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Re: Reawakening of Bushkill Park

Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:47 pm

yes, thanks Larry!

this is so interesting, and I'm following along with great interest.

Re: Reawakening of Bushkill Park

Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:32 pm

I was going to wait until tomorrow to post these photos, but when you have exclusive material and more is on the way, why wait.

I want to start with the Fun House. It is the centerpiece of the park and its most identifiable attraction. It is the reason Chuck Burnham was brought in to lead the park's resurgence, and it drew Chuck Burnham to the park. They are now linked together.

I will sometimes reference this unedited video from 1988, which starting at the 3:10 mark shows the most recent incarnation of the funhouse as Barl of Fun


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John Cory and co-worker Ceaser are owed credit for starting the work on the Fun House rehab. After stripping away layers of paint and additional facades, the Hilarity Hall title was uncovered on the facade. This name predates the memory of many since the attraction has been called the Barl of Fun since 1938. Chuck is going back to the Hilarity Hall name and creating a navigational style maze. This will allow everyone to follow one path as opposed to the previous incarnation which allowed people to wander around and linger.

When Chuck arrived on site 7 weeks ago, the building was in bad shape and starting to lean, especially the left side of the structure attached to the old Whip building. Chuck ripped up the floorboards of the building in order to raise the building the replace beams under the building, In doing so, he uncovered some interesting history in the building. He ripped down some walls and uncovered even more history and I going to share some of those discoveries.

When the Barl of Fun last operated, the first room patrons encountered was lined with railing, painted black and had a strobe light to disorient you. From 3:10 to 3:40 in the attached video. When Chuck removed the walls he uncovered the following.
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If you look at the ceiling you see a black and white portion. That is the extent that the black room reached. If you look to the right of the picture you see more artwork that has been covered for decades.

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Looking from straight one, the keystone cop image and all images below it and to the right have not been seen in decades. The park historian did not know of their existence.


But the biggest discoveries were not behind the walls, but under the floor. After ripping up the floorboards the first discovery was mud. Two feet of mud had to be dug out of the ground to reveal more secrets.
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This circular cement pit housed the mechanisms for a human pool table trick, one that even with grandfathered status, could not be brought back today. Videos of this stunt exist from Coney Island where guests go down a short slide and land on multiple circular discs spinning in opposite directions.

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Also sitting under the former black room were mechanisms that shifted the floor both front and back and side to side. These stunts will be re-installed.

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Here you can see the under workings of the spinning barrel.

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The spinning tub is just hanging out in the barrel awaiting rehab. In the future a Laughing Sal will sit near the wheel.

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Here on the right you can see the old drive train for the human pool table that no one knew about. On the left you can see one of many hydraulic jacks currently in use to stabilize the building. The whole building has also been lifted 5 inches. I saw some old hoses sticking out of the mud and Chuck confirmed they were old air blasts and they can be added to the attraction.


To get to the 2nd floor you climb collapsing stairs (seen around 5:40 in the video). In the past guests would encounter a hall of mirrors, a rolling floor (8:00 minute mark or video), an antique rolling horse and a wood slide.
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The one portion of the attraction visible from the outside is where the rolling pins will be re-installed in the floor to slide across after rehab.

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The rolling pins are hanging out on the floor next to the old antique rolling horse awaiting rehab. The antique rolling horse will not be in Hilarity Hall. In its place a cage maze is planned with historical reference on the walls.


One thing Chuck pointed out about the upstairs area was the openness of the area around the Hall or Mirrors. He stood in the middle of this open area and asked what was missing. A meekly answered "fun" and he said "exactly". To fill up space on the second floor and add more fun a glass maze will be added upstairs.
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Many of the old mirrors are still in place upstairs and more will be installed. This one is stretching out Chuck.

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Of course you'll need to get down from the second floor to exit.

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The slide is still in good shape.
Last edited by larrygator on Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:55 pm.

Re: Reawakening of Bushkill Park - to re-open in 2019

Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:37 pm

Wow, what a workout renovating the Fun House is going to be! :shockr:

I'm surprised they didn't find little critters living in all of that.... debris.

The video is great, too. And I loved that a mirror in the House, reflected
how f-ing BIG that camera was, on the guy's shoulder, lol!

Great stuff, all of it, Larry! Thanks for finding and posting it.

Re: Reawakening of Bushkill Park - to re-open in 2019

Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:08 am

^Bill - thanks for your interest. The renovation is nowhere near the fun "stage" yet, still a lot of work being done by Chuck and John to the infrastructure of the building.

Re: Reawakening of Bushkill Park - to re-open in 2019

Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:45 am

This is such an awesome update! I love that there's actual history to be found by peeling away layers of the building. I can't wait to see what they find next!

Re: Reawakening of Bushkill Park - to re-open in 2019

Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:54 am

Thank you so much for this update!! I love the story and the resurgence of the park. Can't wait to visit once it reopens.

Re: Reawakening of Bushkill Park - to re-open in 2019

Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:15 pm

This is awesome! With all the classic dark rides and fun houses that have been lost in recent years, it's good to see one make a comeback in such a fashion. This whole park project sounds fantastic and such a great win for those who appreciate amusement history.

Re: Reawakening of Bushkill Park - to re-open in 2019

Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:25 pm

Oh man, that's so great how much work they're putting into that fun house. It's got all the classic stuff. Will be interesting to see how it ends up.

Re: Reawakening of Bushkill Park - to re-open in 2019

Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:02 am

I am honestly excited about the progress they're making! I grew up in the Lehigh Valley area, and trips to Bushkill Park were not uncommon occurrences when I'd be dropped off at my grandmother's for the weekend. I'm looking at that 1988 video above and it's a complete flashback for me because that's the way I remember the park from when I was a kid. It's been hard seeing the images come out from there since the flooding and devastation they suffered, but after hearing about how hard they've been working to reopen the park over the past several years, it fills me with anticipation hoping that some day I'll be able to take my own children there.

Thank you for posting this and keeping us all updated on the progress!

Re: Reawakening of Bushkill Park - to re-open in 2019

Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:13 pm

Awesome report! It's cool seeing all the history within that fun house.
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