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Knoebels Amusement Resort

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Early 20th century, with many additions. PA 487, 2 miles north of Elysburg

Knoebels Amusement Resort had its origins in a family farm, which by the early twentieth century had become a popular recreation site for its lake and picturesque streamside. From the earliest days the site had cottages that were available for rent; while most were inexpensive, they were imaginative in design. By 1925, automobile travel had become sufficiently common that the farm was converted entirely to recreation. An enormous reinforced concrete swimming pool (1926) was the first attraction, which was almost immediately joined by the requisite carousel, a steam-powered affair by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company—since replaced by a “four-abreast” carousel that before the 1940s operated at Riverside Park in Rahway, New Jersey. Today, the centerpiece is the great wooden roller coaster, the “Phoenix.” Built in 1947 as “the Rocket” for Playland Park in San Antonio, Texas, it was designed by Herb Schmeck of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. With a vertical drop of seventy-two feet, it was one of the largest in the nation. When Playland closed in 1980, the coaster was dismantled and removed to Knoebels in 1984, the first such move in the nation.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Knoebels Amusement Resort", [Elysburg, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 396-396.

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