After many wrongs, here's one that was done right

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After many wrongs, here's one that was done right

Postby Hooky965 » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:12 am

There's a post in this section highlighting some photos of Wildwood and it eludes to the removal of the Golden Nugget ride. For those that may not know the story behind this ride, I suggest visiting some of the following sites to get some background:

Both of these sites have an extensive collection of photos and videos of this ride from when it was in operation, to the present day. To paraphrase the whole thing, the Nugget is an enclosed family rollercoaster/dark ride which has been on the wildwood boardwalk since the early 60's. It was a one-of-a-kind creation of the Philadelphia Toboggan works which combined a gentle rollercoaster experience with a mildly scary funhouse-type western themed enclosure. It was briefly retooled in the mid 90's to have more of a dinosaur theme. What made the Nugget special is that it pretty much was the centerpiece of Hunt's Pier. Hunt's was something of a Jersey Shore Disneyland back in the day, and had quite a few unique attractions which set it apart from the standard shore-based amusement pier.

The other thing that made it special is that it was still there. All of the other Hunts attractions were either sold or destroyed over the years. In addition, one-by-one the rest of that boardwalk's unique rides & walk-throughs were either trashed or taken by fire. In fact, the once-proud Hunts pier changed hands twice and then was abandoned and sold to the Morey company. Having already taken over the rest of Wildwood's viable piers, it didn't make economic sense to sink money into yet another pier, so Hunt's was relegated to having nothing more than a couple of go-kart tracks and maintenance buildings on it. In spite of this, the now-dormant Nugget remained.

In the years that followed, the Moreys were trying to find a way to bring it back to life. They considered many options, including total renovations, walk-through conversion, relocation, even converting it to a museum. In the end, as a result of stringent code restrictions, they were forced to make the decision to remove the ride. This was no small decision however, as they knew that they weren't only removing an old ride, they were removing a ride which had been an absolute icon for which sentiment still ran strong.

Instead of doing the typical thing and taking it away in the cold of winter when the public eye is turned away, they chose to do the right thing. They went inside, removed critical components, restaged some of the props, put one of the old cars back in the station and invited the public back into the ride for one last look. The event, held last high noon (nice touch) featured some public speeches from the Morey family, from the son of the ride's designer, and from the granddaughter of Mr. Hunt himself. As a parting gift, 500 of the estimated 1000 in attendance were given a piece of the ride (typically a piece of railing or a link from the lift chain). They were also given a glimpse of what was in store for the site where the Nugget resided. A GCI woodie is going to be built on the adjacent Morey's Surfside pier. The coaster's track will take it down beneath the boards of that pier and then up over a bridge which will connect it to the former Hunt's pier. The track will have several turns on that structure before returning to the station back on Surfside. While the Nugget will no longer be there to ride, this new coaster will represent the first time in a decade that something besides go-karts will be in operation on that pier.

But that's not the end of the story. It was revealed that an amusement park had purchased the ride mechanism (trains, track, lift & brakes) from the Moreys and planned on rebuilding it in their park. Which park might have done that?

Who else....Knoebel's

After this announcement was made, the crowd roared, and rightfully so. Knoebel's won't put any kind of timeframe on the resurrection of the Nugget, but they have committed to rebuilding the ride and doing it justice in their park. I've seen a lot of the rides from my childhood disappear over the years. Typically they head to some far-flung locale or are relegated to a dumpster. I'm happy to say that this one is an exception.

Furthermore, I have to tip my hat to the Moreys. It would have been very easy to remove this ride and fence the pier off while the process ensued. Instead, (at their expense) they gave it the kind of farewell which is seldom (if ever) seen in the amusement industry. It showed respect not only for the ride itself, but more importantly for the people who had a connection with it for what it represented, while showing the progress that the ride's removal will permit. These are guys who "get it". Hopefully, this is an example which can be followed elsewhere.
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Re: After many wrongs, here's one that was done right

Postby bunky1963 » Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:24 pm

Thanks for that post about the Golden Nugget Mine Ride!

Check out this link!: ... 82672.html

They have a slideshow of Golden Nugget photos with audio sound effects from the ride!

Once it's loaded in your computer it just lasts for a minute, but it's Really NEAT!


Check out this web site for more COOL photos of the great Hunt's Pier amusement rides!:

I have my photos online too, so for anybody who hasn't seen them, if you're interested take a look!:

Farewell Golden Nugget Mine Ride!
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Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:36 am

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