The Legacy of Riverview Beach Amusement Park

The Days Of Riverview Beach Park

Riverview Beach Park is a large unblemished site with walking paths, picnic areas, a playground, scenic lake and panoramic views of the Delaware River. It is now a popular spot for bird-watching as they migrate and feed along the river. Ducks and geese leisurely paddling in the basin.

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Present Day Riverview Beach Park

The esplanade wasn’t always this way. In 1967, it was the end of an era along the Delaware River called, The Riverview Beach Amusement Park.

John Fitch built the first successful steamboat and operated it on the Delaware River in 1787 out of Philadelphia. As you will later see, steamships played a vital role over the next two centuries as major transportation thoroughfares.

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A depiction of Fitch’s Steamboat on the Delaware River.

Riverview came to fruition in 1845. The land was leased to Elisha Wheaton for $250.00 and for one year. At this time, the countryside held a farm, a tavern and a small ferry company. It was a popular stopping point to rest for fisherman and travelers as food and drinks were served in a residence.

By 1851, a building was constructed on the property and called the Silver Grove Hotel. It received its name from sixteen silver maple trees that lined between the Delaware River and the Auberge.

Silver Maples are fast-growing deciduous trees usually found along waterways and in wetlands. It has also received a nickname as “water maple.” Usually, these varieties require more sunlight than their maple counterparts.
The trees are normally found in the Northeast corridor and portions of the Mid-West. They are eye-popping beauties.

According to burial records, Elisha Wheaton was born in 1807 and died in 1858. That would mean he ran it for only thirteen years before he passed away. Boy, if he only knew what would ensue!

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A Silver Maple Tree.

A picnic grove was placed behind the hotel and distended to Front Street. Later it became known as the Silver Grove picnic ground. By 1875, it became quite popular that an excursion boat called “Delaware” brought people daily to the grove from Philadelphia. The trip took four hours.

The Wilson line was then created with its headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware in 1881. It operated boats between Philadelphia, Chester, Penns Grove, Wilmington and Riverview Beach Park. It only conducted from May 15th through September 15th.

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A row of steamers along the river at the Wilson Line Headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware.

As Silver Grove flourished, a steamer called “Major Reybold” brought people from Salem on their route to Philadelphia so that folks could picnic and have a respite from their long travels. Visitors could buy ice-cream and other treats and eat under a large covered pavilion where concerts and activities were held. It was an exceptional place to relax with cool winds coming off the Delaware River.

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From my collection, steamer Major Reybold docked at a pier in Penns Grove, New Jersey.

By 1888, the Wilmington Steamboat Company, later known as the Wilson Steam Line had 3 ships in their possession. They were called “Wilmington,” “Brandywine” and the “City of Chester.”

Nearly two decades later, in 1889, farmers began holding picnics at the grove and a paltry man-powered merry-go-round would be brought in for just the day.

Two years later in 1891, the merry-go-round became a permanent structure and became horse powered. Swings, more picnic areas, and a small dance hall constructed.

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Picture of a traditional horse-drawn merry-go-round.

In 1909, the “Silver Grove Hotel” changed its name to Riverview Hotel.

In 1910, the Wilmington Steamboat company, better known as the Wilson Steam Line, purchased two steamers called “City of Wilmington” and “City of Philadelphia.” These ships were swift! The Wilmington and Philadelphia were constructed of 70% steel and were virtually indestructible.

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The S.S. City of Philadelphia.

In 1914, a man named W.D. Acton inherited the Riverview Hotel from his grandfather, Jacob Acton. He enlarged the park and made it flourish. It was in this time that Acton renamed the park to “Riverview Beach.” The funny thing is Riverview never really had a large beach area.

Daily excursions came to the park via the steamer Queen Anne a steel hull beauty owned by the Wilson Line. It brought folks to a nearby popular bathing beach to cool off on hot and humid summer days called Batten’s Beach.

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Bathing Beach at Riverview.

In 1917, Acton upgraded his horse-powered merry-go-round to a new modern “Dentzel” carousel from the Dentzel Carousel Company of Philadelphia.

