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monsoon

Archaeological Ruins of old Amusement Park near Charlotte

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We have had brief mentions of Springs Recreational Park, also known as Springmaid Park which was a recreational/amusement park operated by Springs Mills, once known as Springmaid Mills, in Lancaster county. This park was very popular from during the post WWII era until some time in the 1970s when apparently it was completely abandoned. This would have been before Carowinds or the short lived PTL amusement park. I remember visiting Springmaid Park as a small kid and many natives to the area would be familiar with it or at least heard stories about it. It's a place that would seem to have just disappeared as there is little mention of it now and some doubt that it even existed.

The park was/is located in a remote part of the county on a part of the Catawba river where there is no boat traffic and no development. Below is a video of a person who decided to try and find the park and the results of his exploration. It's fascinating to watch as I always wondered what happened to this place.

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There are some photos and additional documentary at this guy's searching the south website.

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Nice find. I lived in Charlotte for 20 years and never heard anyone mention this place. Looks like the lost civilizatiion.

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It is fascinating. I vaguely remember trips to the pool as a kid and kiddie boat ride documented at the website. For some reason I have judged all pools since against that once fantastic olympic pool without realizing it. Notice the very deep end and the collapsed diving tower. I also remember seeing the bomber that he said was there. (I think)

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The pool does look like it would have been fantastic. I also liked the fact that buzzards had taken up residence there. It seems somehow appropriate.

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I can't believe I've never heard of this place. Seems like it would be a really cool place to build a campground now. I wish there were more camping options in this area.

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Wow, that was really interesting. Can't believe it's just lying in ruins like that.

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That's awesome. I'd love to find that place. I went to Appalachian State in Boone and we used to go up to an old amusement park near the ski resorts that was a theme park based on The Wizard of Oz. I think that was its old name actually. I went a couple times in the 70's w/ my family. When we'd sneak up there in the early 80's most everything was still there but overgrown and really cool looking. The yellow brick road leading to it had missing bricks everywhere and lots of us at App had a couple in our rooms -- they made great bookends.

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I am that person who blogged the Springs Park site. I just noticed all the hits on Searching The South today. Thanks for the interest. Any questions you folks might have I will be glad to answer. It is an interesting spot. There have been other trips out there by the way. Thanks again. And thanks for getting me into another interesting UE site!

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That's awesome. I'd love to find that place. I went to Appalachian State in Boone and we used to go up to an old amusement park near the ski resorts that was a theme park based on The Wizard of Oz. I think that was its old name actually. I went a couple times in the 70's w/ my family. When we'd sneak up there in the early 80's most everything was still there but overgrown and really cool looking. The yellow brick road leading to it had missing bricks everywhere and lots of us at App had a couple in our rooms -- they made great bookends.

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This is absolutely fascinating and I thank you monsoon for posting this. Seeing this video, this place reminded me of the old Suttles Swim Club out on Wilkinson Blvd. They had a ferris wheel, carousel and a circular swing ride along with what seemed like the biggest pool in the world to an 8 year old. I would love to explore Springs Recreation Park one of these days. Better yet, I would love to find some old photos of the place when it was still in business.

Having researched hundreds of defunct parks all over the US over the past 25 years, (I use to write articles for an amusement park publication) this place really intrigues me. There's just something magical and kinda freaky about wandering through an area like this. You can almost hear the sounds of the people having fun. Very surreal.

Speaking of exploring old amusement park sites, would anyone be willing to explore the old Lakewood Park site with me?

This is something I have always wanted to do but have never been brave enough to explore the old park grounds alone because of the area. I feel certain that if I had a metal detector, a lot of remnants related to the park are probably still there like coins from the shooting gallery or arcade tokins, casino tokens, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if some old concrete footers were still there from the roller coaster that was built in 1910. Anyone up for that?

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Man, seeing that broke my heart.

