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Old Houston Amusement Places


belmontdrew

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The park was definitely gone by Carla, because Colt 45 Stadium had broke ground. Not sure how much total damage Audrey did, but sparky said the coaster fell over causing a lot of damage, not sure to the extent of destroyed. I am sure Sparky could come up with a year.

Audrey_before_landfall.gif

Audrey @ landfall

Not sure what other it could be, unless it was the Cat 1 that hit Houston in 1943.

Edited by Mark F. Barnes
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The park was definitely gone by Carla, because Colt 45 Stadium had broke ground. Not sure how much total damage Audrey did, but sparky said the coaster fell over causing a lot of damage, not sure to the extent of destroyed. I am sure Sparky could come up with a year.

Audrey_before_landfall.gif

Audrey @ landfall

Not sure what other it could be, unless it was the Cat 1 that hit Houston in 1943.

It was the first hump that was blown over so it only damaged things in the front part of the park. I married and moved away in 1952 so I know it was well before that year. I believe it was in the early 40's. Maybe the Houston Library can help us. I will try to get some information from them. Sparky

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It was the first hump that was blown over so it only damaged things in the front part of the park. I married and moved away in 1952 so I know it was well before that year. I believe it was in the early 40's. Maybe the Houston Library can help us. I will try to get some information from them. Sparky

This is a brief history of the roller coaster that I found with a picture of it for sale on ebay...

"This rare photo of the ROCKET (aka: Cyclone) roller coaster at PLAYLAND PARK in Houston, Texas was taken in 1943. This roller coaster was built in 1941 and was the last roller coaster designed by famed coaster designer John Miller, who died in Houston shortly after he completed this coaster. The coaster was dismantled in 1967 where it has been nearly forgotten by city historians."

This must be the hurricane that Sparky remembered...

1943

HURRICANE (Cat. 1* - July 27th landfall)

This hurricane moved inland over Bolivar Peninsula near Galveston Bay. Houston had a wind gust to 132 mph, Texas City recorded a gust of 104 mph, and Beaumont recorded 17.76" of rain. Nineteen persons died. Damage totaled $17 million.

* - Hurrtrak data indicated a Category 1 status; NHC/TPC documents had peak at a Category 2.

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Only thing T-Bird, it had to be gone before 67, the Dome was open by then, And I am pretty sure it was dismantled before the ground breaking on Colt 45 stadium, and the broke ground there in'61. Here's an aerial photo of the Domw in '65, and I think that's just about the correct direction to be looking right at the coaster if it were still there. Maybe I am turned around.

odome.jpg

It could possibly be just left of the photo but I don't remember it being there opening day in April of '65

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This is a brief history of the roller coaster that I found with a picture of it for sale on ebay...

"This rare photo of the ROCKET (aka: Cyclone) roller coaster at PLAYLAND PARK in Houston, Texas was taken in 1943. This roller coaster was built in 1941 and was the last roller coaster designed by famed coaster designer John Miller, who died in Houston shortly after he completed this coaster. The coaster was dismantled in 1967 where it has been nearly forgotten by city historians."

Surely there must be a photo/renderings of this now mysterious and almost forgotten coaster? My imagination pictures a 1930's Flash Gordon futureistic style OR a streamliner train appearance? It would seem that if people with enough interest could raise $ and recreate that good old coaster?

Photos of this coaster anyone out there! :(

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Surely there must be a photo/renderings of this now mysterious and almost forgotten coaster? My imagination pictures a 1930's Flash Gordon futureistic style OR a streamliner train appearance? It would seem that if people with enough interest could raise $ and recreate that good old coaster?

Photos of this coaster anyone out there! :(

courtesy of ebay

http://cgi.ebay.com/1943-PHOTO-Houston-Tex...0QQcmdZViewItem

Edited by gnu
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A grand sight to see!

Photo even shows date on bottom left. 1967 is the date of its demise, am I to assume that as a 7 year old kid I could have seen it in person in 1967? but that would contradict when Sparky said it was partly destroyed after that storm. Wait, maybe the photo is just giving duration of Playland as a whole. I is confused now. Guess it doesnt matter anyway its all gone.

It frustrates me to think that the coaster (carts) are under tons of rust in the city dump. Grrrrrr. :angry: There's tear in my beer.

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WHoever is selling these prints is full of it.

houstonrolllercoastermay1943ur7.jpg

Go back and look at post #143

http://www.houstonarchitecture.info/haif/i...st&p=102266

This photo came from the Smithsonian, Dated May 1943. Looks like the same photo they are running prints off of and sell on eBay. Something is fishy. I am not buying it's 1967, I went to the Dome too many times back then and it would stick out. It was down before Colt 45 Stadium went in, I am almost positive. Playland was where Murworth intersects Main st. You couldn't miss it.

