williams grove amusement park
In the 1850's the William's family began hosting family picnics and community events in the village of William's Grove outside of Mechanicsburg Pennsylvania. The family park had grown into the Mechanicsburg Fairgrounds within 20 years and by 1928 the fairgrounds received their first rides. After World War I the property ownership had changed hands multiple times but the late 1920s owners were the ones who developed this family park into an amusement park. Right before World War II, in 1938, the Williams Grove Speedway half-mile track opened across the street from the amusement park and is still open to this day.
Overgrown Cyclone wooden rollercoaster
In 1972, Morgan Hughes purchased the amusement park for $1.2 million. The New Jersey Palisades Amusement Park had closed that same year and Hughes was able to purchase many of their rides and relocate them to Williams Grove. That same year, Hurricane Agnes caused flooding that nearly destroyed the park but Hughes stayed true to his investment and rebuilt. The Yellow Breeches Creek surrounds the amusement park and has flooded the grounds on a number of occasions both before and after the hurricane which put a strain on maintenance costs.
Old train chairs outside of the bathroom behind the park
Cyclone wooden rollercoaster
Strip with park games and booths
One of the cars from the little dipper that was removed from the park in 1963
The Cyclone was the main attraction of the park
After staying open for 33 years, the Hughes family decided to focus on the Williams Grove Speedway and in 2005 they made the decision to close the amusement park. The following year they tried to sell the property but were unable to find a buyer interested in keeping the park intact and operational. The Hughes family lost their opportunity to find a buyer for the park so they kept it and auctioned off some of the rides late 2006. Morgan Hughes passed away in 2008 and the park still remains untouched except for the occasional flea market held on the property in the summer.
Inside the former carousel shed
Exterior of the former carousel shed
the Rides of williams grove amusement park
Fence on the bridge which is the only way to the park since it is surrounded by the Yellow Breeches Creek. Spikes and barbed wire cover the top and sides making the small gaps in the middle our only way in.
The first hill of the cyclone wooden rollercoaster
"Pennsylvania's Creepiest Abandoned Amusement Park: The Williams Grove." The Vintage News, 16 Aug. 2016, www.thevintagenews.com/2016/08/16/priority-9/.
Vee, Wendy. "The Remains of Williams Grove." Roadside Wonders, 12 Oct. 2010, roadsidewonders.net/the-remains-of-williams-grove/.
"Williams Grove Amusement Park (Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, USA)." Roller Coaster DataBase, rcdb.com/4681.htm.
"William's Grove Amusement Park." Theme Park Review, www.themeparkreview.com/wgrove/wgrove.htm.
"Williams Grove Amusement Park." RideZone, www.ridezone.com/parks/pa/williamsgrove/index.htm.
10/1/2019 05:44:25 am
Hitchhiker friend and I visited park in early 70's to see Ernest Tubb perform.We hiked from Gettysburg.
7/26/2020 10:28:13 am
I have a question. I'm looking for a space to run an interactive live action experience. Who could I speak with about using the grounds to do so?
9/26/2020 09:58:37 am
Hey Jeff sorry for the late response. I’m not sure who owns the property, you might have to get in touch with the town of Mechanicsberg PA to get contact info. It seemed like there was a house on the property and someone lived there so you might even be able to get an address to mail them a formal request.
1/31/2021 03:20:54 pm
Don’t bother she is very rude I had asked her if I could come on her property and take pictures of the old roller coaster and she was very ignorant
5/12/2021 04:48:44 pm
I was curious as to if this information was still current as far as your knowledge? I'm currently writing a blog about Williams Grove Amusement Park. (Don't worry, I intend to give full credit where it is due!)
Charles R Bishop
8/27/2021 12:01:07 pm
To the Hughes family I remember delivering ice cream to the park and visiting it for the rides and picnics many times. I still live in Mechanicsburg and many would like to visit and remember what it had. If I can (I know I can) could we get a group together to visit and true to clean up the area a little as volunteers?
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All photos taken by Sami Fego unless stated otherwise