Crescent Park sign
I grew up on Intervale Avenue in East Providence, Rhode Island. And Crescent Park was in my backyard. Well, not really. If you walked 100 feet up my street, turned right and walked straight for four miles, you’d end up at Crescent Park. It took but minutes for us to get there by car. Maybe a half hour or so by bicycle. So, as a kid, I felt like Crescent Park was part of my neighborhood. Actually, I felt like I had my own Disneyland down the street!

Crescent Park opened in 1886 and for some it died when its popular beach closed in the mid-1940s due to pollution of the Narragansett Bay. But devoted patrons continued to flock to the midway, taking in the rides and attractions and finishing their day with a meal of clam cakes and chowder in the Shore Dinner Hall.

For those of us growing up nearby, Crescent Park wasn’t just an amusement park; it was a way of life. And the park had a very short life if you were born in the mid-1950s; it closed after the 1977 season. But it helped shape who I am today and it sparked my lifelong fascination with dark rides and funhouses. So here is my ode to my favorite brand of attractions that thrilled, scared and amused people for decades at Crescent Park.

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