Seabreeze Amusement Park

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Seabreeze
Seabreeze logo.png
Location
Rochester, New York, USA
Status Operating
Opened August 5, 1879
Owner Norris Family
General manager Rob Norris
Operating season May–September
Previous names Dreamland
Slogan “More Smiles per hour!”
Website https://seabreeze.com/
An image of the Jack Rabbit at Seabreeze

Seabreeze Amusement Park is a family-owned amusement park located in Irondequoit, a suburb of the City of Rochester, in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York. It opened as a trolley park in 1879, making it the fourth-oldest operating amusement park in the United States. The park features four roller coasters including North America's oldest continually operating roller coaster (and the world's fourth oldest roller coaster),[1] The Jack Rabbit.

History

Seabreeze Amusement Park first began operations in 1879 after the Rochester & Lake Ontario Railway purchased surplus rail equipment from the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 in order to connect Seabreeze with central Rochester. Land at the meeting point of Lake Ontario and Irondequoit Bay was acquired and the first trains began traveling between Downtown Rochester and Seabreeze with an inaugural ride on August 5, 1879.[2]

On January 1, 1900, the Rochester & Suburban Railway Co. took over operations at the park as well as the train lines that operated to and from the park. This acquisition brought with it the introduction of new electric trains with overhead lines ending the need for steam powered streetcars and trains.[2]

By 1915, crowd sizes were expanding rapidly and a new railroad pavilion and station building were constructed to handle the masses. The pavilion still stands today and is utilized as the Park's main offices. Throughout the following years the park would continue to grow and feature rides from some of the biggest names in the business at the time such as Ingersoll, Miller & Baker, Philadelphia Toboggan Company, as well as many others.[2]

In 1920 Seabreeze saw the addition of its most prized attraction, The Jack Rabbit, a roller coaster constructed by Miller & Baker and designed by the Dayton Funhouse Company. The out and back roller coaster would go on to be the oldest operating roller coaster featuring the revolutionary Underfriction wheel design that has allowed for the steep drops and bends of even the most modern roller coasters today. It took only 8 weeks for 120 workers to assemble this now historic roller coaster that continues operation today having celebrated its centennial in 2020.[1][2][3]

Over the next many years a variety of innovative rides would come and go as the park traversed the ups and downs of the economic trials of the times. The park also faced multiple devastating fires that put its future in jeopardy. However, the driving force of George Long Sr. and his son George Long Jr. would insure the park survived these setbacks. In 1940 with their purchase of the park, Seabreeze became known as "Dreamland". Future generations of the family would later take the reins and continue this spirit of ingenuity and resilience. By 1970 the park's name had returned to Seabreeze and the introduction of beloved rides like the Gyrosphere were introduced in what the park saw as a new era of opportunity.[2][3]

Until the 1980s, the park featured open grounds. Guests paid a per attraction fee. At this point a fence was erected around the rounds and a standard admission price was put in place. Alongside this change came the introduction of the water park.[2][3]

1994 is perhaps one of the most significant years in Seabreeze History. On March 31, 1994 crews were conduction roof maintenance on the carousel building when sudden gusts of wind caused sparks to ignite the structure leading to the loss of their prized carousel, Philadelphia Toboggan Company No. 36 which had been a staple at the park since 1926. This carousel was world renowned for its highly detailed construction, pristine condition, and constant upkeep. PTC No. 36 was the ninth oldest surviving PTC Carousel in operation at the time of the fire and the first such carousel to be lost in a fire since the 1970s, striking a blow that resonated industry wide.[2][3][4]

In 1997 Seabreeze unveiled their new in house built carousel, the Seabreeze Carousel, that would take the place of the famed PTC No.36. This carousel was painstakingly hand crafted by members of the (Long) Norris family in the spirited tradition of their predecessors who were also famed carousel builders themselves. It resulted in one of the most beloved attractions in Upstate New York.[3]

On July 30, 2020, the park announced that it would not reopen until 2021, citing a lack of guidance from the state during the coronavirus pandemic.[5]

Today the park continues to operate in the same family tradition it was founded upon.

Awards

On August 6, 2021 Seabreeze was awarded the prestigious New York State Senate Empire Award in recognition of their continued upkeep and preservation of the historic Jack Rabbit roller coaster in addition to the park's continued presence over the previous 143 years.

