This Month in History

September

  • 1968: The "Greatest Ride Ever Built," the Cyclone Racer, ended its 38 year reign at Long Beach, California, on September 15, 1968, when it gave its last ride. Over the next month, it was demolished for new road construction leading to the permanently docked Queen Mary. Ironically, in recent years, much has been written about the twin-tracked coaster, designed by Frederick Church in 1929. Several news articles have claimed there may be plans in the works to bring back the giant coaster. Although it would be in a new location, time will tell if politicians and city representatives might see the benefit of recreating something that remains in the minds of its citizens, as a tool to bring tourism to the city.
  • 1971: On September 6, Coney Island, the river front amusement park in East Cincinnati, Ohio, officially closed. It opened on June 21, 1886, as Ohio Grove, the Coney Island of the West — the name was later shortened to simply Coney Island. Because of the countless floods from the Ohio River during the eight decades of operation, Taft Entertainment had the opportunity to purchase the property in 1969. The following year, a new enterprise named Kings Island, was already under construction in Mason, Ohio, replacing the famous amusement center. While many of the park’s rides were moved to the new location, Coney Island’s last wood coaster, the 1947 Shooting Star, was razed although partially recreated in the new park with the Racer — as a high capacity twin tracked racing coaster. Coney Island eventually reopened in 1973 utilizing its enormous pool and picnic venues.
  • 1977: Taking a small pay cut, Tom Rebbie saw potential in taking on a new position with the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. On Sept. 19, Rebbie worked drilling holes in the floor boards of new coaster cars for $4.25 per hour (he had left a job that paid $12 more a week in salary). Under the direction of company president Sam High III, Rebbie assumed the position of General Manager in 1985. Rebbie purchased the company outright with a partner in 1991, changing the name to Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters. The world's oldest roller coaster company moved to a larger facility in nearby Hatfield in 1999. Rebbie has kept up with the industry with new products such as the PTCI 360 Coaster Cars and the Accessible Transfer Seat (now patented). One could almost say that Rebbie has never looked back during his successful 40-year stint in the amusement industry.

—Compiled by Richard Munch/NRCMA Historian