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WHoever is selling these prints is full of it.

houstonrolllercoastermay1943ur7.jpg

Go back and look at post #143

http://www.houstonarchitecture.info/haif/i...st&p=102266

This photo came from the Smithsonian, Dated May 1943. Looks like the same photo they are running prints off of and sell on eBay. Something is fishy. I am not buying it's 1967, I went to the Dome too many times back then and it would stick out. It was down before Colt 45 Stadium went in, I am almost positive. Playland was where Murworth intersects Main st. You couldn't miss it.

Maybe I can help out a little. Only the first hump fell over. The rest of the coaster was not damaged. It was rebuilt and the things in the park were repaired. If any one knows when ground was broken for the Astrodome that will tell us when the coaster was dismantled. The land under the race track and under the back half of the coaster was sold to the Astrodome complex and converted into a parking lot. Once the back of the coaster was gone, the park itself only lasted a few years. Like I said in a previous post I left the park in l952 after I got married. I know that the coaster was still complete at that time and up until at least l954 or l955 because I brought my son back to ride the boat road for children. Speaking of rides, I don't see any of them thru the framework of the coaster. You should be able to see the Ferris wheel, the Dive Bomber, The airplanes, the racetrack, etc.. I don't know when this picture was taken but I believe that it was taken when the park was just going up. I haven't heard from the library yet. Sparky

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Thanks Spark, I knew I wasn't crazy, they broke ground on the dome on January 3rd 1962. And I was certain it wasn't there when the first game was played April 9th, 1965. I was there and it's would have been right there by the main entrance going in if were still there, there's kno way you could miss it. The entire park was gone before 1967 for sure. I wish I could find a better aerial of that area from '65.

According to the Smithsonian that picture was taken in May of '43

Here's a photo that came from Archie Lacy's grandkids, with a picture of Ed Hamblen, on the left, with Billy Wade in the Archie Lacy Special. That's Archie on the far right. I think that's Joseph Meyer in the middle. I don't know who the other two are, however it's got a good view of the coaster in the background. I'd have to guess early '50's if I had too.

504kgpi.jpg

T-Bird may be able to shed more light on the date of this photo, I think he may have communicated directly with the Lacy family.

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T-Bird may be able to shed more light on the date of this photo, I think he may have communicated directly with the Lacy family.

Per Lacy's grandson, that's a 1957 photo. The #53 A.L. Special had just been built with some '57 Chevy tail fins incorporated into the rear. I agree with Mark that the coaster must have been torn down by the time construction on the Astrodome had begun. Mark, In your earlier post of the dome aerial shot, you're looking to the northeast (the Shamrock, in the upper left of the photo, is about due north of the Astrodome), so Playland would have been out of the picture to the lower left of the photo. Colt Stadium was on the north side of the dome, so the coaster may still have been there for awhile after it was built in the 1960 time-frame and prior to construction start on the dome. Attached a cropped 1968 Houston map (clickable thumbnail) showing the relative locations of the Astrodome and Playland. I guess some of Playland was still there. Murworth runs right where the roller coaster would have been.

th_MapPlaylandDomeCr-1968.jpg

Edited by 57Tbird
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Per Lacy's grandson, that's a 1957 photo. The #53 A.L. Special had just been built with some '57 Chevy tail fins incorporated into the rear. I agree with Mark that the coaster must have been torn down by the time construction on the Astrodome had begun. Mark, In your earlier post of the dome aerial shot, you're looking to the northeast (the Shamrock, in the upper left of the photo, is about due north of the Astrodome), so Playland would have been out of the picture to the lower left of the photo. Colt Stadium was on the north side of the dome, so the coaster may still have been there for awhile after it was built in the 1960 time-frame and prior to construction start on the dome. Attached a cropped 1968 Houston map (clickable thumbnail) showing the relative locations of the Astrodome and Playland. I guess some of Playland was still there. Murworth runs right where the roller coaster would have been.

th_MapPlaylandDomeCr-1968.jpgPlayland was completely gone when the Dome opened. If you remember going to Playland from Houston, you would travel south on Main st. until it became So. Main. The Highway was split, having a high side traveling south and a low side traveling north. You would turn left at Guido's and enter the park thru the giant "Toothbrushs" and right into the parking lot. That entrance would later become Murworth Street. Right after the park was torn down and there was nothing but bare land and the street, you could look to the right and see a Weeping Willow tree still standing. I planted that tree when I was 10 years old. I looked for that tree every time I came back to Houston and saw it for a couple of years until apartments and businesses grew up on Murworth. Oh, the memories this site is bringing back. I thank all of you for this gift at this time in my life. Sparky.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is a photo of Kiddie Wonderland right before it closed down (located on South Main, right by Med. Center, Prudential Bldg. and Shamrock Hilton). Heard a story of Candace Bergen's dad taking her there whenever he was at the Shamrock.