The award was presented by New York State Senator Samra Brouk and State Assembly member Sarah Clark and received by park president Rob Norris.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the award was unable to be presented for the Jack Rabbit's 100th anniversary in 2020, and was instead presented in 2021 during the Jack Rabbit's 101st year in operation.[6][7]

Roller coasters

Present

Name Manufacturer Type Opened Status
Jack Rabbit Harry C. Baker Wooden 1920 Operating
Whirlwind Maurer AG Spinning 2004 Operating
Bobsleds George W. Long Hybrid 1962 Operating
Bear Trax E&F Miler Industries Family 1997 Operating

Past

Name Manufacturer Type Opened Closed Fate
Bunny Rabbit Allan Herschell Company Kiddie 1985 1996 Relocated to Island in Pigeon Forge
Figure 8 Ingersoll Construction Company Wooden 1903 1915 Scrapped
Greyhound T.M. Harton Wooden 1916 1933 Destroyed by Fire. Renamed or converted to Greyhound in 1927; facts uncertain.
Jr. Coaster George W. Long Jr. Wooden 1954 1961 Converted to "Bobsleds"
The Dips T. M. Harton Wooden 1916 1933 Converted or Renamed as Greyhound in 1927; facts uncertain.
Quantum Loop Soquet Sit-down July 1994 2003 Relocated to Salitre Magico
"Stahley's Roller Coaster" Unknown Wooden 1886 1900 Destroyed by Winter Storm
Kiddie Coaster George W. Long Wooden 1949 Unknown Scrapped
Virginia Reel Henry Riehl Virginia Reel 1921 1930 Destroyed by Fire
Wildcat Philadelphia Toboggan Company Wooden 1926 1935 Removed winter 1935. Some sources state Destroyed by Fire, no evidence of fire in 1935-1936. Likely removed due to Depression.

Rides

Present

Name Manufacturer Type Opened
Bumper Cars SDC Dodgems Unknown
Seabreeze Carousel Self-built Carousel 1996
Great Balloon Race Zamperla Balloon Tower 2014
Log Flume Hopkins / George W. Long Log Flume 1984
Music Express Bertazzon Superbob/Musik Express 2008
Revolution 360 Zamperla Disk'O 2010
Screamin' Eagle Zamperla Hawk 24 1998
Sea Dragon Chance Rides Pirate Ship 1991
Seabreeze Flyers Bisch Rocco Flying Scooters 1979
Spring! Moser Rides Junior Drop Tower 2003
Tilt-A-Whirl Sellner Manufacturing Tilt-A-Whirl 1976
Time Machine Technical Park Miami 2017
Twirlin Tea Cups Zamperla Junior Teacups 2011
Wave Swinger Bertazzon Waveswinger 2014

Past

Name Manufacturer Type Opened Closed Fate
Circle Swing Unknown Circle Swing 1906 1921 Replaced by updated version
Carousel George W. Long Carousel 1904 1925 Relocated to Seneca Park (Later destroyed by fire)
Carousel PTC No. 36 Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousel 1926 1994 Destroyed by Fire
Carousel Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousel 1883 Unknown Replaced by series of traveling Carousel attractions
Crazy Cups Philadelphia Toboggan Company Crazy Daisy 1950s 2010 Scrapped
Enchanter Unknown Tracked Dark Ride 1940s 1994 Destroyed by fire
Ghost Train Pretzel Company Tracked Dark Ride Unknown 1994
Gyrosphere Eli Bridge Company Scrambler 1977 2007 Unknown
Kaleidoscope Self-built Tracked Dark Ride 1970 1982 Scrapped
Lindy Loop Spillman Engineering Lindy-Loop 1929 Unknown Unknown
Loop-O-Plane Eyerly Aircraft Company Loop-O-Plane 1937 Unknown Unknown
Old Mill Miller & Baker Dark Boat Ride 1920 1941 Replaced by The Subway
Over the Falls George W. Long Log Flume 1958 1984 Converted to Log Flume
Round-Up Hrubetz Round-Up 1979 Unknown Unknown
The Subway Self-built Tracked Dark Ride 1941 1970 Converted to Kaleidoscope
Yo-Yo Chance Rides Waveswinger 1989 2013 Unknown

References

External links