My Writing, Pennsylvania History, Pittsburgh History, Western Pennsylvania Amusement Parks, Western Pennsylvania history, Western Pennsylvania Lost Amusement Parks, Westmoreland County history

Seeking Stories & Photos for New Book on Western Pennsylvania’s Lost Amusement Parks!

Eldora Park in Carroll Township, PA. Courtesy of the Donora Historical Society

I’m pleased to announce my next book project! I am seeking stories, documents and photographs for a forthcoming book from The History Press that will share the histories of the lost and forgotten amusement parks that once brought communities together across Western Pennsylvania.

Tentatively titled Lost Amusement Parks of Western Pennsylvania and slated for publication in 2022, my new book will shed light on the fascinating stories of these long-gone recreation spots, from early picnic groves to traditional amusement parks, including: trolley and railroad parks with origins tied to transportation; the first African-American-owned amusement park; and all of the parks’ classic amusement rides that thrilled countless people of all ages.

Lake Scene at Olympia Park near McKeesport, PA. Courtesy of Andrea Cartwright.

I NEED YOUR HELP! My book will cover a lot of ground: the histories of dozens of amusement parks across the 26 counties that comprise Western Pennsylvania. I am looking for any information, documents, company/owner records, newspaper articles, postcards, photographs, other images and research sources and, of course, YOUR MEMORIES of these lost parks. Do you remember swimming at Jeannette’s Oakford Park, whipping around on the Wild Mouse at White Oak’s Rainbow Gardens or seeing the Rolling Stones perform on the Danceland stage at Pittsburgh’s West View Park? I want to hear all about it! Please contact me with any and all information you may have. I’m excited to work on this new book and I hope the public can contribute to it. Thank you!!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Sopko is a Pittsburgh-based writer and historian with a love of local history. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. For more than 15 years, Sopko has written about the Ligonier Valley, Westmoreland County and Western Pennsylvania for several regional publications, including the Latrobe Bulletin, the Ligonier Echo and Westmoreland History magazine. She is the author of two History Press books: Idlewild: History and Memories of Pennsylvania’s Oldest Amusement Park (2018) and Ligonier Valley Vignettes: Tales From the Laurel Highlands (2013).

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: Founded in 2004, The History Press publishes local and regional history and culture from coast to coast. Be it narratives of local heroes, tragic losses, collections of homegrown recipes, historic mysteries and everything in between, History Press books act as valued touchstones for community identity. Publishing varied and dynamic titles complete with rich archival materials to illuminate each text, their books are useful resources for research and preservation. From cornerstone series Haunted  America and Hidden History to the tasty morsels in American Palate titles, each book is infused with abundant local color and aimed at a general readership.


2 thoughts on “Seeking Stories & Photos for New Book on Western Pennsylvania’s Lost Amusement Parks!”

  1. Hi Jennifer, my great grandparents owned Griftlo Park, my mom have I have a lot of pics and she can share stories with you.

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