KiddieWndrld.jpg

Edited by NenaE
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I am positive the park and the coaster were still there and operating in spring of 1964. That was the year I got my driver's license and I took a date there. I remember it so vividly because my cute little 16 year old date earped on me on the roller coaster. I saw her a coupe of years ago at a class reunion, and I know she remembers it. She still didn't think it was so funny.

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I am positive the park and the coaster were still there and operating in spring of 1964. That was the year I got my driver's license and I took a date there. I remember it so vividly because my cute little 16 year old date earped on me on the roller coaster. I saw her a coupe of years ago at a class reunion, and I know she remembers it. She still didn't think it was so funny.

I remember Playland Park also...it was definitely there in 1964.

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Interesting thing about the Storm in 1943. The reason there was so much damage and loss of life is that no one was warned. This was World War II and we had a couple of German U-Boats patroling in the Gulf. Consequently we maintained radio silence about the storm. As it turned out, It came right down the Houston ship channel. I was a little kid but I remember the glass being blown out of our windows and all the rain comming in. Another spin off story about Playland.

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Interesting thing about the Storm in 1943. The reason there was so much damage and loss of life is that no one was warned. This was World War II and we had a couple of German U-Boats patroling in the Gulf. Consequently we maintained radio silence about the storm. As it turned out, It came right down the Houston ship channel. I was a little kid but I remember the glass being blown out of our windows and all the rain comming in. Another spin off story about Playland.

You're remembering a storm known to local historians as "The Surprise Hurricane of 1943." KUHF Houston Public Radio did a big story about it last year in its lead-up to hurricane season.

Full transcript with photos and audio at http://www.kuhf.org/site/News2?news_iv_ctr...le&id=20508

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You're remembering a storm known to local historians as "The Surprise Hurricane of 1943." KUHF Houston Public Radio did a big story about it last year in its lead-up to hurricane season.

Full transcript with photos and audio at http://www.kuhf.org/site/News2?news_iv_ctr...le&id=20508

The U-166 was sunk off the coast of Louisana in 5000 feet of water. Good job guys!!!

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Here is a list of the Kiddie Amusement Parks I grew up with:

Peppermint Park :*1st (Original) location - Reveille & Arnim (Gulfgate Shopping City) - 1960's (bldg. gone)

2nd location - Hwy 59 South (Southwest Frwy @ Beltway) - mechanics shop now?

3rd location - 610 North Loop (@ where it meets Hwy 290) - now a plant store

*It had a carousel, train, small roller coaster, helicopters,hand-petal cars,...don't remember live ponies.

Kiddie Wonderland: So. Main & Braeswood (by Prudential Bldg) see my pic/above post.

-live ponies & rides. Where is the old sign now? <_<

Candyland : Shaver St. in Pasadena, right before the Sears Dept. store.

- ponies & rides.

another pony rides at Park Place, rt. before Telephone Rd./ across from police station.Anyone know the name? - ponies & maybe a few rides in mid of track, similar to Candyland.

:) I loved those "old ponies" you all talk about. Good memories. Didn't take much to make us happy.

Edited by NenaE
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I remember Playland Park also...it was definitely there in 1964.

Hi Earlydays. Yes the park was still there in 1964, but not in 1965. The ground breaking for the Astrodome was Jan. 3, 1962. Murworth street was not there at that time, so Playland was. April 9, l965 was when the exhibition game between the Astros & New York Yankees was held. Murworth Street had been constructed and Playland was gone. Hope this clears up the demise of the park. Sparky

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Speaking of amusement spots....does anyone remember the murders at the Malibu Grand Prix (SW location) in 1983?

I went there a few times as a kid in the late 80s but reading this article below some 20 years later gives me the creeps. I never went into the restroom there but still. The building still stands to this day but I'm not sure what is in there.

http://www.baylor.edu/Lariat/news.php?acti...amp;story=11287

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I remem(ber the Malibu Grand Prix murders. I graduated high school in 1987 and we used to go there to play video games and ride the go karts my freshman year. I think it went out of business after that incident.

