Hot Springs’ Vintage Roller Coaster
Whittington Roller Coaster
Postcard Photo Courtesy of Donna Smith, Hot Springs
A mystery veils over Hot Springs, a mystery of times gone by and forgotten.
In the early part of the 1900’s Hot Springs was known as a center for pleasurable entertainment. Arkansans came from all over the state to take in the baths and do the "tourist thing" - playing in the water, swim on the beaches and enjoy local merriment.
But little evidence remains behind the festivities held at Whittington Park. Whittington Park in Hot Springs is now a neighborhood, surrounding a 40-foot wide median that trails Hot Springs Creek. But in the early 1900’s it was a permanent jamboree located where Weyerhaeuser currently has its headquarters.
Whittington Park had a roller-skating rink, a dance pavilion, a Merry-Go-Round and a Bingo hall. The most exciting aspect of the fun was the "White City Loop the Dip" roller coaster. This vintage postcard comes from a private collection, a hard-to-find photo with not much chronicled information.
Where was the roller coaster located? Who owned and ran the business? Why doesn’t anyone know more about the history? The mystery lingers.
Whittington Park also had a bicycle track where races were held on the "Hi-Boy" bikes on the 4th of July each year. Where the traffic median is located now, was once a shallow swimming lake. The Ostrich farm was nearby, as was The Alligator Farm.
Legend affirms that Frank James (the brother of Jesse James) –- had a stand at Whittington Park where he sold hats.
The Whittington Park area now has a neighborhood, Hot Springs Creek, an Alligator Farm and a public family park. In spite of its current amenities, the vagueness of the old Whittington Park roller coaster still remains.
Do you know of any of the history of the roller coaster and Whittington Park? If so, write us email@example.com.
Dr. RandoPhD of Wit
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