Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Lost In The Woods

Here is an interesting article I found in a sixty-eight year old newspaper about a young child who had become lost in the “woods” in the derelict remains of old Hillside Pleasure Park. The amusement park, one of the largest to have ever been built in New Jersey, had closed in 1927. By 1939 most traces of it were raised leaving only untended undergrowth on the site; the “woods”. In this article the reporter appears to be magnifying a minor incident into a great adventure, never-the-less, what we see is that feelings of nostalgia and fond memories of the old park were not far below the surface of the public’s collective memory.

Dateline - Thursday, September 21, 1939


Once Was The Time Hillside Park Caused Chills

It has been years since Riviera Park held any terror for most folks who are willing to say they remember that far back to the days when it was old Hillside Park.
In those halcyon days of yore the Indians and cowboys and girls engaged in some hectic battles while a stage coach robbery helped add the thrills that made the youngsters’ hair stand on end. There was a nickelodeon “way out west in Belleville” and canoes on the “lake,” with wild animals in cages up in the woods. There the balloon tugged at it’s ropes eager to be aloft with its daredevil parachute jumpers, as a climax to the show.
And, shucks, come to think of it, boys were scared as youngsters in “them thar hills” as they shinnied over the fences into the woods.
All this came back this morning as a reporter glanced over the police blotter to see how the bluecoats had been earning their pay during the week.
Here is what appeared: “Mrs. O’Brian, 143 Linden Avenue, reported her three-year-old daughter, Patricia, lost in the woods in Riviera Park. She was found in Bremond Street.”
Golly, they were hair raising days when the lads jumped over the fence, and they, too, got lost in the woods --- real woods, then.