HAPPY 25th ANNIVERSARY OF THE HISTORIC GIANT DIPPER REOPENING! (8/11/1990 - 8/11/2015)!
All ACE members, watch for the summer issue of Roller Coaster! magazine. The San Diego Mission Beach roller coaster had one close brush with the wrecking ball after another since it the park went into decline as early as the 40's. My cover story will feature an article about the trials and tribulations and eventual success of the Save the Coaster Committee and our efforts keeping the Giant Dipper guarded from one wrecking ball after another.
Here is a much longer and detailed version (I still need to finish):
Hi Everyone, Tim Cole reminiscing...
For those of you who are a little behind on your roller coaster history, let me tell you about a 1925- built Prior and Church roller coaster located in Mission Beach, San Diego, California.
The 70’ tall all-wooden seaside attraction, originally named “The Giant Dipper” opened on July 4th, 1925 as part of the new Mission Beach Amusement Center. Between 1925 and 1976, there was a steady rotation of owners and operators of the amusement area and surrounding facilities.
The condition of the park over the decades went back and forth, from being freshly rehabilitated to showing signs of neglect. A fatal fire caused the coaster to shut down for 2 years in the 50’s and it was almost demolished. Late in the 60’s the coaster was condemned for six weeks in the middle of the summer until sufficient repairs were made to some sagging trusses.
In November of 1976, Belmont Park (as it was renamed in the 50’s) closed its gates due to too much costly upkeep required by the city to keep the park profitable.
The park closed and the rides and attractions where sold or demolished within a year. The coaster was actually slated for demolition in 1980 and was on its way to getting the final permit when at the 11th hour, a viable interest was proposed that would keep the coaster around for a while longer.
Soon after, a community group called “The Save the Coaster Committee” was formed for the purpose of restoring this ride. I was a member of that group.
On August 11th, 1990, the Giant Dipper opened to the public resulting in quite an interesting preservation story.
This photo journal will take you through a brief history of the coaster with most photos taken by me during the Save the Coaster years. After all, what good are they sitting in a shoe-box?
Keep checking back every so often for additions to this crazy, dramatic story.
Feel free to comment or ask questions, it's all part of the process.
I hope you enjoy strolling down the memory midway with me...holding hands.
- Belmont longshot.jpg (142.97 KiB) Viewed 9888 times
Last edited by hillflyer
on Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:38 am.