I remember spending a couple of summers at Astroworld. Remember when HISD would reward kids with perfect attendence with a full free day at the end of the school year? That "free day" was always a total zoo. I used to get the "93Q"? season pass the summers of middle school and spend the entire summer there with my best friend. I remember seeing concerts in the back lot throughout the years (Molly Hatchet, Heart....). We would ride the Cliffhanger over and over until we couldn't stand up straight.

I have older memories of a farmers market/flee market with an ice rink next to what is now Memorial City. I also remeber one of those pony ride parks out west on Westheimer. In high school, we used to go to a laser tag that was somewhere off Bellaire and Gessner (?) I only remember the general location - it was made in what had been an old Safeway grocery store I think and had a second story catwalk where you could view the players below and read on TV screens what the scores were.

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II have older memories of a farmers market/flee market with an ice rink next to what is now Memorial City. I also remeber one of those pony ride parks out west on Westheimer.

The flea market / ice rink was in Town & Country. It was torn down when the mall was built - early 80s. The kiddie amusement park on Westheimer was Wee Wild West.

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What a great memory! I am 52 years old and grew up in Bellaire & Sharpstown until I was 9. Mom & Dad used to take me to ride those ponies at OST & Main. One of my early childhood fond memories.

Other memories in Houston as a child . . .

* Movies at the Trail Drive In, and the new Sharpstown Drive In.

* A big discount store on Hillcroft in Sharpstown called "Globe".

* That jingle . . ."Summer winter spring or fall, stroll in the air conditioned mall, with one stop to shop for all, at Sharpstown Center."

* U-Tote-M was a fairly large chain of convenience stores in those days. Their radio jingle? "Just in case anyone should ask you, you tell 'em U-Tote-M." Their sign incorporated a totem pole.

Yeah, these stand out in my mind too;

* I remember a Globe store, but it was on the opposite side of the 610 West Loop from Meyerland Mall (alongside Beechnut). I found a metallic storage container the other day, with a Globe price sticker on it.

* I remember the many U-Tote-M stores and wonderful totem pole signs

* I remember a drive-in movie theater near Hillcroft and Bellaire.

* There was a restaurant I think called Across the Street, on Hillcroft near Westheimer, and people placed their meal orders by phones at the table

JR

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Wow you guys bring back memories,

Can't say I know much about Playland, but I sure spent some time at the various Malibu fun centers around town. Which there were at least three that I went to regularly. First as a young kid, then a teen and later took my kids to as well.

The first where the triple homicides took place was at 59 and Westpark, right at the curve. The place was doomed even before this happened, mainly due to the neighborhood it was in, or near I should say. "The Gulfton ghetto"

The second was probably better known as Malibu "Castle" fun center, on 610 about two blocks up from Old Katy Rd. This place only recently closed down, what a shame! I have so many memories from here, with all the little houses and castles around the golf courses all lit up at night. Took several dates here durring high school. Ahhh....Good Times, Great Oldies! LOL

The third was on the North side of town. This was Malibu/Watercoaster. The water slides were built into the side of a big hill, and were constructed from concrete. This particular one closed down well before the other two. Dont know the year though. There was also another Watercoster place on Galveston Island near Stewart beach.

All three had the same Malibu race cars, but Castle fun center was the only one with mini golf, bumper boats and batting cages. It was far and away the best Mini golf in Houston. Mountasia just doesn't have the same feel this place did.

Games People Play, thats another one. On 1960 in the Champions area. What a waterslide that was, Huge wooden water tower with the three slides comming out of it. (Anyone remember Sawmill run?)

Now the Putt Putt/Games People Play on Fondren and Beechnut was where I went most often. This started life as just a Putt Putt golf center, then later became GPP and added an arcade and go carts. Some of the best times I had as boy with my dad were here, when it was just Putt Putt. If I close my eye's I can still hear KC and the Sunshine band playing over the PA system at Putt Putt, and get a little chill when I do.

Those times down at Sea Arama were great too. BTW in response to a post made long ago. The name of the park next to here was Jungle Surf, another favorite.

Who here remembers the clock/puppet show thing that they used to have at Sharpstown Mall, back when Sharpstown was just a one story shopping center. This thing went off every hour or half hour, and we used to sit in the drug store snack bar waiting till time for it to go off. Those were the days!

Question for anyone,

We went many times to the mini golf place on Belfort. Was it "Gooney" or "Goofy" golf? I seem to remember it being Goofy golf for some reason.

