Okay, all you dark ride fans, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. First, the bad news: Savin Rock amusement area, in West Haven, Connecticut, had a Pretzel, a R.E. Chambers Laff in the Dark, an original installation Old Mill, a PTC Mill Chutes, a PTC Death Valley model funhouse, a NAD funhouse, a Noah’s Ark funhouse, a Bluebeard’s Castle funhouse and a makeshift funhouse. But the bad news is that they’ve vanished, as did the amusement area.














Now here’s the good news: You can view some remnants of them, plus learn more about the former largest amusement area in New England at the Savin Rock History Museum in West Haven. Before I get into the dark attractions, write down or cut and paste this museum information, as you’ll definitely want to refer to it later.
Savin Rock History Museum Tuesday 9:00 AM - 11:45 AM Saturday and Sunday 1:00 PM - 3:45 PM For Tours Call 203-937-3959 or 203-937-3635
DIRECTIONS: 1-95 EXIT 42 SAW MILL ROAD FROM NORTH: Turn RIGHT at end of ramp. Continue on that road 1.5 miles to the last intersection (Captain Thomas Boulevard and Kelsey Avenue). The Savin Rock Conference Center, Museum & free parking lot will be directly ahead on the right, next to Jimmie’s Restaurant. FROM SOUTH: Turn LEFT at end of ramp. Follow the directions above.

Okay, now that you’ve done that, meet Harold Hartmann, that’s him with me in the photo. Harold was Chief of Maintenance for the Savin Rock Park Company which meant he did everything from patching leaky root beer dispenser barrels to mending broken skeletons in Death Valley. Harold is now a historian for the museum and nobody knows more about the rides, including the dark ones, than him.
 
“I lived near the park and at age four I wandered out of my back yard into the amusement area and got hooked.” he recalls. “I started work at age 12 and worked right through the amusements’ closing in 1967.”
Alas, this author was only 12 in 1967 - too young to drive out there from Rhode Island. The closest I ever got was 15 miles away - my cousins’ house in North Haven. But I knew nothing of the Savin Rock back then. So close yet so far. Fortunately Harold’s vivid memory and his old photos make me feel like I was there. So here, with the help of Harold, are profiles of Savin Rock’s dark attractions.