Paragon Park Paragon Park Giant Coaster
Paragon Park Dark Rides Laff In The Dark
It was a small park with a big heart. When the 29-acre Paragon Park opened in 1905, it had center lagoons and pavilions, resembling a small World’s Fair. By the time I first arrived at the park in 1961, those lagoons had been emptied and filled in, and the pavilions were long gone. But the midway was packed with rides, including several that have given me lasting memories; memories of rides and the family members and friends I rode them with.

Truth be known, my 1961 memories of Paragon Park are rather fuzzy, probably because my grandparents also took me to Old Orchard Beach, Revere Beach, Salisbury Beach and Paragon during a two week-long vacation. 

We spent most of our time at Old Orchard, so my best recollections are of Noah’s Ark, the Coal Mine and the Voodoo Hut attractions which were operating at OOB back then.

We made brief stops at the other parks but I guess it was sensory overload for a seven-year-old such as myself because I recall only bits and pieces from each destination.

Paragon Park Amusements
For instance I do recall Paragon’s JigSaw dark ride by virtue of the fact that it had one of the rarest stunts I’ve even seen: a mule in a seated position descending from the ceiling apparently headed right for my lap. Suddenly, the spotlight illuminating the beast went dark, leaving me holding my arms up to prevent a collision that was never to happen. My grandfather couldn’t stop laughing. He had warned me while waiting in line that “A donkey is going sit on your lap.” But since my granddad had an established reputation for tall tales, I dismissed it. From that day on it was torture not knowing if his warnings were based on fact or fiction.
Dark Ride Paragon Park
Looking at an old postcard (above) that shows the JigSaw in the background, I see that it had some of the old Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) laughing heads on the façade. And I learned about 15 years ago that the cars and track were installed by the Pretzel Amusement Ride Company. That’s quite the combination. Now if only I could go back in time and ride it again. I’m sure I’d remember lots more than I did in 1961.