Mr. Futrell estimates there have been greater than 1,000 trolley parks within the United States within the decade earlier than the primary world battle, lots of them in small suburban cities. In these growth years, Clementon Park added one of many area’s first nickelodeon film theaters and a brand new bathhouse. Vacation houses and eating places sprung up all through city.
The battle was powerful on the amusement trade, however as trolley parks closed elsewhere, this one grew. In 1919, the Gibbs household put in a Ferris wheel and a steam-driven carousel. That similar 12 months, they spent $80,000 — greater than $1 million in the present day — for the Jack Rabbit coaster, designed by the famend journey engineer John A. Miller and constructed of wooden by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company.
The Depression and the car’s rising recognition introduced one other wave of park closures. “You could survive if you had room to install a parking lot,” Mr. Futrell mentioned, “and Clementon did.”
More fashionable thrill rides had been added. In the dance corridor, Red Skelton and Dick Clark hosted dance-till-you-drop marathons. There had been every day high-dive exhibits and circus acts on the lake. Just outdoors the park gates, a downtown buying district bustled via the midcentury, and by 1960, Clementon’s inhabitants had grown to just about four,000 residents in simply two sq. miles.
But the growth that adopted World War II threatened the small-town lifestyle.
“They built huge malls and shopping centers just down the road,” Danielle Burrows mentioned, “and there was a hard shift away from downtown districts in the 1960s.” Ms. Burrows, 41, grew up on the town and wrote about Clementon for the “Images of America” guide sequence in 2009. By the time the principle road’s outlets and residences had been demolished within the identify of “urban renewal” within the 1970s, Ms. Burrows mentioned, “the town’s heyday was at least a decade in the rearview.”
There are few shops and eating places left now, and virtually nothing is manufactured in Clementon in the present day. When the amusement park didn’t open in any respect through the 2020 season, Marian Mumie, 82, who was born in Clementon in 1938, recalled that earlier demolition.