Gustav Dentzel was an immigrant from Germany who came to America in the 1860’s. Carousels run deep in generations in this family. Gustav’s father sent him across the Atlantic with a carousel in the ship’s hold. This is reportedly the first carousel to ever set ground on the Western Hemisphere. Gustav’s eldest son, William, began the carousel business out of Germantown, Philadelphia. From there it was history! His designs represent the world’s grandest in carousel making. The Dentzels were known for their elegantly carved and painted animals and the superb quality of the mechanisms.

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Dentzel Carousel in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania.

In the winter of 1918, the government depended on the Wilson Line. The Delaware River was almost frozen solid and most boats could not cross. The steamers were used due to their durability and construction to carry workers to and from Hog Island. Hog Island in this time was a vibrant shipbuilding complex. The boats were kept in service even in great difficulties of navigating the icy river. Only seven days were lost in this winter due to weather.

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The Hog Island Shipyard.

On Decoration Day of 1922, the steamers: “Camden,” “Wilmington,” “Chester,” and “Philadelphia” made their first trip downriver. The name of the park was renamed again as “The Riverview Beach Amusement Park.” Acton purchased 30 acres that adjoined the property to expand his empire.

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Entrance to Riverview Beach Park.

In 1923, with this newly acquired land, Acton hired a park manager named W.E Hannah. Hannah was in charge of acquiring and installing these rides I’m about to mention: a water slide, sliding boards, an airplane ride and a Ferris wheel. Toy-land was added for children. Lush gardens were installed of rhododendrons, trees, and flowers throughout the park. One of the most famous attractions was also constructed. A roller coaster called “The Hummingbird.”

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The plane ride at Riverview Beach Park.

The Hummingbird was referred to as an “out and back” model built by the Miller & Baker Company. John Miller held over 100 patents. Most were for roller coaster safety devices. Miller went into business with Harry Baker. Within three short years of their company’s lifespan, they built popular coasters all over the United States. The characteristics of their designs are camelback hills.

The Wilson Line also added two new steamers the “State of Delaware” and “State of Pennsylvania” to their fleet in 1923. The Delaware made its first cruise from Wilmington to Riverview on June 11th. The Pennsylvania departed on June 12th.

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State of Pennsylvania on the Delaware.

According to the National Register of Historic Places Registry of 1979, both the Delaware and identical sister Pennsylvania were considered the first “new” type passenger steamboats built in the United States in many decades. Technically, both were steamships rather than steamboats because their hull-frame extended through the main deck. In the interests of fire proofing, these steamers were constructed of approximately 80% steel. Their original dimensions were 219 feet (226 overall), and 48.9 feet of beam (59.5 foot over guards), and they had drafts of 10^ feet. The “State” boats were first generation streamlined steamers that were given the highest “A-l” rating of the American Bureau of Shipping, the official U. S. rating agency.

The following year, more amusements were added. The Old Mill, The Whip, Tilt-A-Whirl, a small train and scooters. The lake that still resides there today was just a meadow. It was dug out to fifteen acres and stocked with abundant carp.

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The lake.

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The train.

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The Whip.

In the mid 1920s, Riverview added a “Pig Slide” they would actually release a pig down a slide into a pit of mud!

By this time The Wilson Line was now bustling. They provided a variety of excursions on the Chesapeake Bay, dance cruises down the Delaware Bay and most famously their trips to Riverview. The Wilson line was rolling in the hay!

In 1925, a carousel building was constructed. The new carousel was again purchased from the William Dentzel Carousel Company out of Philadelphia. It was fifty-two feet in diameter and a stunner! Only three carousels were reportedly in existence in the United States at this time. Roller skating was also held in the pavilion.

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Carousel Building built in 1925.

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William Dentzel Carousel with hand-carved horses.

During the Great Depression, in 1936, an Olympic-sized swimming pool was added on the grounds by the township Public Works program. It held 500,000 gallons of water and built for $150,000. Supposedly the pool is still here today filled-in with dirt under the park landscape.

