This Month in History
- 1948: A new amusement park for Council Bluffs, Iowa, was announced in early February. The $250,000 project was built across from Omaha, Neb., at the base of the ramp to the bridge over the Missouri River. The project was headed by Abe and Louis Slusky, who had been involved in the former Krug Park operation in Omaha, and operated Playland Park in Houston, Texas. The new park would carry the same name, Playland. A city building permit for a new $35,000 roller coaster was submitted on Feb. 20, with Abe Slusky announcing that park construction would begin as soon as the weather improved. The park opened that May, with the 60-foot-tall roller coaster serving as the entrance to the parking lot. The coaster was removed during the construction of Interstate 480 in 1964, with the park limping along until finally ceasing operation in 1969.
- 1948: Bethlehem Steel had purchased Bay Shore Amusement Park in Edgemere, Md., in 1947. Former owner George Mahoney reinvested his capital by rebuilding a park on a nearby island, serviced by a small timber bridge. Calling the new operation the New Bay Shore Park, he created a smaller version of the well loved park. While a medium size wood coaster would be added, designed by Oscar Bittler, the two existing wood coasters on the original property were advertised for sale in the Feb. 21 edition of Billboard magazine. Today the properties are part of a regional recreation site, North Point State Park.
- 1948: The State Fair of Texas, in Dallas, Texas, announced plans for almost $2 million in site improvements on Feb. 7. The fair received a long overdue makeover, with new rides and new buildings. With an eye-catching entrance, a new 1.5-acre fun zone for children, called Kiddie Town, included a new wooden kiddie coaster, steam train, boat ride, merry-go-round, Ferris wheel and other attractions aimed at younger patrons. The small coaster, with a 14 foot maximum height, complemented the larger Comet, installed a year earlier. Both rides were the work of Charles Paige. Other improvements included new lighting on the main midway, more decorative midway effects and new seating at the Cotton Bowl. A new structure, the Automobile, Aviation and Recreation building, opened in time for the fair, with a price tag of $800,000.
—Compiled by Richard Munch/NRCMA Historian