Regards,

Rhino

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I saw a post a LONG while back by Ojy in this and another forum (where I'll be copying this post) She never did scan in all those family photos.. she's my sister, so I'll apologize for her (she's had a kiddo and is about to have another one, and they kill brain cells, ya know).

So, here's random photo I found of the car rides at Kiddie Wonderland

http://www.angelfire.com/tx5/seributra_d/kw1975.JPG (not embedding it because it's not stored on my own space yet)

Here's a black and white gallery I found while web-crawling which shows some of the ugliness that was our amusement park, there towards the end: FZC photography- Kiddie Wonderland

I saved this forum in my bookmarks so I can share if I come across more (or if, heaven forbid, I manage to get access to the family albums and scan in ours, hehe).

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I saw a post a LONG while back by Ojy in this and another forum (where I'll be copying this post) She never did scan in all those family photos.. she's my sister, so I'll apologize for her (she's had a kiddo and is about to have another one, and they kill brain cells, ya know).

So, here's random photo I found of the car rides at Kiddie Wonderland

http://www.angelfire.com/tx5/seributra_d/kw1975.JPG (not embedding it because it's not stored on my own space yet)

Here's a black and white gallery I found while web-crawling which shows some of the ugliness that was our amusement park, there towards the end: FZC photography- Kiddie Wonderland

I saved this forum in my bookmarks so I can share if I come across more (or if, heaven forbid, I manage to get access to the family albums and scan in ours, hehe).

The FCZ link worked well but the first opended blank? Anyway the FCZ pics were so cool! I clearly remember how the kiddie rides had that neat dated look of the 1940's or 50's style or Googie / retro I guess.

We never thought even taking pictures when we would take my little nephew (then) around 86 maybe to ride the ponies. I remember the poor ponies looked so tired and worn out and the little donkey was always in the background just grazing and hanging out. Boy if those funny littlle animals could talk! Right! :D

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I remember the poor ponies looked so tired and worn out and the little donkey was always in the background just grazing and hanging out. Boy if those funny littlle animals could talk! Right! :D

According to me, when I was 5 or 6 yrs. old, the black or brown ponies were the fastest! You know, you could pick which one you wanted to ride, at the Pasadena place (at least). I believe it was a white pony that jumped the fence, and trotted off with sis (at Park Place)...don't worry, he didn't go far. :lol: I'll say it again, Strange what we can remember...

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The FCZ link worked well but the first opended blank? Anyway the FCZ pics were so cool! I clearly remember how the kiddie rides had that neat dated look of the 1940's or 50's style or Googie / retro I guess.

Hrmm.. I'm not sure what's up with the first link.. I tried it five times and it opened for three of them. Try copying the link into a new browser window maybe?, that way worked both times I did it.

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Wow you guys bring back memories,

Can't say I know much about Playland, but I sure spent some time at the various Malibu fun centers around town. Which there were at least three that I went to regularly. First as a young kid, then a teen and later took my kids to as well.

The first where the triple homicides took place was at 59 and Westpark, right at the curve. The place was doomed even before this happened, mainly due to the neighborhood it was in, or near I should say. "The Gulfton ghetto"

The second was probably better known as Malibu "Castle" fun center, on 610 about two blocks up from Old Katy Rd. This place only recently closed down, what a shame! I have so many memories from here, with all the little houses and castles around the golf courses all lit up at night. Took several dates here durring high school. Ahhh....Good Times, Great Oldies! LOL

The third was on the North side of town. This was Malibu/Watercoaster. The water slides were built into the side of a big hill, and were constructed from concrete. This particular one closed down well before the other two. Dont know the year though. There was also another Watercoster place on Galveston Island near Stewart beach.

All three had the same Malibu race cars, but Castle fun center was the only one with mini golf, bumper boats and batting cages. It was far and away the best Mini golf in Houston. Mountasia just doesn't have the same feel this place did.

Games People Play, thats another one. On 1960 in the Champions area. What a waterslide that was, Huge wooden water tower with the three slides comming out of it. (Anyone remember Sawmill run?)

Now the Putt Putt/Games People Play on Fondren and Beechnut was where I went most often. This started life as just a Putt Putt golf center, then later became GPP and added an arcade and go carts. Some of the best times I had as boy with my dad were here, when it was just Putt Putt. If I close my eye's I can still hear KC and the Sunshine band playing over the PA system at Putt Putt, and get a little chill when I do.

Those times down at Sea Arama were great too. BTW in response to a post made long ago. The name of the park next to here was Jungle Surf, another favorite.

