More Rich Details about Rolling Green Park By Gary Parks
Aug 20, 2014 02:46PM
By Erica Shames
Rolling Green Park served the area well, especially during the Great Depression and World War II. People would come and spend most of the day, taking advantage of the lake and shade from the natural groupings of trees which dotted the extensive landscape. In later years, of course, they would take advantage of the swimming pool. “We had metal swings for the kids,” recalls Beverly Search Curry, whose family managed several concessions within the complex. “You could hear the kids swinging on them. As soon as you heard that, we ran down the hill as fast as we could to collect the nickel fee,” she recalls.
Curry is perhaps the most vivid “memory” of Rolling Green Park: she is the only person known to have been born in the park. Curry’s family lived at Rolling Green year-round in one of the cottages. Not only was her grandfather the stage manager for the theater, her grandmother sold tickets and her mother was an usher. “It was a wonderful time growing up. I would fall asleep listening to the bands playing music. There were rocking chairs lining the dance floor -- one side was for the dancers, the other row of rockers was for the watchers.”
It was a rich upbringing, too. “I had umpteen babysitters,” Curry continues. “There were performers of all nationalities and so I grew up never knowing prejudice. The performers brought their children, most of whom couldn’t speak English. My grandmother admonished me not to pester them.”
With the increase in automobile ownership, area residents began to seek out other amusement parks–Hershey Park, for instance. A gradual decline in attendance and revenue led to the sale of Rolling Green Park in 1935 to four investors. For approximately a year, Roman M. Spangler, Sr., of Red Lion, managed the park for the new owners. Spangler assumed ownership of the park one year later. He continued to own and manage the park until his death in 1966. The park continued to operate for several years, but by 1971 it had closed.
Hurricane Agnes, in 1972, did extensive damage to the park and it was apparently felt that the park would never regain its former patronage. Real estate developer Luke E. Bogar, Jr., purchased the park from the Spangler estate and eventually sold the rides on an individual basis. The merry-go-round, sold for $18,000, is now enjoyed at Wonderland, Ocean City, New Jersey. The dark ride is incorporated into Knoebels Amusement Resort’s haunted mansion ride. A large model of the Rolling Green Park, produced in intimate detail by Robert Troutman is installed at the Snyder County Historical Society in Middleburg and can be enjoyed by visitors as renovations to its buildings are completed.