Thank you very much for the diligent work on your website!
I was born in Louisville in 1959 and have lived here my entire life. Without a doubt, my favorite childhood memories are of Fontaine Ferry Park, although I was only 10 when it closed. Afterwards, I went to Ghost Town on the River and River Glen a few times, but it just wasn't the same. Mom and Dad used to take us about four or five times a season. On "Nickel Days" they would fill the back of their pickup with local kids and drive the 25 miles to Northwestern Parkway and let us run free from morning to night and then stop at White Castle on the way back. Parents nowadays have to spend 20 times the money for their kids to have memories like that! We used to have a lot of out-of-town relatives and friends stay over, and the one place they all wanted to go was Fontaine Ferry. My early memories of the park are like little film clips, which I now try to assemble into a movie. They are however, very vivid.
The two laughing clowns who would welcome you to Hilarity Hall are forever etched into my mind. All my friends and I were terrified by them when we were tots, but we just couldn't stop staring at them. Inside I remember the Sugar Bowl, the steep Devil Slide and the nearly vertical Angel Slide. Also, there were mazes of mirrors and of screen doors in which you could easily get lost for quite a while. There were spinning tubes to walk through and shifting floors to deal with and it was always a blast.
Of course, the pride of the park was the Comet. I used to always wait for the rear seat because everyone said it would leave the track a little on the dips. My next favorite ride was the Jungle Safari thing with the little cannibal on the roof, stirring his pot. You would ride through near total darkness on a track in a little car, turning suddenly to face scary images of attacking animals and natives. Quite a rush for a child, let me tell you. The Helicopter ride was great for a kid because it gave such a feeling of control. Push the bar forward and go down, pull it back and go up. The little hand-cars that you would crank around a track were pretty fun, as was the Turnpike, a track for gasoline-powered mini racecars. The other must-rides included the big silver rocket ships that spun around and got higher with speed, the Tilt-a-Whirl, Scrambler and the little steam train that afforded you a good view of most of the park.
Remember the "Grab Bags"? They were full of great surprises, and you would always get one just as you were leaving, to keep the magic going just a while longer. Cool stuff like squirting flowers, Chinese finger cuffs and jumping plastic spiders.
Thanks again for that walk down memory lane. I hope my kid's memories of Disney World, King's Island and Kentucky Kingdom give him the same kind of rewards when they get to be my age. Please feel free to post any of my ramblings you wish. Perhaps I'll get an email from a forgotten old pal I used to ride the comet with. -- John Abbott
I want to thank you for the information and jogging a few more memories. We lived in Louisville when I was very small back in the 60's. I do not recall going to the park at that time but we must have. Then we moved to New Albany I remember asking if we could go to Fountain Fairy. For years I called it Fountain Fairy. I did not find out till I was in my 30's that it was actually Fontaine Ferry Park. No wonder I could never find any info on it. I was told that it had been closed due to riots. That some people had gone in and broke the rides. I could not understand why anybody would do that and questioned that answer. Needless to say we never went back. We moved away shortly after. It was not until I found your page and read the history that I knew for certain that is what happened. The few memories I have of the park are just a glimpse. I recall looking at the roller coaster and seeing the lights running along the frame. I can even hear the clatter as the cars climbed to the top. It seems to me it had a lit sign right at the peak of the first hill, then the roar of the cars and the screams of the riders. I wanted to go on that coaster but I was to little. From the list of coasters you have that must have been the "Comet". I remember the carousel it seemed huge with all the lights and the music. It seems to me it had horses and sleds. I think I rode in both. Giant rocket ships come to mind but I am not real clear on that. Do you happen to know about them? Also do you know if the park had a Caterpillar? It was a small coaster that went up and down on a circular track and a canopy would come up and cover the cars making it look like a big caterpillar. Thanks again and I will come back from time to time to see if any new info has been posted.
What a pleasure it was to stroll down memory lane visiting your site. I was born in Louisville in 1956 and lived there until 1975. As a small child I can remember my grandmother taking me to the park. I remember "bottle cap" days, where admission was some number of soda caps and a nickel (I think). I remember a ride that was a big barrel and you leaned up against the wall and then when it was spinning fast the bottom lowered. Also, if I remember correctly there was a large wooden round room that had walkways around so you could watch trick motorcycle riders (much like skateboarders today). My favorite was Hillarity Hall. It was soooooo scary to get trapped in the hall of mirrors maze and try to find your way out. Well thanks again, I really enjoyed the history section, it was very informative.
Thank you for this site! I felt like I was back home, again. I grew up in Louisville and did go to "Ghost Town" but we called it Fontain Ferry, since we grew up hearing it called by that name. My parents told us stories about the park and how they would go roller skating there. And because of this park I love the big old roller coaster. As a matter of fact I had thought of it when I was there back in Feb. and wanted to go by that way but I never made it. But, maybe next time. Anyway, again thanks for the memories!
Hi Jen. Just wanted to drop you a quick line to say, LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! Your Fontaine Ferry Page Rocks!!! I'm not from Louisville, but most of the rest of my family is. I spent many summers down in Louisville while growing up and made it to Fontaine Ferry several times. Actually it was Ghost Town on the River by then but I still had a blast.
I've often tried to look up facts about the park on the internet, but can never seem to find much. I even went to the Louisville library (downtown branch) a few years ago, but didn't find much there either - just some articles about the Dady incident and the riots. I hope you find more to add to your page. More pictures and history would be awesome!
What's on the Fontaine Ferry site now? Where is/was it exactly? I might have to go drive by there next time I'm in town. I was just in Louisville last weekend for Derby, but didn't really have time to do much else. Derby is an amusement of its own - as I'm sure you know!
Anyhow, just wanted to tell you that I love the page and can't wait to see more!