Who here remembers the clock/puppet show thing that they used to have at Sharpstown Mall, back when Sharpstown was just a one story shopping center. This thing went off every hour or half hour, and we used to sit in the drug store snack bar waiting till time for it to go off. Those were the days!

Question for anyone,

We went many times to the mini golf place on Belfort. Was it "Gooney" or "Goofy" golf? I seem to remember it being Goofy golf for some reason.

Regards,

Rhino

It was Goony Golf, I worked there for about year while I was in highschool...place had THE NASiEST BATHROOMS IN TOWN!

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  • 1 month later...
A friend of mine mentioned a kiddie place called Wee Wild West. I went there as a kid (60's) but have no idea where it was. Anybody remember that one?

That was on Westheimer a little west of where the Galleria is now, near where Yorktown comes out.

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>"arrow" never made it to the Bubble at Gateway swimming pool and wants to know how you could breath in it.

Gateway swimming pool, that's why I'm here. It was a large aquatic complex located on Main street near Kirby. Now there is a mini-storage facility built on the front part of that property, the back part and adjoining lot are overgrown and might still yield some Gateway artifacts.

*The Bubble: Gateway pool featured diving boards and a high dive, the deep end was 18 feet, that's about the deepest pool I've ever seen. At the bottom of the deep end was a "bubble," which was a clear dome made of fiberglass or plexiglass, rimmed with a metal band. Maybe 3 feet in diameter and about 1.5 feet from the rim of the dome to its highest point in the center...that is, just enough for you to stick your head up in it. It floated about 3 feet above the bottom of the pool, being chained to the bottom of the pool with 3 chains that were stiffend with metal sheathing. Directly below the dome the bottom of the pool was pierced with a hole from which air bubbled. The air rose toward the surface of the water and got trapped under the dome, forcing water out of the dome and creating an underwater air pocket. You swam down to the bottom and popped your head up into the dome. The water level stayed beneath your chin and you could then stay down there as long as you liked, breathing fresh air and watching surface action thru the clear dome. The bubbles kept the air fresh. Some kids told me about smoking down there, that would have taken some ingenuity with plastic baggies. 18' is a long way down, it took me several years to be able to make it. The first time I made it I was so surprised. I was afraid to go into the bubble, so I swam a circle around it, examining it warily. The next dive I went ahead and entered it and then enjoyed it from there on out. I've never seen nor heard of anything like this. It seems like it would carry a lot of risk. For one thing, there's no way the life guards can monitor people who are spending extended periods of time 18' down. For another, it seems like there would be a risk of surfacing too fast with a lung full of air under 18' of pressure. Anyway, I can tell you this, it was great fun and it made me a good deep water swimmer.

*The bobber: This was some sort of converted deep sea buoy. It was anchored by steel tethers in 5' of water. It was shaped like a ball with half of it submerged and half out of the water. On top, jutting towards the sky, was a pole with a ladder, rising up about 6' from the ball with a crow's nest on top. You climbed up into the crow's nest and tried to rock the bobber back and forth. The goal was to rock it 90 degrees and touch the water. I didn't even weigh 100 lbs at the time, so I never could rock it very much.

*There was a large, rectangular trampoline.

*There was a large table set with a maze, thru which I think you started tops spinning and they battled it out. I never saw this in operation so I'm not sure what it was.

*There was a seperate indoor facility that housed a large pool and was used for swim meets and training.

>Regarding the Playland park:

The one in Houston was Texas first amusement park. There was a sister park in San >Antonio from 1947 to 1980. The giant 2 humped rollercoaster that was the Houston landmark served as the logo of the corporation. There is a wikipedia articla and a book on the San Antonio park: http://www.playlandparkbook.com/index.html

>TexasCE "I can't believe so many people remember Kiddie Wonderland.

Kidde Wonderland on S. Main near Braeswood: I would be amazed if many people didn't remember it. That thing seemed to hang on and on and on. Someone here mentioned that it opened in the early 50s. I went to it as a kid in the early 60s. I was amazed that it continued to hang around in the late 70s, having most of it packed up in the early 70s and just the pony ride left. When it continued to hang around into the 80s, I was utterly shocked. I don't know when it finally closed down, but it was there for at least 30 years.

>"Norhill Dennis" asks about the baseball stadium formerly located on the site of Finger's: The Finger's Fabulous Furniture showroom near 45 and Cullen has a snackbar that doubles as a sports museum dedicated to the baseball stadium that was home to the Houston Colt 45s. There is a home plate there that is in the same location as the former stadiums home plate. Stop by and visit the museum anytime during business hours.

