Monday, May 7, 2012

The Roller Coaster in San Diego

Started as an iNSD speed scrap at Design House Digital, but since my computer decided to stop cooperating, I had to abandon the speed scrap.  Once I got everything back up and running, this just took its own coarse.

This is the historic wooden roller coaster at Mission Beach San Diego, the Giant Dipper, built in 1925 as part of the Belmont Part Amusement Center, by the San Diego real estate entrepreneur John D. Spreckels.

The original coaster was built by a crew of 100 to 150 people in two weeks as the centerpiece of the Mission Beach Amusement Center (now known as Belmont Park). 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.  The coaster became very popular in the 1940s and '50s but by the late '60s 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 been in disrepair and became a home for local transients. A date for the demolition was set, but a group of citizens calling themselves the "Save the Coaster Committee" intervened and had the Giant Dipper designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1987 (National Register Number 78000753). Also known as the "Earthquake", it is one of two large wooden scaffolded roller coasters with structural integrity that remain on the West Coast, the other being the wooden coaster in Santa Cruz.

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 Manufacturing, seated 24 riders per cycle in six four-person cars. On August 11, 1990, the Giant Dipper was reopened to the public. The response was so strong that a second train was eventually added to the coaster.

Belmont Roller Coaster 
Credits: Anna Aspnes: Original ForoBlenz No 5, ArtPlay Palette Wander, ArtPlay Palette Crazy Life, Wild Word Transfers No 1, Oscraps Collab Tango, DHD iNSD Kit Retrospect

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