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The Olympic-sized pool at Riverview postcard.

After World War II, many people took advantage of the Wilson Line excursions. Millions of men, women and children would travel from Philadelphia, Chester and Wilmington throughout the summer to enjoy their day at Riverview Beach.

At this time, only two steamers were in operation. The SS Liberty Belle and the Delaware Belle.

In Chester, people lined up at a two-level pier at the Scott Toilet Paper/Tissue Plant. Families would hear the whistle signaling to board. Holding their bagged lunches and belongings for their thrilling day awaiting them. The same whistle would beckon through Riverview Beach to alert passengers that it was time to go or they’d miss their trip back home. It was an adventure.

The steamers were clean, the crew was friendly. There was onboard live entertainment blaring throughout the steamer so couples could dance. The total trip from Philadelphia was roughly a two and a half hours. It was a grand experience traveling to Riverview.

Other rides were added including another roller coaster called “The Deep Dipper” then later another added called, “The Wildcat.” A bigger and taller Ferris Wheel, caterpillar ride. A whip, battery powered racing cars, a small railroad, pony rides and zebra rides.

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One of the rides added to the park.

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One of the giant roller coasters.

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Bumper cars.

Bridges were built from the 1920’s to 1940’s connecting both Pennsylvania and New Jersey so that vehicles could go across and no longer use ferries. Th Ben Franklin, Walt Whitman and the Delaware Memorial bridges soon annexed, allowing easier transportation of vehicles to travel to Riverview.

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Aerial view of Riverview Beach Park. Steamer Pennsylvania in this picture. Notice the cars in the parking lot.

In 1955, the Wilson line was sold to a New York company.

Two years later, the NY company sold it to Riverview Lines for only $700,000.

1958 Riverview Park was fenced in and admission was charged.

By the 1960’s, the Wilson Line only had one steamer in its operation called the State of Pennsylvania. She was a whopping 219 feet long with a capacity to hold 3,000 passengers. It had triple decks.

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S.S. Pennsylvania.

The Wilson Line ended excursions in 1961 to Riverview. Vehicles killed the steamboat service. Passengers were misbehaving, including fights and stabbings amongst them. It is what finalized the cruises down the Delaware that lasted for decades.

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The dock at Pennsville.

On Labor Day of 1967, Riverview Beach Amusement Park, officially closed. In 1976, the land was transformed into a recreational area. The nostalgic carousel was sold to a company in New York State. The carousel operated on the property until 1980, until it got auctioned off.

“The State of Pennsylvania” sat deserted and forgotten for nearly a decade. She sank in the Christiana River in Wilmington in where she was docked. The Pennsylvania even though it sunk, was still in a high state of preservation.

As per historian, Paul Schopp, she was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. In 1988, vandals set arson to this beauty and she burned to the waterline. In 2005, a contractor, working under a federal contract, removed the hull as a hazard of navigation and the esteemed ship’s remains were scrapped.

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Riverview Beach Post Card.

Riverview’s fervor is still burning. A man Bob Stanton purchased the train ride from the amusement park and still is in operation today on his farm in the Pennsville area. There is also a museum dedicated to the loved park at the Church Landing Rd Museum.

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The Riverview Beach Museum in Pennsville. Donkey Ride artifacts.

People still talk about Riverview’s legacy. When they were a child, they fondly recall the happy times and memories shared with their loved ones and friends.

It also led to a lifelong fondness for the Delaware River and its history. Riverview Beach Amusement Park, gone and never forgotten.

 

P.S. Make sure you check out the YouTube Video in the comments! I think you will enjoy it!

