Friday, January 15, 2010

Tulsa Area Amusement Parks


Amusement parks with rides, concession stands, dancing and roller coasters have been around the Tulsa area since 1911starting with Orcutt Park. In west Tulsa, the Electric Amusement Park had opened by 1921 and also featured a dance hall, rides, swimming and a memorable miniature train. By 1922 the company contracted to operators of carousel and Ferris wheel rides. In 1929 Crystal City was established next to Electric Amusement Park and eventually absorbed it. The owner, Mr. Falkenberg added more rides including the large Zingo roller coaster. My grandfather took this photo of my grandmother at Crystal City around 1943.
Here are some photos from a souvenir booklet (click to enlarge):







The park's popular Casa Loma dance hall and the bath house burned down in the mid-1950s.

The park soon disappeared after that. Many of the rides were installed at another one of Tulsa's facilities- Lakeview Amusement Park which was near the zoo at 4100 N. Harvard.
Other Parks: The Sand Springs Amusement Park, began in 1911 and lasted through the mid-1930s. There was the Skyline Amusement Park near Jenks which lasted through the mid-1950s and Tulsa’s Bells Amusement Park, which opened in 1951. Their Zingo was built in memory of Crystal City’s old Zingo. Bell's was forced to shut down in 2006 and is sorely missed by many.


Source: http://digital.library.okstate.edu/encyclopedia

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

My mother worked there back before she got married to my dad. Great pictures. Rob

DrillerAA09 said...

I spent many an hour at Bell's during the summers of the 60's.

Tulsa Gentleman said...

I had no idea that Crystal City had such a fine amusement park. There is no trace of it now. Just a bedraggled shopping center with that name.

Tiffany Kirby said...

It's so sad to see that there is no more Bell's. Every time I go to the fair, I always have to walk down to the end where Bell's once was, just hoping that maybe just maybe it would be there, but I always get teary-eyed because I know there will never be another Bell's. So sad. I don't live near Tulsa. I am from Grand Lake but I sure did admire Bell's. Especially when fair time rolled around...

Anonymous said...

My parents bought an old cigar cabinet from the Lakeview amusement park that closed in early 70's. It contained several old 3 x 4 posters dating back to the 40's. I suspect they're from the original Crystal City Park. I aquired two from my mom's estate. I just got them framed at ziegler and they're hung in our game room.
Tina

Stillapill said...

Tina, you should post photos of the posters. I'm sure everyone would love to see them.

Anonymous said...

Where exactly was the Crystal City Amusement Park located? Was is where the shopping center is now?

Nancy said...

Yes, that is the area where it used to be.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHERE I CAN OBTAIN A COPY OF THE PHOTO "CASA LOMA" WHERE ALL TULSA DANCES CRYSTAL CITY PARK. BARBARA

Anonymous said...

My Dad is in a picture at the fountain in Crystal City Amusement Park. We lived behind the park in Redfork and watched it burn in those 2 fires. My Dad has told me many stories about old West Tulsa where he grew up and all the parks. Thanks for the pictures. Eileen

Anonymous said...

The picture that is captioned as an "Airplane view at Crystal City" has a ride in the foreground that is a predecessor ride to the "Himalaya" ride once found at Bell's Amusement Park on the fairgrounds.

The track elevations are similar to a "Himalaya", only there is no "tarp" or mirror ball in the middle over the "sweeps" and of course no scenery around the outside of it; or a roof. Very interesting picture.

caravan parks perth said...

This park was built 50 years ago, some areas need to be restructure and beautify.

perth airport long term parking said...

These old roller coasters look awesome to ride. I wish someone can fix them so I can ride at least one of them.

Anonymous said...

"Perth Airport," there are still many old, wonderful roller coasters around the country. I've ridden most of the wood coasters in the U.S. I'm a coaster enthusiast who finds incredible amounts of interest in this Crystal City coaster, Zingo, which Bell's Zingo was named in honor of. Crystal City's Zingo, I can tell by the picture, was either a Philadelphia Toboggan Company or Prior & Church coaster because of the twisting, swoop drop and fan turn. This is utterly amazing, because in a coaster club of many thousands there is very little info on this Zingo, nor any known photos. This is like opening a treasure chest for me tonight. I also am craving good photos of the Jenks park "Skyline Park" later named "Indian Nations." They had a terrain/gulley coaster that I walked the remains of in 1981. It was named "Sky King" and the name was switched to "Phantastic Coaster" in it's last year or two of operation. This was a big, albeit rather tame creation of the National Amusement Device Corporation, and very, very little is known of this coaster's history nor are there many known photos of the coaster in operation. I will pay much for any photos of the Sky King/Phantastic Coaster from anyone who has or knows where I can get any! I am familiar with the few excellent pictures on a Tulsa history page I forgt the name of, but if you've been to this site you know what I'm talking about.

Ricky in Waco, TX.

ProChoiceJesus said...

Oh, I menat to add that half of the Skyline/Indian Nations coaster, the Shy King/Phantastic Coaster was washed away in a 1974 flood. I have over a dozen photos I took of this coaster as it stood, half gone, in 1981 when I visited the then long-closed park & walked the coaster with a few others.
Info on photos of this forgotten coaster? email me PLEASE!
JesusIsBetter@yahoo.com (Ricky)

caravan parks said...

The old Sea Dragon at Wyandot Lake was one of my favorites. It was at Roseland Park in New York.
The ride was relocated in 1987 to Lakemont Park and is still thrilling riders with its double out and back layout. The first and second drops had great airtime for a mid-sized coaster. This is one of the more unsung moves in coaster history, as the owners built upon the success of Knoebels Amusement Park's relocation of The Phoenix roller coaster two years earlier. Thankfully for us another classic PTC roller coaster was saved.

phuket holidays said...

The place still looks very compelling. I would love to visit this park. I want to experience a new world of excitement. I'm sure that the operators of this park did their best in beautifying and maintaining the equipment for the safety of the guests.

Anonymous said...

Hi anonymous from Dec. 31, 2011. I just read your post about the old photo of the Zingo coaster at Crystal City in Tulsa. I wanted to tell you some things about that ride. It was built in 1928 and was designed and built by Harry Baker. It was one of Baker's Cyclone model of coasters. It is quite similar in ways to a Fred Church Bobs model coaster. Several years ago I was able to acquire the original, and only known surviving, blueprint for a Baker Cyclone. It was hand drawn by Baker on linen cloth paper. It was drafted in April of 1928 for a park in Newburgh, New York, but was never built due to financial problems. I am constructing an HO scale model of this coaster and it looks very similar to Zingo (they are both Cyclone models). It is an incredibly severe design, much like the Traver, Prior & Church coasters of that age. Thanks for posting comments on Zingo.
Tim

Anonymous said...

My grandfather used to drive the train at Crystal City. In fact that is him in your picture! Sure would like a copy of that picture!
Mcaruth57@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Dear 'Anonymous' of November 9, 2012 at 12:48 PM - Could you (oh would you please please please) post photos of the plan or samples of the plan text?
Or barring that, could you at least tell me if the draughtsmanship for your Newburgh ride plan is identical to that of the proposed plan for the Cyclone of Central Park, Allentown, PA posted for sale at ebay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Original-Blueprint-Central-Amusement-Park-Allentown-PA-/221393321045?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item338c11fc55
Please?
And thanks

Greg Mitchell said...

very classic photos and parks
Thank you for wonderful share
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