Mountain Park Memories
Part 2
as told by Bret Malone

A typical day at Mountain would be to pull up into the tree shrouded and shady parking area early in the day. After walking up the steps near the Carousel, we would head toward the office as the Flyer played a mean game of "Peak-A-Boo" over the tree tops. Inside Id greet Walter, ask how things were, and venture out onto the midway with tickets, first stop of course, the Flyer for a "Wake-ME-Up" run.

As always, she delivered, the Fan Turn being a wicked section to ride in the last seat. Next up was the Dinosaur Den, which, still to this day, and a great many other Dark Rides later, is still ranked in my top ten due to both its Huge layout, great stunts, wonderful facade and overall detailing! Just seeing the Pop over the midway section and being able to walk under this was well worth the trip.  The Pirates Den was, much like Jay spoke of, a more Kids type of ride, but at night, under the glow of black lighting, it too packed a punch and took on a more sinister look and feel. After the two dark rides, it was time to hit the Carousel for a spin, as well as the Whip and Dodgem. A "Time Out" was taken playing a good round of Mini-Golf.  Back down the main midway we would ride the Tilt, and Satellite Jets  then on a rare spinning ride, the Tempest, but remember, Mountain wasn't just rides, it was also about its people who worked there, as you are about to see! 

One of my all time favorite Amusement Park folks was a very special lady who worked in the parks Pavilion building, near the back end of the Flyer's turnaround. Walking up to the building, you would enter the building thru garage type of roll-up doors.  There was a stage at one end, and several food stands at the other. Here was one of the very special folks who made the park what it once was: "Friendly Mabel".  This lady wore a smile almost as big as a paper plate, she was like a long, lost Aunt to many of us, and no matter what your mood was, after conversing with her, you would view the world through happier eyes. We would grab some great slices of Pizza, a pitcher of Beer, and wait until Mabel made her way towards our wooden table. Here she would ask us questions much like: " how are you kids doing today?", "Nice weather we are having at the park today, no?", "Have you taken a ride on the Big Coaster yet?".,  etc. etc. Once you left the building, full, you were also happy, mostly due to that special  Women, whom, I might guess, was up there  at the park  for a few years,  but had a heart of gold much like a child. I miss her badly to this day, as do, I'm sure, many other folks.

Could this have been the Editor, circa 1985, hanging out and talking "shop" with "Friendly Mabel"? He's not commenting, but we suspect it may very well have been!  Mabel was a huge part of Mountain Park due to her smile and personality!

fter stuffing ourselves badly, it was time to hit the midway and have some more fun.  We said our Goodbye's to Mabel and set off for the arcade located in the former OOTW building.  This arcade had wonderful, older games to play, and also had a slew of quarter Pin Ball Machines also from greats like Williams and Bally and Gottlieb to name a few.  Also, located near this building along the midway was one of my favorite gags of all time:  There, mounted near the buildings wall was a funny, wooden Barrel. It had a sign that read:  Insert 25 cents for a BIG surprise!".  It had a coin slot at the top, and what looked to be a small hole at the bottom. Park goer's would venture past this machine, stare at the words on the sign, then insert a quarter, then go running back several feet to see what would happen! What Did happen, you may ask?!? Well.........  Nothing! Get it? A real surprise!  Very funny to sit back on a park bench and watch the fun out of this little machine that made people laugh themselves silly at being  taken advantage of !

Hanging out and relaxing circa 1986, could this also be the Editor at rest in kiddy land with "Slim Jim The Cow Boy" ? Again, he's not telling, but we suspect it was the Editor at large and very happy at Mountain Park, Holyoke Mass.