>Roym posts a picture of a 3 hump coaster.

That's a fabulous photo, but the one at the Playland here in Houston was only 2 humps.

>BigDukem69 wants to know where S.Main drive in was and kiddie park underneath the screen.

South Main drive-in was located at the Y intersection of S. Main and Stella Link. That lot is now occupied by a commercial warehouse strip center.

>hbcu mentions Peppermint park, and someone else mentions confusing Peppermint and Playland parks:

Both parks were instantly recognizeable Houston landmarks: Playland Park featured 2 giant rollercoaster humps, and Peppermint Park was an indoor park that was housed in a giant tin single-story building that was painted in vertical pink and white candy stripes. That tin building was moved and still stands, candy stripes and all, as an automotive body shop, visible from 59 but further south, down closer to highway 90. I don't see how anyone can confuse a candy stripe painted building called "Peppermint Park" with anything else.

>Someone mentions Westwood mall and its 2-story merry go round:

That same, or a similar, Merry Go Round is now housed in Memorial City mall.

>belmontdrew wants to know if anyone remembers Games People play.

Yeah, I remember that. That's actually still there and was still operating until recently (as of 2008). It's main attraction was batting cages for the next 20 years after its "games people play" heyday. It also feature the mini-golf course for many more years.

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This photo of the dome is awesome, but it's no good for showing Playland park. You are right, Playland would be out of the frame of the photo, to the left. In this photo you are at the south east of the dome looking north west. You can tell because you can see downtown, and the Shamrock in the background. The street at 9 o'clock on the photo is Murworth, heading due west from the Dome.

Playland would be south of what you can see here, at 610 and Main. Since you can't see 610 from here, you can't see Playland.

odome.jpg

It could possibly be just left of the photo but I don't remember it being there opening day in April of '65

Regarding Goony Golf, we went by there once long after it had been razed. It must have been sitting vacant for at least 10 years. We found a golf ball. Amazing....

Hey RhinoVP: I remember the "Clock of Texas" from Sharpstown mall. I'm amazed that I never hear anyone talking or asking about that.

Here is a picture!!! I wish someone would post a video with sound of it.

post-6468-1214449827_thumb.jpg

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Welcome Larry Brown & thanks for all the detailed info on the amusements, but one minor detail I have to correct, the Peppermint Park roof was painted red & white stripes (to resemble candy canes), not pink.

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This photo of the dome is awesome, but it's no good for showing Playland park. You are right, Playland would be out of the frame of the photo, to the left. In this photo you are at the south east of the dome looking north west. You can tell because you can see downtown, and the Shamrock in the background. The street at 9 o'clock on the photo is Murworth, heading due west from the Dome.

Playland would be south of what you can see here, at 610 and Main. Since you can't see 610 from here, you can't see Playland.

odome.jpg

It could possibly be just left of the photo but I don't remember it being there opening day in April of '65

Regarding Goony Golf, we went by there once long after it had been razed. It must have been sitting vacant for at least 10 years. We found a golf ball. Amazing....

Hey RhinoVP: I remember the "Clock of Texas" from Sharpstown mall. I'm amazed that I never hear anyone talking or asking about that.

Here is a picture!!! I wish someone would post a video with sound of it.

post-6468-1214449827_thumb.jpg

Man! I had forgotten about that clock!

Very cool pic! Talk about a blast from the past...

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Hey RhinoVP: I remember the "Clock of Texas" from Sharpstown mall. I'm amazed that I never hear anyone talking or asking about that.

Here is a picture!!! I wish someone would post a video with sound of it.

post-6468-1214449827_thumb.jpg

DUDE!!!! :lol:

How did you ever find that? Thank you.

That's the way I remember it too, with the flag's and rope around it. Although I seem to recall it being just in shades of blue, that would have been about five years after this photo though.

That used to pass as an attraction back in those day's. People would stand around waiting for that clock to go off. We would sit in that Walgreens and pass the time with a soda and pretzel for however long it was going to be, then go finish whatever shoping we had to do.

Wonderful times those were....

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  • 3 weeks later...

My dad just had some Super 8 footage made into a DVD and there's probably three or four minutes of Kiddie Wonderland on there. The footage dates from 1972 or '73. There are also a few shots from the Rodeo Carnival and others shot on a snow day here. There's some cool scenes of hippy girls on the corner of Westheimer and Mt Vernon pelting cars with snowballs.

