What is a Trolley Park?

Background on the Trolley Park

The late 1800s saw the beginning of commercialized public transportation, and electric traction (trolley) companies began to appear in American cities. Electric light and power companies charged the traction companies a flat monthly fee for electricity, regardless of how much or how little power the trolleys used.

Naturally, the trolley magnates became frustrated because without commuters, little demand existed to operate trolleys during the weekends. But by building an amusement park at the end of the trolley line, the public was enticed to ride the trolleys on Saturdays and Sundays, thus creating more revenue for the traction companies.

Soon hundreds of trolley parks were in operation throughout the United States. However, only twelve remain.

Existing American Trolley Parks

1. Seabreeze Park, Rochester, NY 1879
2. Dorney Park, Allentown, PA, 1884
3. Lakemont Park, Altoona, PA 1894
4. Waldameer Park, Erie, PA 1896
5. Midway State Park, Maple Springs, NY 1898
6. Kennywood, West Mifflin, PA 1899
7. tie Canobie Lake Park, Salem, NH 1902
8. tie Bushkill Park, Easton, PA 1902
9. Camden Park, Huntington, WV 1903
10. Oaks Amusement Park, Portland, OR, 1905
11. Clementon Park, Clementon, NJ 1907
12. Quassy Amusement Park, Middlebury, CT 1908

Although not a trolley park itself, Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut features an operating historic trolley as one of the park's attractions.