West View Park was an amusement park that was located north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Theme park is the generic term for a collection of rides and other Entertainment attractions assembled for the purpose of entertaining a large group It was founded by T. M. Harton in 1906.
West View Park was located in West View Borough's valley on Perry Highway/U. S. 19 (Park-goers coming from U. S. 19 Northbound experienced a sharp horseshore curve before descending into the valley and to the park). When T. M. Harton bought that land, it was a swamp, but he dammed the stream and made a 5 acre pond called Lake Placid. The first rides were a Carousel, a mill chute ride called the Mystic Chute, and a figure eight coaster, and all were built by the T. M. Harton Company. Another building that was there when the park was first built was an open air dance hall. When it was built it was the largest dance hall in western Pennsylvania. And there was also a penny arcade, a pony ride, and row boats. In 1907 a bandstand was added, and a fun house.
The Dips was built in 1910. It was the first coaster in Pennsylvania to have dips over 50 feet. When it was first built, it was a side friction coaster, and it only had about 25 degree slopes. All of the rides were T. M. Harton built, and that was because it was owned by the T. M. Harton Company. In 1911, T. M. Harton returned and built a giant Ferris Wheel. In 1915 park staff rethemed the fun house into Hilarity Hall. The Speed-O-Plane was built in 1917 as a side friction coaster. It was a T. M. Harton Deep Dip Model. In 1919 a Whip Ride was bought from Mangle Company of Coney Island. This was the first ride in the park that was not built by T. M. Harton. In February 1919 T. M. Harton went to Cincinnati, Ohio on business and got Influenza. He had it for 3 weeks then got Pneumonia and died. On February 3, 1920, Olive Harton Jones bought the remaining assets of the park from her family members. She now owned $370,023. 28 worth of parks, concessions, and companies in a time when a lobster dinner cost $0. 05. In 1923 a second carousel was bought and the park now had 2 carousels. A Caterpillar ride was bought in 1924. For the 1925 season, a Skooter (Dodgems, Bumper Cars)ride was bought. In 1927, the West View's largest ride was built, the Racing Whippet. It was a racing coaster, but in the middle, the 2 tracks separate and then come back together. This was considered one of the most exciting coasters in the world for 2 months, because then the Coney Island Cyclone was built. For 1928, the Speed-O-Plane was recountored with steeper drops, and became the Greyhound. In 1929, the Dips was recountored and turned into a standard wood coaster, with very steep drops and a famous banked, rising, and falling curve at the far end of the ride. Also in 1929 a tumble bug was added. The Cuddle Up was the last ride added before the depression. A new Maple floor was added to Danceland in 1937. In 1936 a Loop-O-Plane was bought from the Eyerly Company. During World War II the only major addition was asphalt paving on all paths in 1944. 1946 was a good year for West View, and purchased a Ferris Wheel and a Flying Scooter from the Eli Bridge Company, and a Miniature Railroad from National Amusement Device. For 1947 the Cuddle-Up was rebuilt and a Tilt-A-Whirl were added. In 1948 Danceland was enclosed and restyled an Art Deco Theme. In 1949 the Loop-O-Plane was replaced. For 1952 a Mini Golf was built. The 1956 Rides added were a Round Up,Rock-O-Plane,and Helicopter. For 1962 The Ride-N-Laff was rebuilt. To try and attract more visitors, an Arrow antique cars was added, and a 2 story Haunted House was built. In 1964, the Boot Hill Western Walk Through, Pirate Cave Dark Ride, and Facination Building were Built.
In 1970 West View was going downhill fast. It added a new steam train. In 1973 Danceland burned to the Ground. By 1975, with the introduction of Kennywood Park's first million-dollar ride, the Log Jammer, West View was doomed. It did not have enough money nor space to build million dollar rides that might have saved it. It had good rides, but they weren't enough. Other parks were spending millions changing their images every year, but West View was stuck with its old one.
1977 would become West View Park's swan song season. A last attempt to save the park was retheming the Ride-N-Laff into Davey Jones Locker that year, but it was too late. At the end of the 1977 season, the park did not put up its "See you next year!" sign. On September 30, the news was official: West View would not reopen.
For the next few years, everything would be taken down and either sold to other amusement parks or scrapped. The famous Dips roller coaster was one of the last rides to be dismantled. By 1980, the entire park was gone.
Today, West View Park Shopping Center occupies the old amusement park grounds, its sign showing a replication of the Dips coaster. Although there are no traces of the park left at its site, a few nearby businesses feature old photos, articles and memorabilia from West View Park's past.