Lincoln Park

Dartmouth, Massachusetts, USA

Closed 1987, demolished 2012

The Disappointed Tourist: Lincoln Park, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

Lincoln Park was a park, opened in 1894 by the Union Street Railway Company to connect Fall River to New Bedford. It functioned as a park until the 1920s when it started adding various attractions, including a dance hall. The “Comet” wooden roller coaster was added after Lincoln Park was purchased in 1941 by John Collins & Associates. The park was successful until a fatal accident on the 1946 roller coaster in 1986 led to safety concerns. When just four months later (despite an overhaul of the coaster), the braking system on the roller coaster failed, the park was forced to close. The remains of the rollercoaster, which until the 1990s were notable for having the abandoned car still stuck on it, were demolished in 2012 after fire and snow damage. The wood from the coaster was used to make Adirondack chairs that were sold for charity. The painting is based on an old uncredited photograph that I found on the Art in Ruins site.

My grandfather likes to tell me stories from when he was younger, but one of his few childhood stories is always about Lincoln Park. It was a park opened in 1884 to connect Fall River, MA and New Bedford, MA to connect the communities as a space for walks, picnics, and cookouts. In the early 1900s it became an amusement park as well, which is what my grandfather remembers most vividly. I wish I could’ve seen what it was like and spent time there. Abigail J.