161 thoughts on “The Legacy of Riverview Beach Amusement Park

  1. I grew up at Riverview – I worked in the Loganberry Stand (hotdogs, French fries & sodas) in 1948/49 and 1950/51. Lots of same people worked there every year: Reds-Merry-go-round; Woody-rollercoaster: Mack on the airplanes; Jack-row boats and on and on. Lifeguards Bud Kohler, Herb Miles, Dave Springer, Henry Hocknell, Bud Gary, Dave Coneeny and many more. Those summers were the best time of my life. /s/

    Betty Nagy Nixon

    • Hi. are you Betty Nagy from Golf Manor? My name is Tom Peak and I believe we lived next door. Small world if that’s the case! I graduated in 62 with Ron (RIP). He & I were the 2 in our class that ended up in California. My mom is still with us, lives in FL. I seem to remember you baby sat for us when my brother Mike & I were VERY young. If you’re interested, I have a photo of the kindergarteners in front of your house waiting for the taxi ride to Pershing School. Best to you. Tom

      • I was a young child when my parents took my family to Riverview Beach Park. My 4 sisters and 1 brother. I am now 73 yrs young and I wish the boat on Delaware ave was still there and we could go to the beach. My children didn’t have the chance to enjoy it as I did. I often think about it….Ohhh well. At least I have the memories….

    • Operated the Bubble Bounce when it was new. Also SkeeRoll. My daughter who lives facing the park still finds coins etc on the former park grounds. Great times then.

      • One of my sisters and I loved to ride on the Bubble Bounce and the Whip. We used to love to get the car spinning in a circle on the Bubble Bounce turning and turning the large center wheel as best we could to get it spinning. Then, it was really cool when it started bounding up and down. Then sometimes when it stayed way up and the platform keep rotating, that was really fun. You probably took tickets from my sister and I. As I recall it was 5 cents a ride. Oh, that park was so much fun, it’s such a major part of so many of our lives looking back. We lived just over on North River Drive.
        Duane Tash

        • Yes Duane the ride was a hit. However I had to hose the ride off many time when riders could`nt hold their hotdogs and popcorn down. My daughter Karen Samuels lives facing the park near North River Dr.
          I have to give Yummy Gal credit for maintaining this site. A place where those of yesterday can connect.

    • Hi there to Betty and all the folks who were so priviledged to remember the wonderful old park the way I do. It’s just too bad that we can’t turn back the clock and go take ourgrandchildren there to ride the rides, feed the carp in the lake and buy them a custard. I painted a picture of “Cuz” and donate it to Pv Historical Society
      Aleasa Hogate

      • I had hoped to take my children there, but things folded up before I had the chance. Lots of memories of a fun place.

        • I remember the park so well, and we also had our boy scout troop 15 in a lodge right on the water in the park. I lived just down the road from it on the water. My friends and I spent so much time at the park. Each year we had pool passes, that pool was incredible, and we loved all of the rides. It was just a fun place for everyone and it was so well landscaped. The rose gardens were incredible. I remember it all just like yesterday, it’s a big part of my memories from my youth in Pennsville. To me, it really started to go downhill after they put that fence all around it. The merry-go-round was incredible too, it was huge and the instrumentation was great. One time I sat there listening to it watching it spin, all the people having fun and 3 hours had passed. I had no idea I had been sitting there that long until my friends came and found me! I loved growing up in Pennsville!

      • I have many fond memories of Riverview Beach. Every year in grade school we would make the trip by boat. Every aspect of the park was wonderful, but I always ran out of money.

        • I loved Riverview and the Wilson Liners. Every year, we had our annual picnic at Riverview via the Wilson Line. Many of the Catholic Parochial Schools from all over came at the same time. I was in St. Thomas the Apostle and I believe the Sisters we had called Franciscans were the largest group of Nuns from the local schools as well as Chester, Philadelphia, and other stops on the way. It was fun seeing the Nuns enjoy themselves too with the rides (the Whip and Bumping Cars). I always had some healthy guilt about running into a Nun but I don’t recall them having mercy on me as I got bumped. It was a park one can only imagine. I am 74 and can recall the beautiful plants, flowers, gardens and smells. I can still hear the Carousel, smell the French fries and hear the squeals of kids as their ride gave them a thrill. Mr. Acton was so family oriented. I am so sad that many have never had the Riverview/Wilson Line experience. I did and it is etched deeply into my memory filed under LOVE.