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My dad just had some Super 8 footage made into a DVD and there's probably three or four minutes of Kiddie Wonderland on there. The footage dates from 1972 or '73. There are also a few shots from the Rodeo Carnival and others shot on a snow day here. There's some cool scenes of hippy girls on the corner of Westheimer and Mt Vernon pelting cars with snowballs.

That would be awesome to see!! Can you post it somewhere? B)

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Working on it.

I can't wait!! Some of my best memories are from growing up at Kiddie Wonderland (ya, how many kids get to say the LIVED at an amusement park?!). Heck, I still the t-shirt my mom made me wear with the likeness of a park ticket printed on it so that folks could return me to office if I wandered off. Those were the days.

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Wow! That's a great old video from Astroworld.

Thanks for posting.

I second Rhino's reply, those are great Astroworld videos Schwinn posted. Thanks! for going to the trouble, they are priceless. :) Especially since the amusement park is gone. The aerial shots are great, you can see original park rides, as well as how things looked outside of Astroworld boundaries, before every piece of land was developed.

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I second Rhino's reply, those are great Astroworld videos Schwinn posted. Thanks! for going to the trouble, they are priceless. :) Especially since the amusement park is gone. The aerial shots are great, you can see original park rides, as well as how things looked outside of Astroworld boundaries, before every piece of land was developed.

Speaking of the Astroworld boundaries, I still remember when we kids as a group would run and get a ride on the train that went around Astroworld. On ocassion we could see (or bust) :ph34r: other older teens sneaking into the park. I heard as years passed some had cut a the chain link fence to gain access. They would be running in with long hair flying around laughing. Most times the locomotive engineer didnt notice but we would all be cracking up as they ran past. Quiet dangerous it was, but oh well.

I was too chicken to even think of doing that. We always paid, times werent that bad.

Did everyone like the miniature Rainbo Breads they would give you in that tiny bakery shop? Very fresh!

Were about 5-6 inch loaves for about 10 cents each. Mine always got crushed in the running around frenzy/ excitement of the park.

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I think the rainbow bread place was always the first place I hit when I got there and the last when I left. So many times they were always sold out near closing and I left breadless. :angry:

If I remember correctly my yearly pass the very first year was $18. A couple weekends of mowing lawns. Also I think they had one of those cool paint spraying places where you would put a white postcard in a tub and the postcard would be spun at high speed and you would drip all kinds of colors on it to end up with a trippy picture.

Remember waiting in line at the Matterhorn and you would push your sister out of the way so you could stand under the ice cold jets of air-conditioning?

Remember landing at either side of the aerial tram, moist hot air all the way and as soon as you come inside the station you are greeted with a deep freeze of ice cold air.

I think the ride I used to take the most must have been that big round orange centrifugal barrel. They would open the door, everyone would pile in and then you would be spun so fast you hang on the walls while the floor drops 5 or 6 feet below. I being a 6th grader especially enjoyed all the mini skirted riders that would start to slide down the wall.

I heard some crazy stories of people losing their lunch in there spraying other riders but fortunately I was never there when that happened.

I dunno, one of my fondest memories has always been the 25 cent shooting gallery with those guns shooting at all the animated stuff in the 1860's bar with the player piano and the bar maids. They had tons of secret animations if you knew where to shoot. The owl was my favorite.

We also used to spend hours and hours inside the arcade center with all the games and all the old timey games. We were experts at making the rounds every few minutes checking for quarters and extra games that others missed or forgot about.

This has nothing to do with Astroworld but who remembers that museum of torture or museum of weapons near the astroworld hotel? I will always remember the oak barrel where it's closed around your neck then 4 or 5 starving rats were let out in the enclosed area around your face. That must have been one of the worst ways to die ever invented by a sick mind. They also had some full size casket with steel knives pointing inwards. They would close the casket up on the intended victim slowly. I remember visiting that place around 1970-71 ish.

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Edited by SchwinnChopper68
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Wow! Great stuff, Schwinn! You are DA MAN!!!

I remember those little loaves of bread and getting a new map every summer when I spent the day at Astroworld. Parents would drop me and a friend or two off -- we'd spend the day riding the rides, sweating like pigs...and oh yeah -- scoping out all the hot chicks! Parents would pick us up after the fireworks display in the evening (which I thought was one of the best displays around). Ahhh...those were the days. I don't think I'd drop my kids off anywhere like that now -- the world has certainly changed since those days.

I dig this site...really brings back the memories.

PS: Brent Spiner, the actor who played Commander Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation (a graduate of Bellaire High), was an actor on the Crystal Palace show at Astroworld.

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