Thursday's Unique Picks - For Your Amusement

We are in the thick of it folks...I am talking full on, one hundred degree August days.
You may have noticed Back-To-School commercials are in full effect. Groan!
Ad found on Google Books from The Billboard, July 25th 1960.
No worries, there is still plenty of time for you to experience a summer fun activity that is
truly a piece of Americana.
Amusement parks, big or small, we love them all. Oh the memories of hot steamy days, standing in lines for hours just to get a thrill for a minute or two. While I love the riding the big, tummy turning roller coasters, there is something to be said about the charm and nostalgia that a small park has to offer.

Vintage,1950's amusement park wrapping paper from ArchipelagoVintage on etsy.
While up in Western New York, around the Fourth of July, the Hubby and I decided to pop over to one of our favorite Amusement Parks. Just our luck, the park was closed on Wednesdays.
Rats! No riding rides, no playing Skee Ball...
Image from the New York State Parks photo gallery.
All was well though, we were still able to walk around the grounds and concentrate on snapping some pictures of one of my old haunts.
View from the Bumper Boat pool.
Midway Park was a originally established in 1898 as a Trolley Park.
When it first opened, there were no Tilt-A-Whirls or Fun Slides.
Fun in 1898 was tennis courts, playing fields, bath houses and a dance hall. Believe it or not, these amenities were just the thing to entice customers to ride the trolley on the weekends.

One of the picnic pavilions at Midway Park, along the shores of beautiful Lake Chautauqua.
For all of you young ones, that may not be acquainted with the sight of trolleys, here is a glimpse of  one rolling up to Midway Park.
Image from an article found on The Gobble: Past Glories: Part II: The Trolley, by Juan Wilson. View of a trolley car entering the park as seen from the roller rink.

The Roller Rink building: This building was constructed in 1916 and originally housed the kitchen, dining hall, dance hall and skating rink. It is currently home to the snack stand, gift shop and park museum.
According to this article: Trolley parks at end of line a throwback to family fun by Beth J. Harpaz, in 1919 there were 1,000 amusement parks across the U.S. and most of them were trolley parks.
Sadly only eleven remain in operation.
Charming handmade "Idora Park" brass locket from Amber Leaf Jewelry on etsy.
Idora Park was another trolley park, located in Youngstown, OH, that opened in 1899 but unfortunately closed in 1984.

Beautiful photograph of The Kennywood Park Marquee, from Spackle The Gap Photography, found on etsy.
Kennywood Park (established in 1898) in West Mifflin, PA, is one of the remaining eleven trolley parks in operation.
Window of the past - Pop Art pendant from VKno's etsy shop. 
Now that you have had your little history lesson for the day... For Your Amusement in this week's Unique Picks, I am going to take you on a tour of Midway park and also share some great finds from etsy sellers along the way, with summer fun at an amusement park in mind.
(Please note: I tried to keep the history lesson fairly painless, especially since you have precious few days left of carefree summer days before the serious learning begins.) 

View of the "ticket cottage", as I would call it, at Midway. I always used to wonder if Goldie Locks would emerge from this little building with rolls of tickets.
This roll of ticket may not get you on a ride but it is a great accessory to add a touch of summer fun to your ensemble. This vintage inspired wood bracelet is from RUTH MIKOS on etsy.
You will need some tickets to ride...
Set of  ten tickets from White Swan Park in Pittsburg, PA. Perfect for your next art project or scrapbook page. Found in Imagine Art 7's etsy shop.
Unlike many large amusement parks, some of these trolley parks still charge "by the ride", instead of having an expensive admission fee at the front gate.
Space Mountain has nothing on this retro space ship adventure ride and the kiddie boat ride at Midway hasn't changed much since I was a little girly. In fact, something tells me that these rides haven't really changed since the 1950's at all.
This is the entrance to "Midway Air Patrol"  I remember dashing into this ride, determined to get the helicopter in the color that I wanted. It was so lame when on occasion, the power hungry ride operator actually assigned you to a specific one.
Image from WNY Memories, Chautauqua Lake web page.
Hop on the Chautauqua Choo Choo for a leisurely spin around the front of the park.

Still chugging along. I think this is a "new- ish" version of the 1960's train.
Can't make it out to Maple Springs, NY, but still in the mood for some kiddie rides?
This pick will bring a little amusement park fun into your home.