  2. In Rock Hall,Md we have a small museum dedicated to another of parks served by the Wilson Line,It’s called Tolchester Revisited.

  3. This site brings back memories from the late 1940’s and early 1950’s to this writer. Growing up in Wilmington’s East side at 4th & Pine Sts., I often walked to the old Third Street bridge and looked at the Ships of the Wilson Line docked on the north side of the bridge. Later on, it was to my delight to go on some “Moonlight Cruises” aboard them and dance the night away.

    Riverview Amusement Park was another great joy of my youth. Time and again, going over to “Jersey” and doing our thing was a great treat for the summer vacations from school. The rides and other attractions held us in awe because in those days, kids had little else to do except play running games, baseball, and skinny dip at the railroad bridge on the Christiana River. We often times “mooned” the passengers on the Wilson Liner as it sailed by on occasion.

    In 1954, I joined the Marine Corps to serve our country and a few years later returned to Wilmington and had another ride up the river aboard the Wilson Line. Something had changed but I could never understand what it was that was different. Later on, I also learned of the fire at Riverview Amusement Park. It appeared the whole world was changing for the worse, but I still had the great memories from my youth. Even today, I smile to myself thinking of those times of awe & merriment at the “Park” where we rode and swam till our hearts were content.

    Yummygal, “Thanks for the memories as Bob Hope used to say.”

  4. John Snyder worked in the Park 1954, 1955, 1956, &1957. My first job was puttting bumper stickers on all of the cars that said Riverview Beach Park, Pennsville, NJ. I wasn’t paid in money, I was paid in passes to ride all the rides when I was done putting bumper stickers on. Later on I worked in the snowball srand next to the merry go round. My mother Alice Snyder workedin the custard stand on the other side of the merry go round in the early fifties. I learned to swim in the pool when Bud was the swimming instructor. I now live in Lecanto, Fl. I really enjoyed the articles. Keep up the good woek.

  5. This is awesome! I grew up there too and still visit that park to this day when in town. This article is written like a true local! Thanks I will share! My family will love it!

  6. I can so remember that on the last day of school, on the next day we would all go to the park .I remember riding all those rides ,what memories it brings back. Also every sat. afternoon we would go roller skating.

  7. What a trip down memory lane. I learned to swim in the pool, met my husband at the Riverview Roller Rink,
    enjoyed trips on the Wilson line. We announced our engagement at the rink. We enjoyed the Du pont picnics at the park. From our house we could hear the “fat lady” in the mirror house laughing and the people screaming on the roller coaster and never minded it because it was happy sounds. We rode our bikes to the park with our children. When the park and Ferry closed I had limited edition Cleveniger Bottles made with the park and ferry scene on them. I miss hearing the laughter, these are good memories. June 6th is the 10th anniversary of the New Sweden Heritage Monument now standing along the riverfront in the park to memorialize Salem Couties Swedish roots. The park is still lovely. It’s just not the wonderful fun place
    it once was. This is New Jersey’s 350th anniversary I’m hoping the people of South Jersey will honor this historic year and learn about South Jersey’s Swedish roots at a program being planned for June 6th 2014.
    Aleasa Hogate http://www.swedishheritage.us

  8. Beautifully done ! I enjoyed it. I was born and enjoyed my early years in the City of Salem. Married in1949 to a classmate and adopted his hometown of Pennsville, N. J., I have spend more of my years in Pennsville and feel that Pennsville is my adopted home town. Thanks for the memories……

  9. I grew up one street over from Riverview on Main Street. My father had a restaurant and the crew from the Wilson Line came over for lunch after docking at the park. I have the fondest memories of the park and the roller rink which was not included. It was truly a magical time living in the 50’s and living around the corner from Riverview Beach Park. I believe it was the fence and the admission that was the downfall of the park.

  10. I recall those days when we took the Wilsonliner over to Riverview Beach; what a treat that was! Loved the Bumper cars, and the Roller Coaster…. Who knew, that one day I would live there and graduate from RE-HI in Penns Grove; class of 1954…. Those were the days; AH YES… those were the days!

