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Posts tagged “San Francisco

Lost Parks Update for February

Many apologies for the lack of updates on the site as of late – we’ve been working several different major projects that have required a bit more of my time and attention. That being said – they’re going to be EARTH SHAKERS when we can release more information on them, so stay tuned!

As for the “Lost Parks of Northern California” – if you follow us on social media, you know we’re already hard at work on principal videography on the next episode – this time, focusing on parks designed to be lost from the beginning – the 1915 and 1939 World’s Fairs of San Francisco.

As you can imagine – there’s a TON of work and locations involved; coupled with our skeleton “staff” of volunteers, it’s going to take a bit longer than other episodes to produce – but if you’re fans of our work on previous episodes, you already know that the wait will be well worth it.

Be sure to follow the journey by searching / using the #lostparks hashtag on your favorite social media account!

sf_world_fair

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Coaster Con XXXVII Logo a Piece of History

Today, the American Coaster Enthusiasts revealed the official design to Coaster Con XXXVII – and I can’t help but laugh – as it’s nearly identical to the REAL proposal to build a coaster on both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges!

Coaster Con XXXVII

The official Coaster Con XXXVII logo, courtesy of the American Coaster Enthusiasts.

Learn more about the incredible (albeit insane) idea of the Golden Gate Bolt in the next episode of the “Lost Parks of Northern California” debuting in the next few months!

Golden Gate Bridge Roller Coaster

The proposed “Bridge Coasters” would not only break current coaster records – they would obliterate them – 75 years before the records were even set! Photo from the California State Archive

With the event coming up this June in Northern California, we’re all just a little excited to show off just how much we love our parks and our history – let’s ride!


Musée Mécanique: A True Historical Gem of San Francisco History

Photo by Kris Rowberry

Found a great article today on one of my favorite San Francisco institutions, the decidedly retro “Musée Mécanique” at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Laffing Sal at the Musee Mechanique, San Francisco.

Originally located in the basement of the Cliff House and before then at Playland-at-the-Beach, this eclectic collection of antique mechanical instruments, games and displays (some well over 100 years old) is by far the best way to spend your afternoon at the wharf, especially if the cruises to Alcatraz are sold out or crazy packed.

Check out the article here, from SF Weekly:

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/exhibitionist/2013/11/tourism_for_locals_musee_mecan.php


Lost Parks featured in the Huffington Post!

Kris Rowberry, Roller Coaster Expert

Add another media outlet to the list of organizations that have discovered the charm of the “Lost Parks” project – today, we’re featured in The Huffington Post!

Huffington

Read the article, here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/16/lost-parks-of-northern-california_n_4456181.html

2013 has been an amazing year for coverage – I cannot wait to see what 2014 has in store for us!


Architect Envisioned Massive Coasters for Golden Gate, Bay Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge Roller Coaster

From the people who brought you the massive Hangar One at Moffett Field, The Empire State Building and Hoover Dam, comes arguably the grandest, most scenic (and most insane) roller coaster idea of ALL TIME!

Golden Gate Bridge Roller Coaster

The proposed “Bridge Coasters” would not only break current coaster records – they would obliterate them – 75 years before the records were even set! Photo from the California State Archive

The stats for this proposed duo of coasters are simply staggering. 1,000 feet tall – 750 foot drops – a 190 mph top speed. Even by today’s standards, these two coasters would have easily kept their records for height and speed.

By comparison, the Transamerica Pyramid – which was built in 1972 and is the tallest building in San Francisco – is 850 feet tall.

The tallest roller coaster in the world currently is Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure. It tops out at a measly 456 feet high. Formula Rossa in the UAE is the fastest in the world, at a yawn inducing 149 mph. Heck, even the “bunny hills” on these coasters were proposed to do 40 mph over them…at 1,000 feet in the air!

Photo copyright 2007, Kris Rowberry. All rights reserved

Double the height of Kingda Ka, and it still wouldn’t be as tall as the proposed “Golden Gate Thunderbolt” roller coaster!

Where do I line up?

The folks in the Depression sure thought bigger than we do today, and it’s understandable. It was a dark time for America – and people needed something – anything – in order to lift their spirits. What better way than to build something that was (and may never be) seen by human eyes?