I grew up in Fort Lawn, a small town outside of Lancaster and Rock Hill. I'm not sure when the park shut-down for good, but I know for a fact that it was still up and running in the early 80's. My little league would always have it's end-of-the-year banquet at Springmaid Park. We would cook out beside the pool and (after swimming all day) we would have our awards ceremony while sitting in those stands beside the pool. I can remember the roster of the all-star team being called out as we sat in the stands. While most of the park was either shut down or not running (a few of the smaller kiddie rides were still up and going, I remember boats that would go around in a circle that the really small kids would sit in) the pool was in magnificent shape. Metro's memory is exactly the same as mine, that pool is the gold standard that I've measured every pool against since, and they've all come up short. The water was clear, and the diving tower loomed over the pool like a gallows. I slowly worked up the courage to jump from the smaller tower and then finally got the nerve to jump from the tallest one (you had to be 12 in order to go up the ladder, if I remember correctly). Although it was only 25 feet up or so, it seemed infinitely taller. I backed out more than once before finally jumping off (not diving mind you, JUMPING).

It was a true right-of-passage type of experience that I think kids today lack. I felt changed after finally jumping off and the older kids treated me differently once I started jumping off the top one.

There were picnic tables by the river, and there was a sandy beach area that you could beach your boat on. It was easier to reach by boat, in fact, than by car, since it was on the other side of the dam. When I was a kid, the roller skating area was still there, and I swear I remember bumper cars, but I might be wrong on that. Even after the park closed down, the pool continued going for a few years. After the pool closed the beach and picnic tables were still a popular spot and I remember running around the closed attractions.

It is so, so sad to see the park like that. Even though it has been closed for many years I wasn't prepared for the sight of that mighty diving tower, so formidable in my youth lying there broken and in the empty pool. Thanks for jogging my memories, and reminding me how far away I am from those summers long ago.

By the way, I've created a link to the site on Google Maps if you're curious. There's not much to see, but you can see the pool: Springmaid Park on Google Maps

******Edit, after actually going to this guy's site and watching more of his movies and seeing his photos I remember the putt putt course. The memory of that final hole hit me like a ton of bricks when he showed the skee-ball like last hole. It was actually pretty easy to hit. The boat ride was dead on. I don't remember the ferris wheel, it could have been gone by 82. Again, thanks for the tour, but it has made me really, really sad to see the park like that. **********

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This is absolutely fascinating and I thank you monsoon for posting this. Seeing this video, this place reminded me of the old Suttles Swim Club out on Wilkinson Blvd. They had a ferris wheel, carousel and a circular swing ride along with what seemed like the biggest pool in the world to an 8 year old. I would love to explore Springs Recreation Park one of these days. Better yet, I would love to find some old photos of the place when it was still in business.

Having researched hundreds of defunct parks all over the US over the past 25 years, (I use to write articles for an amusement park publication) this place really intrigues me. There's just something magical and kinda freaky about wandering through an area like this. You can almost hear the sounds of the people having fun. Very surreal.

Speaking of exploring old amusement park sites, would anyone be willing to explore the old Lakewood Park site with me?

This is something I have always wanted to do but have never been brave enough to explore the old park grounds alone because of the area. I feel certain that if I had a metal detector, a lot of remnants related to the park are probably still there like coins from the shooting gallery or arcade tokins, casino tokens, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if some old concrete footers were still there from the roller coaster that was built in 1910. Anyone up for that?

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We've also started a Springs Park Group over on Facebook. Not trying to get anyone to start a FB account or anything but there are some pics over there of the park in its heyday.

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It seems to me there was a story posted here a few years ago about Lakewood Park. At one time the city trolley went there (maybe the only way to the place at that time) which was later replaced by the road shown in the map above. I believe this was a fairly large swimming type place that wasn't a pool but more of an artificial lake that was designed for swimming. There were attractions as mentioned above. I think I heard that it failed economically and eventually was filled in.

There was another one of these parks around the same time in Monroe where present day Lake Lee is located. I believe the original "water" park was submerged by the construction of present day Lake Lee. My memory is a bit shaky on this.

