Did You Know Poughkeepsie Once Had an Amusement Park?
The amusement park was set on the banks of the Hudson River almost 100 years ago.
I've lived in the Hudson Valley for over 25 years and when I come across something I had no idea about, I have to share it. Like most, I spend a few hours a day scrolling through social media and when I stumbled across the Facebook page of Hudson Valley Revisited and saw a post about an old amusement park in Poughkeepsie, I was like, "Wait....WHAT!!"
There used to be an amusement park in Poughkeepsie???? After searching around, I found out the short answer is yes, there was one in Poughkeepsie. The long answer is the story behind it.
According to HV Mag, it was called "The Woodcliff Pleasure Park" and it was set on what is now the northernmost portion of the Marist College campus. The park was spread across 27 acres, and was open for business from 1927-1941.
The "pleasure park" had everything an amusement park today would have including, bumper cars, pony rides, carousels, a tunnel of love, Ferris wheels, arcades, a giant airplane swing, midway games, shoot-the-chutes, shooting galleries, whips, and lake boat rides, caterpillar ride, roller-skating rink, and a Tom Thumb golf course.
The two main attractions at the Woodcliff back then were, one of the largest swimming pools in the country. The pool was 50 by 200 and was able to hold some 3,000 people at a time. It also used Hudson River water for swimmers to swim in. (Most likely much much cleaner way back then.)
The other was a super roller coaster called, the "Blue Streak", which stood at a record setting height for a coaster, between 120 and 130 feet tall. The coaster had a top speed of 65.2 miles per hour and it took riders over an orchard and had turns that took riders close to a cliffs edge near the Hudson River.
The park was open in Poughkeepsie until August 10, 1941, when a reported riot broke out between some 3,000 people, who allegedly smashed windows and mirrors at the park after some were refused beer. The situation escalated to the point where a child and a police officer were injured in the riot according to HV Mag.