Install Date: 1906
What is that imposing old tower in Rocky Point State Park? Was it a radio tower…a tension wire tower?
The tower is a historic ride tower dating to a 1906 installation when it was the Circle Swing. It was installed by Harry G. Traver who had invented it a few years earlier after watching seagulls circling a ship's mast during a trip he made to England. His ride concept, the Circle Swing, consisted of "cable-suspended cars revolving around a central pole." In 1903 he opened the doors to the Traver Circle Swing Co. on Broadway in New York City. From a tentative start, Traver's income skyrocketed to $10,000 a year as he developed more ride designs and redesigned existing rides. Traver’s Seaplane Deluxe, installed at Rocky Point in the 1920s, used the basic concept of the Circle Swing ride but the passengers travelled in model seaplanes. For this installation at Rocky Point Park, Traver removed the Swing’s wooden gondolas and replaced them with small scale seaplanes. Given the new liftoff ratio, Traver installed a wooden loading platform a quarter length up the tower. The Seaplane Deluxe can be seen in the photo behind the Wildcat coaster.
The Seaplane Deluxe received some damage by the 1938 hurricane which leveled the park. When the park reopened in 1948, the tower was utilized by the Rocket Ride which opened a few months into that season. The Rocket ride retrofit was manufactured by R.E. Chambers Engineering – the company that had purchased the Traver firm. For the Rocky Point installation, the tower was moved towards the Palladium and new arms were installed to hold the cable-suspended multi-passenger rockets, and a new wooden loading platform was constructed.
The Rocket Ride ran until the mid-1960s – replaced by the Scrambler. The ride was dismantled and the tower moved out of site behind the Arcade. It sits on that same location today.
If you’re wondering how the tower has stood tall these years, it was built of USA steel. Carnegie steel to be exact! -George LaCross