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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Puritas Springs Park, Cleveland: Cyclone Coaster Track Remains After Nearly 70 years

So I had heard for years that wooden coaster track survived in the woods from the legendary Puritas Springs Cyclone in Cleveland. I was naturally skeptical because the coaster has been closed since 1958, but alas, there are fully intact track rails deep in the woods, with minimal rot. There are also lots of footers. This John Miller coaster was built in 1928 and shares a similarity to his design on the Pippin (reconfigured to Thunderbolt) at Kennywood, saving its largest drop for the end in what looked like an incredibly thrilling and eccentric design. The coaster careened through the woods and down a giant ravine, at the entrance to what is now the Rocky River Reservation on the southern outskirts of Cleveland near North Olmsted. I will preface this by saying that if you are going to check out this site, it is not very large and located on naturally steep terrain, so be careful if you visit, but also do not expect exploring to take too long, since most of the amusement park's property was covered by typical suburban development in the time. Fortunately though, the whole area is filled with hiking trails, golf courses, and riverside recreation in what is one of the many jewels of the Cleveland Metroparks system, which brings public access to natural areas all across the metro area. 
I accessed it by parking at the parking lot at the bottom of Puritas Ave, near the Mastick Woods Golf Course. From there, I walked up along the giant retaining wall that makes this aggressive road cut possible, up to a decrepit looking driveway area.

From this grown in driveway area, you will see the ravine and almost immediately start to see remnants of footers, which become more intact as you go up the hill.
The first visible remnant.
CeCe was on the trail!
Multiple footers like this remain.



The autumn color in this spot is pretty awesome.
Pieces of wood, though it is unclear if they are related to the coaster or not.
This is the first rail piece that came into view, and naturally, CeCe was very curious about it.
For an idea of what the ride course was like, check out this NoLimits creation by Youtube's RaptorAlex. I am not sure how accurate this layout is, but it appears to follow the pattern of the land and John Miller's work. 


It is just incredible to me that any wood remains intact on this track after sitting abandoned since the 1950s.

This had to be an incredible ride with its rugged terrain hugging goodness and John Miller design. The coaster was so hidden in the woods that the only portion visible to riders prior to riding was at the station. It is easy to see, even today, how this was the case. The grounds are filled with beautiful woodlands. 
The only part you could see from the midway. Photo Courtesy of the Western Reserve Historical Society

An aerial showing how the layout went through these same thick woods. Photo Courtesy of the Western Reserve Historical Society



I have not ventured around abandoned park sites in a while, mainly because I have pretty much exhausted the different park sites around western PA that require no planning to go check out. I tried to go to this one years ago, but did not have enough time to get up to the site. I had an opportunity recently while I was in Cleveland to finally go seek this place out, and I am glad that I did. The only other park that I can think of that has been abandoned for this long and still has recognizable ride remnants to it, is the old Rock Point Park in Ellwood City, which has sat abandoned for more than a century, yet still has the concrete troughs from its old shoot-the-chutes ride.

It is definitely worth checking out the remains of the Puritas Springs Cyclone if you are in the Cleveland area. 

Our 2022 Roller Coaster Calendar is available now! For more info, check out this link. To purchase, use the dropdown menu at the top of the page. 
The calendar features views from: Knoebels, Holiday World, Cedar Point, Morey's Piers, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Kennywood, Hersheypark, Six Flags Great Adventure, Casino Pier, Carowinds, and Waldameer. For more info, check out this link. The calendar and our book on Pennsylvania Amusement Parks are available through the dropdown menus at the top of the page, and the bottom of this article. 

2022 Coaster Calendar PA Amusement Parks Book Purchase Options
 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Knoebels Trip Report: September 2021: Phoenix in Top Form!

We have been fortunate to get to Knoebels as often as we have. We often end up being able to hit it en route on a road trip, but this time we spent the entire Labor Day weekend at the park. As always, it was lovely, but I have to say that Phoenix was running significantly better on this specific visit than it has in years. The airtime was back on every hill in the third row, with some airtime reappearing in double-up and double-down, something that has been conspicuously absent since re tracking work was done a few years ago. I used to switch back and forth between which coaster I loved more, between Phoenix and Twister, but over the last few years, Twister has been my clear favorite. On this visit, I loved Phoenix as much as I loved Twister. Both were running in top form. Twister has blown me away on every single ride for a very long time, but Phoenix was back to giving those mind-blowing rides, with the final airtime hills having ridiculously strong airtime. I am not sure what the difference was on this visit, because I rode this at the start of the season and it was not running anything like this. On a tamer day, Phoenix is still a fun family ride, but on days like this, it is a legendary thrill machine. 

Naturally, our first ride with CeCe was on the Pioneer Train.
Gawking at Twister before riding is always a treat. 
Just getting back to the station and heading over to Twister!
This machine ALWAYS delivers, and usually in a different way on each visit. It is a backseat ride all the way, with terrifically whippy lateral forces and transitions. The biggest drop has an awesome pop of ejector air in the backseat. It seems to always be running fantastically
Not to mention that it is CeCe's favorite coaster to watch. I would imagine that she wants to be like that dog from the 80s that rode American Eagle and other wooden roller coasters.
This was the first time that I rode Impulse in years because it was running two cars and moving lots of people through the queues. I really love it. The inversions are silky smooth and full of hangtime, the first drop has terrific ejector air, and the helix elements are reminiscent of the intensity of Schwarzkopf coasters. The seats are ridiculously comfortable too. This Zierer coaster is great and I prefer it to the Gerstlauer Eurofighters. 
I just love how much there is to do at Knoebels. As with any park with Fascination parlors, such as Indiana Beach, we were in and out playing on our two days at the park. 

CeCe was a little bit confused with the clown. 
We just love the park's Stein and Goldstein Carousel. We had not ridden it with CeCe before, since I forgot that it had chariots. This is such a fine little machine.

Phoenix standing in all its glory. Both of the park's traditional wooden roller coasters tie for number one for me with Voyage, Legend, Great White at Morey's Piers, and Ravine Flyer II. 
Something really special happens at the park once the sun sets and the lights come on. The park comes alive and so much of that old charm of the park just shines so brightly.
Phoenix, in its current top form, is especially incredible in darkness.

The park's carousel is such a beautiful machine.

I ended up taking a picture of every win for both of us, but I just included the best. I managed to win cover all!

Then we ran for another lap on Phoenix
Then Brit managed to win the next cover all game
Impulse looks so cool at night, especially with the LED lighting package on the sides of the cars. 

We got so many rides in on the Grand Carousel. 
And for the first time in my life, I caught the brass ring! Bucket list item completed.

All in all, it was a fantastic time at Knoebels!

Our 2022 Roller Coaster Calendar is available now! For more info, check out this link. To purchase, use the dropdown menu at the top of the page. 
The calendar features views from: Knoebels, Holiday World, Cedar Point, Morey's Piers, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Kennywood, Hersheypark, Six Flags Great Adventure, Casino Pier, Carowinds, and Waldameer. For more info, check out this link. The calendar and our book on Pennsylvania Amusement Parks are available through the dropdown menus at the top of the page, and the bottom of this article. 

2022 Coaster Calendar PA Amusement Parks Book Purchase Options