Joyland’s History

Photo couresy of Bil Hartman.

Photo couresy of Bil Hartman.

Joyland Amusement Park first opened on June 12th of 1949 by the Ottaway family. It was first opened on East Central Ave. before it moved to 2801 S. Hillside where it is today. Joyland is home to one of the last standing original wooden roller coasters designed by Philadelphia Toboggan Company (now Philadelphia   Toboggan Coasters), which shows that it can stand the test of time. The ride is considered an American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) classic coaster. Joyland has had its share of rides in the park, which constantly changed over the years; many of the rides are historical rides, including the Whacky Shack, a Bill Tracy Dark Ride, the last dark ride project Tracy completed before his death. Whacky Shack is one of the last rides of its kind.

Photo courtesy of Kathy Black.

Photo courtesy of Kathy Black.

There was a Wurlitzer Organ once installed in the park, and if you ask anyone in the city of Wichita who played the organ, they’ll probably tell you “that scary clown, Louie.” Louie was a clown that sat at the bench of the organ, his hands going back and forth as if he were playing it. He was not the best looking clown in the world, rather scary actually, but everyone (who wasn’t scared to death of him) seemed to enjoy him. When Joyland reached its downfall beginning in the early 2000′s, many Wichitans were worried about the future of the park. In 2006, a company based in Florida came in in attempts to reopen the park, but realized at the end of the 2006 season that it would not be possible to open it the following year. So that is where our project comes in, we are looking to not only fully restore Joyland, but make it an attraction that is well known from coast to coast. We are going to reopen Joyland a non-profit amusement park, and plan to partner with local nonprofits.

 

 

 

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