  11. I moved to Penn Terrace Apts., behind the Grants and Acme (Pennsville Shopping Center) in Fall of ’66. Never saw any rides operating at Riverview, even summer of ’67. Just the concrete remains of where rides had been.
    Big roller coaster was there into the 70’s.
    My brother and I would walk to the movie theater(sadly the last movie theater in Salem County), and closed.
    And frequently went to Penn Bowl. Connected to the bowling alley was “the Crescendo” night club, now Dollar store.
    Went to Deepwater school 66-72; remember DuPont Explosion around ’69 caused evacuation of school. I remember windows to cafeteria blown in.
    Playing at Fort Mott, the custard stand. My mother worked at Holiday Inn near the Turnpike Inn, now the Budget(?) motel.
    I have lived in 8 states, including Southern California. I’ve been in every state, except Alaska. I lived in Germany(dad/Army). I’ve been in 8 or 9 other countries (Navy), and I presently live in Jupiter, FL., but there is no place I Love more, than Salem County NJ! And never Happier than being a kid at Penn Terrace!
    Thanks!

  12. I only went to Riverview Beach once. 1957 the end of my junior year. I went with maybe 20 others from my class at Camden High. Had a great time and wish I had gone more.

    • Reduced rate tickets given free in the grocery stores in Philadelphia and vicinity. Lower class disrespectful patrons came bearing weapons and bad attitudes scaring the good people away forever.

    • They erected a fence and you had to pay admission to go in. That seemed to stop a lot of locals from walking through the park and spending money. Additionally, it seemed maintenance also went by the wayside. So sad. I had hoped my kids would have enjoyed the park like I did, but it was closed by the time they were old enough. In addition to the park, as a kid, I spent Friday nights at the skating rink. My husband often went to the pool. My mother and aunt both worked there. Lots of memories. Thanks Yummy Gal for all the information!

      • That’s when I felt it all started to go downhill too, when they put the fence up. I recall so many people complaining about it. And many people used to walk through and then decided to go on rides and all, eat, etc. The fence took all of that away.
        Duane Tash

    • It was fenced in and admission was charged. Stopped everyone who would wander through on a regular basis and buy some refreshments or take a ride, etc. I believe maintenance was let go, too.

      • Would you reply to rapplegate48@gmail.com and tell me how many feet was it from Wilmington to Penns Grove ? It was not 13 miles was it? I am studying the Dutch VanImmens of somewhere in locality of North or East of Penns Grove , I am not sure ? Churchgoers in 1684 were said to go back and forth in canoes?

  13. Seems I can never read enough about the park as it was such a big part of my childhood. Living two streets over on Harding Ave. I was able to go pretty much any time I wished and had a season pass to the pool. Thanks so much for your work concerning Riverview Beach Park memories.

  14. I remember Riverview Beach Park like yesterday. As a youth, my friends and I spent many fun times there. Our boy scout troop 15 was also on on the park grounds. Our scoutmaster was George Morris, an incredible person. Our scout house was an old lodge and was right on the water beside the park’s train tracks. The pool was incredible as were all of the rides. One of my sisters and I used to love to ride on The Whip and the Bubble Bounce. I was lucky enough to live just down the street on North River Drive right on the water. I spent so many fun times there roller skating, the pool and riding the amusements. It was just a very fun place to grow up! We thought it would last forever back then in the 50’s.

    • When I think back on my childhood days the park is the most memorable, I think I walked over every day to swim, ride some rides and just wander around. I grew up on Harding Ave. so it was just a short walk down North River Drive. Wish my kids could have experienced the park!!

      • Yes, we were so lucky to have the park just down at the end of North River Drive. I think when they put the fence up all around the park that started its demise. I remember so many people upset. Lots of people used to walk over to the park … they spent money there, but when they put the fence up and charged I think it took all of that business away. I wish they had at least kept the pool and skating rink. I had heard that the pool and all really needed work done and it was cost prohibitive to keep them operational. Anyway, I just wish they had somehow kept the pool and skating rink. I think it would have been great for new generations of kids to grow up with that. I think Pennsville was a great place to grow up as a kid. I have only good memories!