It only costs a quarter to ride, but you may have to weigh only 40 lbs. to fit into it. This is an amazing 1950's child's personal ferris wheel from Hoard Antiques etsy shop. Seriously, how often are you going to find something this cool to put in you home that will help you earn a little extra change from your own children!
Searching for something a little more thrilling?
Give the Tilt-A-Whirl a whirl...
Still one of my favorite rides at Midway, or at any amusement park for that matter. Minutes of joy for me as I spin the car as fast as I can, usually to the dismay of whoever agrees to ride with me. Does this make me vindictive?
This great original "viewfinder" photo of an old bumper car sign can be found in Scarlet Beautiful2's etsy shop.
Midway does have bumper cars too, but I couldn't snap any pics because the building was closed up.
Guess you will just have to go there to see them for yourself!

"Ferris Wheel Delight" is a lovely fine art photographic print from RiciS' etsy shop.
One thing that Midway is lacking, that you may have to go elsewhere to find... 
What!?! "No Fair"-ris wheel!

Simmer down...
Wouldn't you rather ride on a coaster anyway?
Thrill filled, illustrated roller coaster birthday card from rachel Ink on etsy.
This is where the men are separated from the boys. It is roller coaster time.
Yeah he looks thrilled, at Pee Wee Valley amusement park, near Cincinnati, OH. September 1956. Image found on a website called City Data.
"The Little Dipper" was added to Midway in 1956.

Are you sensing why this is called "The Little Dipper"?
Sure you can handle the Junior Coaster but do you have the guts to go on the Dragon?
Dragon, made it's debut at Midway in 1984.
I remember when this was the new ride in the the park and I had to build up my courage to ride it. I won't lie, it's pretty fast.
Some amusement park fun for all ages can be found on the Midway Merry-Go-Round.
This was my lil sis's favorite horse, "Fire Cracker". He is still kicking, or should I say trotting.
Another pretty pony.
Beautiful painted details around the top of the Carousel.
Picture perfect, yet no longer able to house the merry-go-round. I am sure that the lovely winter weather in Western New York has taken its toll on this building over the years.
When I was little, the carousel was located inside this structure. While the shabby chic look is quite en vogue, it made me a little sad. Fingers crossed the state of New York has some big plans to restore it. (I know, ha ha)

This vintage carousel horse appliqued dress would be a dream to wear for an afternoon at a trolley park.  Dress your little lady in this number from The Fancy Tail's etsy shop.
These picks are a merry reminder of a merry time on any carousel.
Pretty brass carousel charm found in TheseNThose etsy shop.
Vintage Mc Coy carousel horse planter from Vintage 4 Vintage's etsy shop.
Before you leave for the day, you need to make sure that you hit the Arcade at Midway...
Stop acting like you aren't impressed.
Where else can you have your fortune told by Princess Dorinda?
Slightly creepy, yet captivating, this antique machine is a cost effective way to predict your future.
If you want to bring home some great loot you will need to test your skills.
Pictures from the inside of the arcade are courtesy of the Hubby. Please remember that the park was not open, so he went on a covert operation for me.
Test your skills on these antique Skee Ball machines. FYI- I happen to know a little secret to getting a few bonus tickets out of one of these machines. It took years of practice to figure it out and I will never tell.
That's the ticket! "I Dream of SkeeBall", Great photographic print from Big Bean Photography on etsy.

With a wad of tickets that you won in the arcade you can make your way over to the prize counter to claim your "major award". Twenty five dollars spent to win the tickets that you are so excited to trade for twenty cents worth of treasured trinkets. Yes, it's a profit thing.

Treasured trinket winnings of yesteryear...
Antique 1903, ruby flash Cedar Point mug from The Unique Bird's etsy shop. Now this was a primo prize if you ask me. I wonder how many tickets that would cost you?
Adorable vintage plush animals from Black Scottie Treasures on etsy. I would even be overjoyed with winning these cuties. I am sure these would have been another high ticket item.
Alas my friends, times have changed, my brother-in-law's last win at Midway consisted of some jelly rings and Twizzlers. It's not about the prizes though. It is how much fun is had while playing the games. Right?

Beautiful original artwork titled,"Found" by Cathy Nichols.
I hope this weeks Unique Picks have inspired you to leave your lovely air conditioned house and head out for some "hot fun in the summertime" at the amusement park.


  1. What an awesome collection of amusement park images! I am so honored to be included here. :)

  2. Thanks so much for checking it out and having such a great piece for me to include in this post!
    I just found another blog post from with another great retro amusement park for you to discover in PA...

  3. this is one of the coolest blogs i have ever seen! i'm so proud you displayed my vintage roller coaster gift wrap in your work. i want so badly now to experience all you've shown and talked about - what a wonderful part of america's culture. the closest i ever got was the midway at cedar point back in the 70s and 80s. wandering up and down the aisles, eating sticky caramel apples and nasty cotton candy, and losing all my money trying to win even one little toy, was wonderful. all the bright, colorful bulbs lighting up the night sky and the too-loud music blaring after a long day of going on every ride in the park made me feel like i was in a dream.

    great piece. thank you.