The Fitchburg & Leominster Street Railway was among the majority of regional transit lines in Massachusetts that operated its own amusement park on one of its transit lines. Whalom Park, built on a lake in Lunenburg, featured a ballroom, carousel, and various amusements, and would ultimately feature a roller coaster, water ride, and other amusements.


Whalom Park Television Advertisement

The idea of an amusement park on a transit line was devised as a way for the transit companies to take in weekday-levels of revenue on weekends and holidays, largely from families traveling to and from the man-made attractions. This formula had been duplicated, with varying degrees of success, in communities like Lexington (Lexington Park on the Middlesex & Boston Street Railway), Newton (Norumbega Park on the Commonwealth Avenue Street Railway), and Salem, New Hampshire (Canobie Lake Park on the Massachusetts Northeast Street Railway). Though many of the parks experienced limited life-spans, the two most successful parks of this type in the region were Canobie Lake Park and Whalom Park - the only ones to see the close of the century.

Further Reading:

COASTING TO A STOP AT WHALOM PARK
The End of an Era in Lunenburg
READ BOSTON GLOBE ARTICLE

Whalom Park, aside from its amusements, became a cultural center in the early- to mid-1900s, offering summer theater productions and concerts featuring local and national stars of the day, including Edward Everett Horton, Mae West, Gloria Swanson, and Tallulah Bankhead.38 For many in the area, Whalom Park was an integral part of growing up. A childhood destination, a teenage hangout, and an adult gathering place - Whalom Park offered it all to local residents, and as such was an emotional part of the community. Emotional connections, however, can not always help an old-fashioned park compete with modern themed destinations, and Whalom Park would struggle to see the turn of another century.


1918 Whalom Waltz Songbook

NEXT: A New Century of Transit


SOURCES:
Coasting to a Stop at Whalom Park, Russell (Boston Globe)
Trackless Trolleys of the Fitchburg & Leominster Street Railway Co., Clarke (BSRA)
From Boston to the Berkshires, Carlson and Clark (BSRA)


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