The world’s largest club of amusement park enthusiasts, the American Coaster Enthusiast (ACE) has voted to designate Dorney Park’s wooden roller coaster as an International Roller Coaster Landmark.
This award is given to rollers coasters that are historically significant. Thunderhawk, now in its 95th Season here at Dorney Park, is the oldest operating wooden roller coaster designed by the famed roller coaster designer, Herbert Schmeck, and the Philadelphia Toboggan Company.
Thunderhawk will be officially decorated with a special cast aluminum landmark plaque along with presentation by ACE to help commemorate the landmark during their annual convention, which will be co-hosted by Dorney Park in 2020, Coaster Con 43.
Thunderhawk, originally named The Coaster is tied for fourth as the oldest operating wooden roller coaster in the United States.
How fitting on Election Day!
Above: "Bob Plarr poses atop the original Dorney Park coaster during construction in 1923. Plarr must have done a good job with his project. It is still running under the name Thunderhawk 80 years later." Reprinted from "Dorney Park, Pennsylvania (Images of America Series)" (page 45) by Wally Ely with Bob Ott, 2003, Arcadia Publishing SC.
Above: Park entrance in the mid-1920's with Trolley Tracks, which the park depened upon for patrons during the early years. The Coaster is visibile, in its original configuration of an out-and-back.
Above: "This c. 1925 image depicts the line of passengers waiting for the rollercoaster. Boys drsesed in knickers and hight socks, as well as white shirts to visit Dorney then. Can you follow the devious route of the line as it snakes around outside the coaster building?." Reprinted from "Dorney Park, Pennsylvania (Images of America Series)" (page 49) by Wally Ely with Bob Ott, 2003, Arcadia Publishing SC.
Above: "By 1929, just six years after the coaster was constructed, Bob Plarr determined that a newer, faster, more curvy route was in order. The old route was basically out-and-back. The new route wound into the picnic area and crossed the trolley tracks twice. In fact, the trolley's cam in handy during the construction. Bob Ott says that the trolleys were used to pull heavy wooden sections of the new track into place." Reprinted from "Dorney Park, Pennsylvania (Images of America Series)" (page 46) by Wally Ely with Bob Ott, 2003, Arcadia Publishing SC.