Giant Dipper (Belmont Park)

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Giant Dipper
roller coaster
Belmont Park
Location San Diego, California, USA
Status Operating since July 4, 1925
Designer / calculations Frank Prior, Fredrick Church
Type Wooden
Propulsion Chain lift hill
Height73 feet
Top speed55 mph
Length2600 feet

Giant Dipper is a wooden roller coaster located at Belmont Park in the Mission Bay area of San Diego, California, in the United States. The ride was designed by Frank Prior and Fredrick Church. It is currently the only wooden coaster of the five roller coasters operating in San Diego (the other 4 coasters being Journey To Atlantis, Manta, Electric Eel, and Tidal Twister, all at SeaWorld San Diego). Giant Dipper is considered a coaster landmark; having been first opened in 1925.

History[edit | edit source]

Originally the idea of John D. Spreckels, this coaster was built by a crew of 100 to 150 people in two weeks as the centerpiece of the Belmont Park (originally known as Mission Beach Amusement Center at the time). It reportedly cost $50,000 to build including the two 18 passenger trains and featured 2,600 feet of track. It opened for business on July 4, 1925.[1] The coaster became very popular in the 1940s and 1950s (in the 1950s it was renamed to "Roller Coaster"). But by the late 1960s it had fallen into disrepair. It closed in 1976.

In the early 1980s, people began calling for the demolition of the coaster, as it had become a home for local transients. A date for the demolition was set, but a group of citizens calling themselves the "Save the Coaster Committee", headed by Tim Cole,[2] intervened and had the ride designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1987 . It is one of two large wooden scaffolded roller coasters with structural integrity that remain on the West Coast.[3]

A few years later, the San Diego Seaside Company was formed to restore the coaster to operation. $2 million was spent on the restoration. New trains, manufactured by Morgan, seated 24 riders per cycle in six four-person cars. On August 11, 1990, the ride was once again renamed "Giant Dipper" and was reopened to the public. The response was so strong that a second train was eventually added to the coaster.

References[edit | edit source]

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