Amusement Park and Ride Books

A Century of Fun: A Pictorial History of New England Amusement Parks
Bob Goldsack
1993 by Robert Goldsack, Published by Midway Museum Publications, Nashua, NH No ISBN
A surprisingly detailed look at virtually all the major Amusement Parks that have existed  in New England. Loaded with pictures and a background on each park.

A Century of Wheels 1893-1993
by Roger A. Deem (Eli Bridge Company)
Published by Eli Bridge Company, Jacksonville, Illinois
A nice guide to the history of the Ferris Wheel by the company that built many of them. 28 pages. 82 photographs.

Amusement Park Guidebook 1987 Edition
by James W. Reed

An older guide to all the major amusement parks in the US listing every ride in each park. In it's day, this was THE reference for traveling to parks. 239 pages. No photographs. Out of print.

Amusements for Parks
Philadelphia Toboggan Company catalog reprint by Amusement Park Journal

A small catalog introducing the amusements that the Philadelphia Toboggan Company offered.

Are you Chicken? A Coward's Guide to Roller Coasters
by Robert R. Reynolds
Published by Northern Lights Publishing, Jupiter, FL,

The Carousels of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company
by Charles J. Jacques, Jr.

Lists every carousel manufactured by PTC with plenty of company history.

The Coasters of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company
by Charles J. Jacques, Jr.

Lists every roller coaster manufactured by this popular coaster manufacturer. Includes a wonderful history of the company.

Guide to Ride
by Allen Ambrosini and Randy Geisler, American Coaster Enthusiasts

A list of all the roller coasters in North America with directions and plenty of statistics.

Guide to Ride Update 1992-1995
by Lisa Scheinin, American Coaster Enthusiasts

An update to the above volume listing new rides and changes.

Harry G Traver: Legends of Terror
by Richard Munch
1992 American Coaster Enthusiasts. ISBN 0-935408-02-9
Published by Amusement Park Books, Inc., 20925 Mastick Rd., Fairview Park, OH 44126
Details the life and rides of Harry Traver, who created some of the most wicked roller coasters ever made as well as some other popular amusement park rides.

The Incredible Scream Machine, A History of the Roller Coaster
by Robert Cartmell

This is THE book of all roller coaster books. The best reference to roller coaster history with tons of information and pictures.

Rhode Island Amusement Parks
by Rob Lewis and Ryan Young
1998 by Rob Lewis and Ryan Young. Published by Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, SC. ISBN 0-7524-1302-3
A nice book about the major parks of Rhode Island including Crescent Park, Vanity Fair, Aquidneck Island Park, Rocky Point, Boyden Heights and Oakland Beach. Also includes a section on nearby Massachusetts Parks. 128 pages. 200+ pictures

Roller Coaster Fever
by John Waldrop, Richard Munch and Jon-Michael Reed

Out of print This was the book that coaster fanatics lived by, with directions and statistics about all the roller coasters in North America. Has data on many long gone rides.

Roller Coasters, Flumes and Flying Saucers - The story of Ed Morgan and Karl Bacon, Ride Inventors of the Modern Amusement Parks
by Robert R. Reynolds
1999 Robert Reynolds, Published by Northern Lights Publishing, Jupiter, FL, ISBN 0-9657353-5-4
Excellent book about how Ed Morgan and Karl Bacon invented the tubular steel track coaster with a lot of behind the scenes information and enough technical stuff to keep it interesting.

Scary Dark Rides
by Doug Higley
1999 Doug Higley, No ISBN
The first real book about a ride that is long overdue for book. Scary Dark rides is about the rides at parks and focuses on portable versions as well. Lots of pictures backed up by text with a very interesting center foldout.

Books about specific parks


Hersheypark - The Sweetness of Success
by Charles
J Jacques, Jr.
1997 Charles J. Jacques, Jr., ISBN 0-9614392-1-1 (hard), 0-9614392-2-x (soft)
Like other books from the same author, this one is very detailed and well researched. The history of Hersheypark is offered from the humble beginnings of the Hershey family up until 1996, when the Wildcat roller coaster was introduced. 218 pages.

Berksiana 1776-1976
by Charles Schuyler Castner

One chapter concerns happenings at Carsonia Park, Berks County, Reading, PA.

Bridgeton - In And Around The Old Country Town
by Bill Chestnut
1996 Bill Chestnut. Published by Arcadia Publishing, Dover, New Hampshire. ISBN 0-7524-0467-9. Soft cover.
Excellent history of this small New Jersey town, once the home to the famous Pretzel dark ride company. A small section of the book covers Tumbling Dam Park (defunct, Bridgeton, NJ). 128 pages.

Central Park, The Beautiful
(author unknown)

A rather small book of mostly pictures about Central Park in Rittersville, PA.

Conneaut Lake Park - The first hundred years of fun
by Lee O. Bush and Richard Hershey

1992 Amusement Park Books, Inc. ISBN 0-935408-04-5
Published by Amusement Park Books, Inc., 20925 Mastick Rd., Fairview Park, OH 44126
A very detailed book of Conneaut Lake Park (Conneaut Lake, PA) including many fantastic photographs.

Goodbye Westview Park Goodbye
by Charles J. Jacques, Jr.

Excellent history of Westview Park (Pittsburgh, PA). This book has same attention to detail that the author provides in all his books.

A History of Lakemont Park 1894-1989
by Lakemont Park Historical Museum, Inc.

Traces the history of Lakemont Park (Altoona, PA) from it's beginnings, through the Boyertown USA stage that almost destroyed the park, to the present Lakemont.

Idora Park - The Last Ride of the Summer
by Rick Shale and Charles J. Jacques, Jr.
1999 Charles J. Jacques, Jr. Published by Amusement Park Journal. ISBN 0-9614392-6-2
A thorough history about one of nations the most missed amusement parks. Recounts the journey of the park from it beginnings, up through the fire that sealed it's fate and finally to the auction. 142 pages. Over 280 color and B&W photographs. Maps, Lists and Index.

Kennywood, Roller Coaster Capitol of the World
by Charles J. Jacques, Jr.
The author poured over Kennywood (West Mifflin, PA) archives to come up with this great detail packed book.

Mt. Gretna A Coleman Legacy
by Jack Bitner

Mostly concerns the town of Mt. Greta, PA but also includes quite a bit on the amusement parks in the immediate area.

The Passing Scene Volumes 1-20
by George M Meiser IX and Gloria Jean Meiser
Each book includes a section on Carsonia Park and some on Pendora Park (both Reading, PA) Lots of history and pictures of Carsonia Park and other amusement centers around Reading PA. One of the best historical book series around.

Playland - Then and Now
1985 Westchester County (NY)
A Photo Documentary (with some text and descriptions) of the development of Playland at Rye NY. 31 pages. 68 photographs.

Scranton Luna Park
by Jack Hiddlestone
Highlights Luna Park of Scranton, PA as well as some information on other nearby parks.

Smile A Picture History of Olympic Park 1887-1965
by Alan A. Siegel

1983 Alan A. Siegel, 176 pages, Rutgers University Press, ISBN 0-8135-2255-2.

A fantastic history of the great Olympic Park in northern New Jersey



New addition!  = recently added books to the library

Many of the above books can be purchased here

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