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Has anyone noticed that on the google map posted above by RockHillJames, the dam that was built to create the small lake on this part of the river has been blurred out? It's only the 2nd or 3rd time I've seen this done in the Charlotte area. I wonder what they need to hide from the space spectators?

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Comment on the Wizard of Oz park. I believe it was simply called "Oz". It used to be co-advertised with Ghost Town in the Sky which recently reopened after being closed for several years. Oz closed some time in the early 1980s and was developed into a housing development. Ski Beech, I believe, was part of the attraction as the ski lift was used to provide access to the park. In fact it was probably the main way into the park given that it had parking and the lifts take you to the top of the mountain where the park was located. You can drive into this housing development if you hunt around for the road though I would recommend only trying in the summer. The road is difficult to navigate and this is one of the coldest snowiest towns in NC. (the town of Beech Mountain is the highest elevation municipality in eastern NA) There are still remains of the old park there in the form of some statues, benches, and the yellow brick road. You can also see this development fairly well from the back sky lift at Beech when they have it open.

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Has anyone noticed that on the google map posted above by RockHillJames, the dam that was built to create the small lake on this part of the river has been blurred out? It's only the 2nd or 3rd time I've seen this done in the Charlotte area. I wonder what they need to hide from the space spectators?

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Woah. I hadn't noticed that, all the dams and spillways below are blurred out as well. Odd that. Brave New World, I suppose. I wonder how many old amusement parks there are out there, they were pretty common in the 20s - 60s as local get aways. I had no idea that Boone had a Wizard of Oz themed park. Wild!

On another note, SSeegars are you related to Tim Seegars? I tried PM'ing you, but your PM is disabled.

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It seems to me there was a story posted here a few years ago about Lakewood Park.

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Woah. I hadn't noticed that, all the dams and spillways below are blurred out as well. Odd that. Brave New World, I suppose.

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I just quickly went up to the Lake Wylie dam which was also blurred out, as well as most of the nuclear plant. Makes me think they have done this for security reasons?? I don't know what you could find out from that sat. picture that you couldn't by driving your car or boat right up to the dam wall.......Also, Ghost Town in the Sky is open again? I remember going there as a kid and riding the Red Devil. Tell me they still have the Red Devil!

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Great find monsoon and great video SSeegars. I can confirm it was open in 1985 +/- 1 year as I attended Cub Scout Day Camp there a couple of years. That pool was indeed awesome but that dive tower was absolutely terrifying. Yielding to the unrelenting peer pressure I conquered it though :thumbsup: . Equally impressive was the stadium seating suroundig it which was something akin to the Roman Coliseum to a 10 year old. Several of the pavillians were still in use then as they were where we did woodcrafts and such. The skating rink was also there. There were some open fields where we did archery and field sports. There was Reptile Identification badge so yes there were plenty of snakes and lizards there... caged of course.

As a native of the area actually had no idea it closed. Now that I think about it, I think it was generally closed to the public back then and only rented out for group functions. I do also remember Springs (and Canon Mills) undergoing some of the first big rounds of shutdowns then and several of my friends moving from the area. Sure this didn't help the park.

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It was actually The Land Of Oz. I have some pretty vivid memories of the place and pictures. Another story. I believe that the above post was right about Springs Park closing in the early 90's.

Someone asked if I was related to a Tim (?) Seegars. I can't say for sure. There are a lot of us.

I heard that Ghost Town was open again as well. I remember going there as a child to.

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It was actually The Land Of Oz. I have some pretty vivid memories of the place and pictures. Another story. I believe that the above post was right about Springs Park closing in the early 90's.

Someone asked if I was related to a Tim (?) Seegars. I can't say for sure. There are a lot of us.

I heard that Ghost Town was open again as well. I remember going there as a child to.

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Does anyone remember an old waterslide attraction off of 521? Present day, it would be right around where Carolina Pavilion Shopping center is in Pinesprawlle. I remember this stretch of South Blvd being a 2 lane rd (late 80's) as you made your way south and seeing a small dead waterslide terminating in some brush. Someone in the car with me that day said "oh yeah that used to be a small waterpark."

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