I’m not exactly sure how they would have propelled the ride at such speeds, or how to get it up there to begin with – I know for a fact that Cal OSHA would laugh the proposal right out the door in today’s litigious world…not to mention it’s pretty clear the physics of a ride with that much wind resistance would never be able to complete its circuit!

Ironically, two identical roller coasters WERE built at each of the 1939 Expositions in New York and San Francisco. After the fair ended in New York, the ride was eventually moved…to Riverside Park in Massachusetts, eventually becoming Six Flags New England – where it still runs today as – you guessed it – “Thunderbolt,” the same name proposed for the rides on the bridges.

Thunderbolt at the 1939 SF Exposition

This exact coaster layout, which ran at both 1939 Expositions in New York and San Francisco still runs at Six Flags New England, as “Thunderbolt,” an ACE Coaster Classic. (Shot from SF Exposition)

Photo by Kris Rowberry, all rights reserved.

Thunderbolt at Six Flags New England. Photo by Kris Rowberry, all rights reserved.

And yes, you can expect this and many other amazing nuggets of coaster knowledge and “what if” history to appear in an upcoming episode of the “Lost Parks of Northern California” series!

Read the whole article, from KPIX-5 in San Francisco, here, or just copy and paste the link below:

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/11/22/designer-once-envisioned-massive-coasters-on-golden-gate-bay-bridges/


Diane Disney Miller Passes Away

Diane Disney Miller, the last surviving , direct descendent of Walt and Lillian Disney passed away earlier this week in San Francisco, from complications due to a fall she sustained several months ago. She was 79 years old.

DDM_web

The front page of the Walt Disney Family Museum today – simple and understated.

Miller is best known as the champion of the “Walt Disney Concert Hall” in Southern California, as a winery proprietor in Napa at Silverado Vineyards as well as the backing behind the Walt Disney Family Museum, located on the Presidio in San Francisco.

Photo by Wikipedia user Jjron.

Photo by Wikipedia user Jjron.

But perhaps Miller’s greatest contribution to the arts has been missed by many – mostly because it came when she was only a young child…

It is said that Diane and her sisters’ favorite book growing up was a book by British author, P.L. Travers. The story, about a magical Nanny was so popular in the Disney household, the sisters would routinely beg their father to make a movie of the book – an odyssey that took Walt Disney 20 years to complete. The upcoming Disney film, “Saving Mr. Banks” tells the behind-the-scenes story of how Walt was able to finally get the rights to make “Mary Poppins” (considered by many to be the greatest Disney film of all time).

The film releases in the U.S. officially on December 20th.

The film releases in the U.S. officially on December 20th.

Miller was a philanthropist by all definitions – donating millions to causes near and dear to her heart, usually related to the arts. She will be sorely missed in the arts, wine and amusement park communities.

She is survived by seven children, 13 grandchildren and one great grandchild.


A Little Extra Excitement in Your Life

There’s something about danger that makes our stories better, don’t you agree?

Case in point – Producer Nick and I were heading out to the SF Zoo this past Sunday to film a segment about the 1922 Dentzel Carousel. (It happens to be the only operating piece of the short-lived Pacific City Amusement Park at Coyote Point.)

Unfortunately, the park was beyond capacity, both in parking and general space, as they were celebrating Chinese New Year. With the weather as spectacular as it was, we should have known the park would be crowded.

We parked on Herbst Way, which turned out to be smack dab in the back of the park. Sadly, we were unaware of this, so…like sheep in a herd, we followed the pack of people who purported to know where the entrance to the zoo was.

Turns out, it was the entrance to the Great Highway and Skyline Blvd. (CA-35).

Whoops!

This is the result…

Braving the Great Highway to get to the S.F. Zoo!

Now Producer Nick and I are all for excitement – when it’s in the controlled and safe confines of an amusement park. But when you have cars whizzing by at 55 mph and you’re carrying upwards of $6,000 worth of camera and video equipment – it makes for a hairy situation.

But it got me to thinking – even if this was a lame day to shoot video, it would still be memorable – almost legendary. And while we DID end up making it into the zoo without any problems, and filming went along smoothly – the one thing we’re probably going to take away from today was that crazy walk.

Funny how things work out in the end, huh?

Stay tuned for the ACTUAL video we were shooting for – the Lost Amusement Parks of Northern California…coming soon!