e would then have another bite to eat, and start to hit  the rides on the end of the midway, the Scrambler, Bubble Bounce  as well as the Flying Scooters, a really great flying ride!  The sun would start to set, so it was time to ride the Chair Lift, down, down the parks hillside, past the picnic areas and into the woods. If you had a girl with you, it was one of the most romantic spots ever to be at! Back to the Midway, with Night time rides on the Flyer as well as both Dark Rides, and by now, the Pirates Den, would take on a much sinister look. Soon, the eve grew older, so we would say our goodbye's and head out to the parking lot for the trip home, all the while with the Flyer's lights sparkling in the night sky, a simple beacon of pleasure for all to see and view! Lazily, we would set our charts for home, as the Carousel's music stuck in our heads for several hours. It would be this way for many years to come.

hen the unthinkable happened with Mr. Collins "other" amusement Park interest getting involved in a huge fiasco. Mountain soon would be affected by this in an in-direct way as well. In the Fall of 1987, I was at a rather famous Roller Coaster and Amusement Ride meet by a great Coaster Club in the state of PA. Remember, this was way before the internet and info at the speed of light was to become. I was waiting in line for a roller coaster ride, when a friend came up to me and said: "did you hear what happened at Mountain Park?"" Huh", I replied, (half not thinking). "Bret, there was a bad Train accident hurting some kids and the park is slated to be closed". "What?!?" was my reply. "Naw' that just cant be", I thought to myself. But, as the night wore on, it was soon learned that this was indeed fact. The park was completely cleared from any wrong doing in the Train accident, but ownership had enough of the Amusement Park Business. I drove home that dark night, and a 5 hour trip suddenly lasted an eternity as I couldn't fathom the fact that "MY" amusement Park was going away? Through sad eyes I trying to reason with reality. A phone call to Walter  at the park on Monday confirmed what I had heard. Mountain Park was for sale.


Winter came and we all held our fingers crossed that the park would be bought and returned to its former glory, but it wasn't to be. Times were very rough for Traditional Parks as the bigger chains started to hurt them badly. And while Mountain wasn't loosing money, it wasn't making much either, needing a large investment to keep it competitive.  After trying for almost a year to sell the park completely, the decision was made to sell off everything piece and memory by piece. I went one last time in the fall of 1988 to take photos of the park. Strangely, Jay Ducharme greeted me at the Parks entrance and fence. He too looked much like myself, sad, tired and very troubled over what had just transpired at "His" park.

It was a very cold and rainy fall day, the wind was howling, and as we walked the Midway, me for the last time ever, we talked in hushed tones about someday writing a book about the park. I think jay, in some ways, just did.  Mountain was removed bit by bit, and the Queen of the Lady gasped a last breath. For the next few years, I was tempted, time and time again to get back to "My" park to see how she was doing, but.... I never did, as, you may note that id much rather remember Mountain as she was, alive, vibrant and Fun, not the Death looking shell of its past. Time moved on while the Park didn't, building after building burned down to the ground. Thank God the Local community saved the Carousel, they deserve it for their hard work! But let me tell you one last thing:

There has not been a day since 1987 in my life that I haven't, for at very least one second, thought about Mountain park and what a great and truly wonderful place it was.  And if you close your eyes, go ahead...... close them!,  you can see that your sitting inside the Food Area,  complete with a Hot Dog and  Fry basket with a cold Beer to wash it all down with, and here comes Mrs. Mabel, Smiling, asking you: :"Hey Kids, have you been on the Dark Rides or Coaster lately?"  Yes Mrs. Mabel, I think we have.

The Editor is eternally grateful for Jay Ducharme and his hard work on this article. It was a complete surprise to get an email from him, a long 14 years after having last talked to him on that balmy, rainy day I put the park to rest in my own mind. Bravo my friend!   Also  Thanks To John Malone as  for his wonderful Mountain Park updates.  And a very special Thanks to Mrs. Mabel, Roger Fortin, and Walter for being such nice folks, and for fueling what has become a lifelong hobby, as well as Edward Leis. Of special mention is the Great Dominic Spadola, who's Dark Rides and Fun Houses may be now gone, but never forgotten! Mountain Park, gone but also not forgotten!  Rest in Peace my friend.

Go to About the Author

EDITORS NOTES: Mountain Park Memories 1 & 2 -- About the Author

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