-1990s, Rocky Point Park was one of the most popular attractions in Rhode Island. There were a number or various roller coasters over the years. It’s most famous rides included a Russian Toboggan, Looff, Tumble-Bug, The Wildcat, Cyclone, The Saltwater Flume, the Corkscrew Loop Coaster and the Freefall, which fell 13 stories at 55 mph (89 km/h).

Even though the park officially closed in 1995, it reopened briefly in 1996. Sign for the Roto Jets ride. Source

Even though the park officially closed in 1995, it reopened briefly in 1996. Sign for the Roto Jets ride. Source

In the early 1990s, the privately held company that owned the park began to lose money as it attempted to keep the park up to date. Due to financial difficulties, the park filed for bankruptcy in 1996, when it then auctioned off most of the rides. Rides such as the Flume and Corkscrew are now in use at other amusement parks. The Shore dinner hall remained open for a year or two after that, and eventually, the land wasn’t used at all.

Left - salvaged Frankenstein Cart from the House of Horrors ride. Right - Sky Liner cart from Rocky Point Amusement Park recovered after it closed in 1995. Source

Left – salvaged Frankenstein Cart from the House of Horrors ride. Right – Sky Liner cart from Rocky Point Amusement Park recovered after it closed in 1995. Source

 

Left-Darth Vader Cart from the House of Horrors ride. Right-Salvaged Werewolf cart for the House of Horrors ride. Source

Left-Darth Vader Cart from the House of Horrors ride. Right-Salvaged Werewolf cart for the House of Horrors ride. Source

In July 2003, after the Rocky Point was sold to the U.S. Small Business Administration for $8.5 million, the park’s main building, known as the “Big House”, was hit by vandals who lit it on fire on September 2, 2004. Police said the fire was suspicious because the building had no electricity at the time.

An arch from the amusement park remains in the State Park. Source

An arch from the amusement park remains in the State Park. Source

As of November 2014. the State of Rhode Island is coordinating the development of Rocky Point State Park with the City of Warwick. Use by the public is being managed by the DEM Parks and Recreation office.