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Monday, July 23, 2012

West View Park







I grew up playing at West View Park, located, more specifically in Bellview, Pennsylvania. I was born in 1955, and began attending picnics and ticket giveways at or around 1965. The Thoroughfare grocery store chain use to provide its shoppers with West View tickets upon the purchase of groceries. On top of that, my families' friends worked for Thoroughfare Grocery Stores and so on Thoroughfare days, we had so many tickets that we could not exhaust them by riding any and all rides in the Park: Boot Hill, the Swings, racing "whippet" (two (2) set of cars on roller coaster tracks that raced each other), the big roller coaster, bumper cars, ferris wheel and an assortment of other rides that drew the attention of running, screaming, pubescent youth. Also, for the post-modern greaser - mid-1960's to early nineteen seventies, there was the grand concert hall equipped with a dancing floor where couples could still swirl around to the big band sounds of Glen Miller and Tommy Dorsey.
My last memory of West View was, in fact, around 1977 when a buddy and I strolled through the park at mid-night while the park was in the midst of deconstruction. In 1977, I had not been to West View for probably 7 years, I was 22 y.o. and walking through the park at that time of night was eery, running into all those memories, phantoms and ghosts of the Park that survived the development that concluded with West View being wipped out.
In those days, there were Kennywood families and West View families. It seemed that families attended either one or the other: no family played at both parks. Kennywood was located in East Pittsburgh while West View was North and West, pretty much diametrically opposed in geography.
-Some memories from a West View Childhood

Loved West View Park from late 1950s to 1966 when we moved to Denver, CO

I especially loved the roller coaster and train. Were there ever any collisions at the railroad crossing right under the roller coaster? Loved their homemade railroad crossing signals (o)=(o)  and bell.

Would loved to have explored the park when you did when sadly closing.

I remember the haunted house ride, where your car exited outside on the second floor and went back in.
Always wanted to know the layout of the track inside.  Could not get a good grasp of it while riding the ride in the dark.

In the house of mirrors, my friend Bob Haase smacked right into a clear panel of glass that he did not realize was there. Then I saw my reflection in a mirror and noticed that I looked so awkward and lanky and limp-wristed while laughing at him. Embarrassing.

What happened to the trolley tracks that were north of the park?

Wish we had taken pictures.  But back then, they were expensive and we never did.

Thank you,

Robert Gift
Denver, CO



I saw your page on West View & took exception to the the portion about West View & Kennywood people not visiting both parks.  For about a 5 or 6 year stretch, my family visited both parks.

I grew up in Canonsburg.  My father worked for McGraw Edison Power Systems Division (now Cooper) & the company often had the summer family picnic @ West View.  I saw the The Jaggerz and Diamond Reo in the ballroom but on different weekends.  BootHill was always one of my favorite rides just for the hokie gore.

Canonsburg held the Community Days Family Picnic @ Kennywood generally around the 4th of July.  We usually went to Kennywood for Bridgeville Days also.

I always enjoyed West View & was sad to learn that it closed.

Richard Saut
Robesonia, PA