Roller Coasters of The Pacific Northwest
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Resources Updated: March 29, 2011

Playland ad from 1977 PNE booklet
Playland Seattle 1953 advertisement

Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition
Butte's Pride - The Columbia ...
Clark County History 2008
Dear Old Nat...Sokane's Playground
Doin' The Puyallup
Great American Amusement Parks
Guide to Ride 2000
Harry G. Traver: Legends of Terror
Herbert P. Schmeck Forgotten Legacy
Memories of Columbia Gardens
Once Upon A Time In Playland
The Enchanted Forest And Its...
The Incredibla Scream Machine
The Pacific National Exhibition
Vancouver: A History in Photographs
Vanishing Seattle

Jantzen Beach Park ~ 1940's

On The Midway ~ Puyallup Fair 2007

DVDs and Videos
Finding Playland
Remember When: Nat Park
Remembering The Columbia...
Great Old Amusement Parks
PNE ~ 1958

RollerCoaster! #113 ~ Spring 2010
RollerCoaster! #88 ~ Winter 2004
Roller Coaster #47 ~ Fall 1993
Sunset Magazine ~ July 1976
Sunset Magazine ~ June 1962
Unwind Sunday Magazine 2008

Souvineer Fair Programs:
Rip Snortin'-Fun! 1983
Whooopitup 1977
The Western Washington Fair 1973
50th Western Washington Fair...

Columbia Gardens Roller Coaster
Western Washington Fair Midway
Jack Rabbit at Nat Park
The Fun Forest

Photos and Postcards:
Happyland amusement rides
Jantzen Beach display
Playland Roller Coaster 1960s
Alaska Yukon Pacific Tickler
Puyallup Carnival Town WWII
Fun-Tastic Rides Amusements sign
Old Mill and Caterpillar Ride
Puyallup Coaster and Rides 1930's
Puyallup Fair Midway early 1970's
Restored Scooter & Whip Car
Restored & Unrestored Old Mill Boat

Puyallup Coaster and Rides mid 1930's

Puyallup Fair rides psotcard thumbnail
To view larger image click on photo

Caption and history:
This postcard was taken in the mid 1930's. Pictured above is the wooden roller coaster, Giant Ferris Wheel, Octopus, Fly-O-Plane, kiddie rides, Flyers, and some independent attractions.

In 1935, Coaster Thrill Ride was designed by John Miller on site and constructed by Edward and Robert Bollinger and a group of employees from Oaks Park in Portland, Oregon which Edward was then the owner of. According to Val Dummond's book, Doin' The Puyallup, there was some redesigning that had to be done during the construction of the coaster:

"The man who laid out the foundation for the Fairway (midway) in 1932 was Fred Pyfer. Under Pyfer's care and Bollinger's direction, the wooden roller coaster built in 1935 for $15,000, expanding the fairgrounds to the west. It was extended so close to what was then the south boundary of the grounds that the builder had to engineer the roller coaster to provide a roadway under the turn so that automobiles could go in and out."

As well as the coaster needing to provide access for large vehicles, John Miller explained that building an extra 50 feet of the ride would make it much better as well. Mrs Bollinger, Robert Bollinger's widow, ellaborates more about this:

"John Miller was hired to design the coaster. He designed one for the area the Fair Board had approved but said it would be a much better ride if it were 50 feet longer. After a conversation with the Fair Board, Edward & Robert were given permission for the additional 50 feet.

The additional 50 feet required that delivery trucks drive under the coaster. John Miller stayed up all night redrawing the plans on some butcher paper and plywood. The Douglas fir framework was made on the ground then hoisted into position with Model-A Ford fitted with block and tackle."

Robert's widow also explained to me that the coaster was owned by the Bollingers for the first ten years 1935-1945. Then it was transfered over to the Fair in 1945 leaving the ownership of the rolling stock to the Bollingers who also kept up the ride's maintenance.

In 1949, the coaster was rebuilt to run trains from the defunct Happyland Giant Dipper which were also redesigned in the process. In that year the ride was transformed (reprofiled) into an underfriction coaster. Prior to that time, the coaster had been designed as a sidefriction coaster. Robert Bollinger hired employees from Oaks Park which included Walker LeRoy to reconstruct the coaster for the 1950 fair season.

In June 1970, the fair was devastated by a horrible fire that took out about 40 feet of the coaster's north end loop (second turnaround). The fire also damaged the Grandstand, the Old Mill ride, Whip, Crazy House, food and game concessions, the Pretzel and Roll-O-Plane. Many locals were sensitive to the idea that the fire might have been caused by an arsonist since the Vietnam War was raging on and caused much upheavil during that time. Others thought it might have been caused by "faulty electricity". But, regardless of what or who the cuprit was, the fair was able to pull itself together and open in time for the 1970 season.

Since 1970, almost 40 years later, the Puyallup roller coaster remains well maintained and is probably the most popular thrill ride attraction at the fair. It is loved by locals, patrons, and coaster enthusiasts. And, it is the last wooden coaster that currently operates Prior and Church rolling stock.

Resource information:

Doin' The Puyallup by Val Dummond - Page 68

Doin' The Puyallup by Val Dummond - Page 69 - A memorial site about Robert Bollinger

Mrs. Bollinger - May 2009 (Email correspondence)