        • You are so right. There should have been at least the pool and skating rink saved. It all probably comes down to money. Often politics forget the future.

  15. Had our 8th Grade class trip to Riverview… 1951…. King of Peach Catholic School… always remembered the trip and the Beach.

  16. My family went down by way of Chester/Bridgeport ferry and the Wilson Liner in the 50’s. It was really fun and exciting. Can still remember the rides I was aloud on. Sorry there are not parks like that one around today.

  17. Will someone please fill in a piece of the puzzle that my mind can’t remember. I believe, in the late 40’s or early 50’s there were two roller coasters at Pennsville Park. One was “The Wildcat.” What was the name of the other one? My memory says we always preferred the other one; it was more exciting. Does anyone else remember it as I do? Was one roller coaster discontinued/torn down before the other one?

      • As I recall the Hummingbird was also the one to the right as you looked at both coasters from the park side looking north and was painted all white. I think that’s also the one that came down first, there was a lot of rotten wood on it and it was getting too much to repair. I’m just trying to recall this from years ago. I think that’s also the one that was very high and had a large curve that faced north toward the field that had a ball park. It seems it was also the one where three guys visiting were sadly killed one Saturday when the top cured section broke loose and the car when flying out into the field. Anyway, that’s as I recall it from years ago. I lived just down the street on North River Drive from this great park. I spent many many days there. I also loved to listen to the incredible Merry-go-Round. It was partially what sparked my interest in music for years.
        Duane Tash

        • I was just a child from Woodstown My brother and I looked forward to our occasional weekend visits to the Park (between 1945 and 1952). My dad said that he had worked part time at the park as a child, but I don’t remember what type of work. He worked at DuPont Chambers Works there in the Carney’s Point/Pennsville area and remember when he came home upset about hearing of the broken curved section and the deaths of the riders. I thought the roller coaster’s name was “The Wildcat.” It might have been the one dad said was most dangerous because some of the curves in the tracks tilted outward from the curve instead of inward, creating more of a centrifugal force on the car and riders. In the late 50’s and early 60’s there were roller skate competitions in the rink, but can’t remember if it was in or out of the park area. Is that rink still there? There were a million memories of good times created in that park. Thank you, Yummygal, for the original posting.

  18. My grade school St. Ann’s, ran trips to Riverview. We would get the boat at the bottom of Market Street. I loved those trips

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  20. My family moved into the house where big mikes grill is now in 1956. I was six years old and the park was just a part of me. Friday was family night and we actually rode every ride we wanted with no waiting in long lines Every summer I remember waiting to see if my dad was going to shell out the $12 it cost for a season pass to the pool. A family pass was $35. He always got the family pass but from 1962 through 1967 my brother Jeff and I were the only ones to go. I loved the penny arcade! The pool was my favorite! I just read where the merry go round was 52′ in diameter I know I’ve told so many people how huge it was. Remember the guy that wore the blazer that looked liked something from magical mystery tour/ We called him Cuz I think , He used to ride his bike through town at about 1 mph. He would keep people back behind the yellow line in the merry go round. Oh well, I really enjoy reading everyones comments!

    • I totally enjoy your pictures on the wall of Big Mike’s Grill. Stop and check them out every time I am in there and it brings back so many good memories. Born and raised in Philly and north Wilmington and loved times we spent at the park, Who would have guessed I’d be living in the same town years later.

    • I remember Cuz and him riding his bicycle around town. Didn’t he play guitar too? Cuz also worked on the Pennsville New Castle Ferry as I recall. The merry go round was incredible. I still tell people about it. I used to spend hours sitting there listening to it. I also knew your brother C.K. We were about the same age. Those were simply magical times and are a huge part of my memory from back then. Pennsville was a great town to grow up in.

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    Is there anybody else having identical RSS issues?

