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Monday, November 4, 2013

White Swan Park


White Swan Park was a small amusement park on the border of Moon and Findlay townships in Allegheny County near Pittsburgh that operated from 1955 to 1989. It was located on the Penn-Lincoln Parkway West (then PA 60) at McClaren Rd., just 1½ miles south of the old Greater Pittsburgh International Airport site.

The park opened in 1955 with seven rides. It was operated by brother and sister Roy Todd and Margaret Kleeman, who built it along with Kleeman's husband. It occupied about 40 acres (160,000 m2) and featured a kiddie park and 15 rides such as the Galaxi, a merry-go-round, the Scrambler, a Ferris wheel, Tilt-A-Whirl, Mad Mouse roller coaster, a giant slide and a train billed as "the longest train ride in the Tri-State."

White Swan also had a pavilion of midway games (which was the actual entrance to the park), six picnic shelters, a Skee Ball building, a miniature golf course and a refreshment stand.

With construction of the new Pittsburgh International Airport underway in the late 1980s, a reroute of PA 60 (renumbered I-376 in 2009) was needed for access. After the park's 1989 season, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation bought the park. Dismantling of the park began the following year. The amusements and other artifacts were sold at auction. The Mad Mouse was moved to Lakemont Park in Altoona, Pennsylvania but was sold and removed in 2003. The Galaxi coaster was shipped to Lubbock, Texas. The last item from the park to be removed was the Giant Slide. The Tilt-a-Whirl is still in operation at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, PA.

The small park was appropriate primarily for families with young children, and was seen by many in its area as easier to visit on a whim than the larger Kennywood amusement park, which dominates the Pittsburgh market.