To further promote the scare-factor of their attraction, during the 1960's Rocky Point claimed they had a genuine nurse stationed by the Castle of Terror. Necessary, of course, should this horrific ride cause any fainting or heart problems. One could imagine several seasonal employees had their chance to wear that nurse uniform over the years, without ever attending a day of medical school. The gimmick worked, for the lines at the Castle were always long, and the attraction was one of the last to shut down as the park closed for the evening.
Rocky Point now had two world-class dark rides gracing their midway, more than any other park in the region. And each season, Rocky Point would add a new ride or attraction that only bolstered the previous year's attendance. But changes were on the horizon that would forever alter the outdoor amusement industry as we knew it then, changes that would also dictate the future of Rocky Point.
  By the mid-1970's, the amusement park business was in the midst of what most would call its darkest hours. Small, traditional amusement parks were closing across the country, and New England's fun spots were no exception. Once considered to be Rocky Point's key competition, nearby Crescent Park had fallen on hard times. After years of management changes and desperate attempts at survival, the gates finally closed for good in 1978.
Lincoln Park in nearby North Dartmouth, Massachusetts managed to hang on until 1987, when it locked its gate shortly after an ownership change and a series of unfortunate incidents. Realizing the opportunities at hand, Rocky Point pulled out all the stops to get these customers out to Warwick Neck.

During the next several years, millions were spent introducing many new rides, including the park's signature Log Flume. Each year at least one spectacular new attraction was debuted, with rides imported from around the world lining the midway, and Rocky Point never looked better. And as the second oldest amusement park in America, surely Rocky Point was here to stay.
  While most of the changes to Rocky Point were positive, the Castle underwent a most unfortunate transformation. In the early 1970's, the name was changed from "Castle of Terror" to "House of Horrors" - the same signage salvaged from the former Chambers' ride. This non-descript moniker could have appeared on any attraction at any fair or carnival - why not keep the title that aptly described the one-of-a-kind architecture and attraction? The Viking, who once thrilled riders inside, was now displayed outside, busy spearing a dragon whose mouth and claws held various blood-spattered department store mannequin appendages. Both needed a new coat of paint, and the broken light sockets in the dragon's eyes told the careful observer these were not new stunts. Why they were put out front, one can only imagine.
The stunts inside the Castle were also in a state of disrepair by this time, with some mechanical stunts inoperable for several seasons. One reason for the decline of the Castle might be explained by the appearance of another dark ride during this period. In 1971, a triple-decker Witches Mill from Pinfari made an appearance on the Rocky Point midway. A steel walled, portable dark ride attraction, it truly paled when compared with the original Castle. Most riders apparently felt the same, forgoing the boring ride through darkness with few generic stunts that did little to elicit any real terror. After two short seasons at Rocky Point, the Witches Mill was replaced with a new MACK Musik Express that remained a Rocky Point favorite for over 20 years.

Unchanged throughout the 1970's, the Castle went through one final renovation in the early 1980's. All but two of the famed Bill Tracy stunts were removed and replaced by locally made stunts.
A few seasons later, years after the movie itself and its sequels had run their course; the park felt that maybe a little Hollywood tie-in would update the old castle. So right down the hall from the damsels in distress on the table saw, a quick left after the now vacant graveyard, you came face to face with "JAWS!" More precisely, crudely painted black shark silhouettes on the cinderblock walls came into view as the movie soundtrack blared overhead. This undoubtedly left more than one patron laughing rather than screaming in terror. And by this time, the great artwork on the individual ride cars had been covered with carnival blues, reds, and oranges.

The only other surviving Tracy stunt was the "double trouble" hangman. Anything that was a reminder of this first class dark ride was either painted over or relegated to the real bone yard behind the park.
While Rocky Point was able to postpone its ultimate fate for a few summers longer than the other local parks, it could not escape the inevitable.

You've heard it all before - the vintage carousel sold at auction a few years earlier, bank loan defaults and overdue taxes. A sad tale too often heard in the amusement industry.

Unable to survive the constant management changes and poor business decisions of the early 1990's, Rocky Point Park gave the last ride in September of 1995. The auctioneer's gavel fell during the spring of 1996, and it took only two short days to unload almost 150 years of memories here on Narragansett Bay.

Left behind were the ghostly remains of one more shuttered amusement park, everything else having been sold to the highest bidder.
Over sixty years after the devastation of 1938, it looks as if another hurricane has wreaked havoc on Rocky Point's once magical midway. The graffiti artists have turned this park into their own art gallery, covering every square inch of space with every imaginable quote or autograph. Any object heavy enough to serve as a battering ram has been called into service, crumpling the doors of every concession up and down the midway. A stroll through the battered remains conjures up memories of where this ride or that game used to stand. Weeds and windswept debris fill the voids left by the park's ride line-up. It is practically impossible to trace the path of the infamous Log Flume, as overgrown vines now cover the giant cement footers of the park's signature ride. The Flume's own reservoir now harbors several life forms in its murky brown waters, and bubbles rise to the surface to let the wary visitor know that someone else has claimed this park for their own.
Perhaps the saddest sight of all is the Castle of Terror. While the entire attraction's contents and building were successfully auctioned in 1996, the castle structure was left behind. Eerily standing over the disarray left behind by years of vandalism, the Castle stands out as the centrally recognizable structure on the park's midway.

But the neglect is now taking a toll here as well. The grainy cement façade is crumbling away, revealing the wood and webbed-metal supports. The paint has been reduced to nothing after years of abuse by the salty sea breezes that blow off Narragansett Bay. Plywood sheets obscure all openings and the electric tracks have been torn up, unsettling reminders that there will be no more rides in the dark.

Once lauded as the best dark ride in New England, the Castle of Terror now sits crumbling in this dreary landscape.

The World's Largest Shore Dinner Hall hung on for a few years after the park's auction, but finally served its last bucket of chowder and all-you-can-eat clam cakes. During the summer of 2000, fire broke out in the former Skooter building, destroying three adjacent buildings as well. Local officials have stressed their concern over the remaining structures, as they see the park as nothing more than a target for vandals and arsonists.

In late summer 2004, another fire claimed the "Big House," a former residential building on park grounds. And the Castle of Terror façade continues to deteriorate with each passing day. A beautiful seaside location with breathtaking views of Narragansett Bay and Newport beyond drew the summer crowds to this spot on Warwick Neck over 150 years ago, similar to the beginnings of most seaside amusement resorts.

But the desirable location will most likely spell the end for amusements at Rocky Point. Today, erecting ocean-view residences is much more desirable to developers than operating an amusement park.
While there have been several local efforts to save Rocky Point, or at least preserve public shoreline access for future generations, no one knows what fate lies ahead for this much sought-after piece of real estate. For now, the Castle of Terror sits quietly, waiting … a haunting reminder of what was known as the Playground of New England.

Photo credits:
John Malone
Joe Nisil
George LaCross
Bill Luca