    Anybody who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  22. My mom, Lillian Israel and dad John Shannon met on the Wilson line. My grandmother worked there as well.
    1959 or so

  23. In the late 50’s and early 60’s, how my brother and I waited and waited and waited for our trip to “The Park.” We always wore matching red shirts so Mom could find us; at least that’s what she said. The ride from Salem to Pennsville was interminable, we were so excited. I loved the large Airplane ride with the maneuverable front fin, the Bubble Bounce, The Tumble Bug, and of course, the Hummingbird, a classis out-and-back roller coaster. I see from the history and the comments that, in the 60’s, the park was well past its prime, but what times we had.

  24. Wasn’t there a pond that was full of koi/carp with benches around? You could get them in a feeding frenzy by tossing pop corn in. Wayne (Tiny) Collins…(Marcus Hook,Pa.) Surprise, Arizona.

  25. I spent a lot of summers in Pennsville, about 1 mile south from the park during the 1940’s My friends and I rode our bikes to the park. Now live in Southern, California after 30 yrs. in Uncle Sam’s Navy.

  26. Hello, i am doing a project about River view Park in the 1950″s , does anyone have some great memories they would like to share?

  27. I WAS IN SCHOOL AT ST. ALICE’S IN UPPER DARBY, PA. FROM 1938 TO 1946. WE HAD OUR ANNUAL SCHOOL PICNIC AT RIVERVIEW BEACH. I MUST HAVE RIDDEN THE SHIP FROM PHILADELPHIA TO RIVERVIEW AT LEAST 3 OR 4 TIMES. I SEEM TO REMEMBER A RIDE CALLED THE CATERPILLAR THAT HAD A RETRACTABLE TOP SO YOU HAD A LOT OF TIME IN THE DARK . LOTS OF SCREAMS FROM THE GIRLS. MANY HAPPY DAYS. ON ONE TRIP WE WERE ON A RIDE THAT I THNK WAS CALLED THE TUMBLEBUG. MY AUNT SARAH WAS BOUNCING AROUND AND LAUGHING SO MUCH THAT SHE LOST HER DENTURES OVER THE SIDE OF THE CAR. WE NEVER DID FIND THEM ALTHOUGH THEY SHUT THE RIDE DOWN AND SEARCHED UNDERNEATH IT FOR ABOUT TEN MINUTES. I CAN STILL HJEAR AUNT SARAH SAYING “I LOST ME TEEF, I LOST ME TEEF”. AT AGE 86 IT STILL SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY. BILL MCGANN

  28. I WAS A STUDENT AT ST. ALICE’S IN UPPER DARBY, PA. DURING THE LATE 30’S AND EARLY 40’S. OUR ANNUAL SCHOOL PICNIC WAS AT RIVERVIEW BEACH. I REMEMBER CRUISING THE DELAWARE RIVER AND THE FUN FILLED DAYS AT THE PARK. I REMEMBER RIDING ON THE “TUMBLEBUG WITH OUR ENTIRE FAMILY GROUP THAT INCLUDED MY AUNT SARAH FROM CAMDEN. SHE WAS A JOLLY PERSON WHO WAS ALWAYS LAUGHING. I GUESS SHE LAUGHED TOO HARD AND LOST HER UPPER DENTURE OVER THE SIDE OF THE RIDE. THEY SHUT IT DOWN AND A GROUP OF EMPLOYEES SEARCHED UNDERNEATH FOR AT LEAST 10 OR 15 MINUTES WITH NO SUCCESS. AT AGE 86 I CAN STILL HEAR AUNT SARAH SAYING “I LOST ME TEEF, I LOST ME TEEF” IT SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY. I ALSO REMEMBER A RIDE CALLED THE “CATERPILLER” THAT HAD A RETRACTABLE HOOD SO YOU SPENT A GOOD PART OF THE UP AND DOWN RIDE IN DARKNESS. LOTS OF SCREAMS FROM THE GIRLS. MANY FINE MEMORIES FROM A “KINDER, GENTLER TIME”.

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