Joyland Park, est. 1949. Wichita, Kansas. noon Friday, 17 June 2011.

by admin

I started my day at Blackhawk Crossfit in the Get Fit class.  After our abs, I noticed Kim’s shirt.

Kim in her Joyland shirt.

Always interested in historic places in Wichita, I asked about her shirt and the place. Joyland was an Amusement Park built in Wichita in 1949, a  Wichita institution. Joyland was home of the Skycoaster, the oldest wooden roller coaster still standing in America. Kim’s shirt says, “Last warning, do not stand up.” This sign sat at the peak of the first hill on the ride. A sound warning in a day before we were physically barred in.

Joyland Wooden Roller Coaster, painted white.

I mostly want to just share the pictures. But, Kim said that the wood is a special wood from Florida that is very hard and does not weather. The structure is still sound, with some tweaking for function, of course. It was painted white prior the the Park’s closing as the psychology of the weathered wood wasn’t understood by riders. The thought was that the white paint refreshed its look and instilled confidence.

Closeup underneath the tracks.


Underneath view of Skycoaster cable system.

Bringin' it home with the skids.

They are in the process of raising funds for a renovation of the Park which has been closed for over 10 years and fallen into decay.

Entry to Joyland and pink amphitheatre steps.

The scale seemed small in comparison to World’s of Fun. But, upon walking the grounds, it was still Amusement Park scale and spread out over several intertwining areas on a lot sitting back from Pawnee. I’m sure it was fairly rural at that time.

Old stand with toy.

It was fascinating, a point in time that had been suddenly abandoned. No cleanup, no storage, the last night’s toys perched on the ledge.

Motor room.

This was some kind of center of electrical operations, amazingly small.


The panel says, “Rednecks were here.” But, it had been largely left alone. We noted that it would be a great shelter for the men without a mortgage (homeless). But, in Wichita they congregate in a more urban spot under the River bridges by downtown Delano. This would be pretty rural, and there are no McDonald’s around for warmth.

Games below, offices above.

This building with four or five bays had competitive games below, but administrative offices were above.

Old typewriter.

I wonder how the typewriter was removed from offices and landed below?

Shoot for the Stars.

I had to put this in because we had a common background with guns. I lived on the XIT Ranch for 28 years. Kim is a marketer and distributor of replica antique guns, Replica Armory, especially cowboy guns. They are used in re-enactments and films and purchased by collectors.  She has customers all over the world, Brazil, France, Canada. The French are big into historic Cowboy stuff. Some countries have regulations regarding shipping guns even with they are replicas. The are housed in a warehouse and Kim is the liaison between storage facility and end-user. This is her blog.

Roller skate.

There was also a place to roller skate and we found this shoe with orange bumper on the toe. It would be like Mission Roller Skating Rink off Johnson Drive and the French Market off Metcalf, all rolled into one. But,before anything in Johnson County ever existed.

Bugs Bunny Easter Egg Drawing.

This sat in an arcade over by all the kiddie rides. The easter eggs were still scattered and shattered all over the floor.


I’ll call this picture above and those below: Homage to Randy Knotts and our evening at ESPN Zone. If I’d only known the historic character of these games, I’d have suffered less from ADD this night in Chicago with our families.


This was some kind of submarine underwater game.

Ticket booth to Ferris Wheel.

Men's urinals.

The restrooms had suffered a fire but they had been very attractive. White subway tile with black tile trim. I have never seen such sustantial men’s urinals, not that I’ve seen many.

The Old Woman who lived in a shoe.

This was pretty tiny, only big enough for a small person or two.

Perfect size purple door.

Wacky Shack.

Cut off hand.

We are in Wichita, and I lived here when they caught Dennis Rader, the BTK killer. So, a hand like this in an area that would be rather spooky and sinister at night gave me a moment’s pause.

Kim and her after sale cop car.

This is Kim’s car. She said she was merging one time a bit above the speed limit to avert a wreck and was stopped. I would think this would be terrifying. The officer commented on her driving which she defended on safety. And, he said, “your car does attract quite a bit of attention.”   I can imagine they aren’t really pleased. I had actually thought someone in our crossfit group was a police officer. But I thought perhaps this officer had fallen on hard times. It’s  stripped and with a bit of hail damange.

Tall enough to ride!

Joyland sign. Skycoaster in rearview.

It was a lovely morning. So glad I asked about the shirt and we headed out to look right after our class. A new friend and an old hangout. That might become a new gathering spot. So I love seeing this Skycoaster in its 60s with some age and interest. And capturing a place in time which could go shiny or decay, but will nonetheless never be the same as it was today.

30 comments on “Joyland Park, est. 1949. Wichita, Kansas. noon Friday, 17 June 2011.

  • Nice story. I remember hearing of Joyland, but the only time I ever visited Wichita was in the aftermath of a big tornado in the late 60s. I had an uncle who lived there at the time, and we went to help clean up his house and yard.

    • I liked hearing your perilous slide stories on FB. If you ever think of more, post them here. If I can find that post thread, I may add them into this post. But, it won’t be in your words.

  • Mom,

    This joyland rollercoaster place looks really neat – it looks like a ghost town with the rides and signs still there- it reminds me of some kind of scene that a scary movie would take place in.

    Love you and i’d love to talk this week.. thinking about you and I do miss you.

    love, lace xoxo

    • It is really neat, like a Mad Max Carnival time warp. Literally, closed up shop and deserted. The popcorn grease had aged in the machines. Won’t always be seen like this since they’re trying to restore, so I loved capturing the moment in state of high ruins. There is a huge rusted out “town” (I think it’s called Skeltown) that you pass on the Montezuma cutoff on the way to Ulysses that I want to photograph. I don’t think it’s going anywhere unless someone buys that land and puts up a monster plant just in that location.

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    • This was an html site done begun in 2009. I found designers after going through two that really didn’t build sites in this way as other places were beginning to have the ‘kits’ to make mobile and responsive sites. So, the original quote was not too bad as I realized that these basic kit sites would not do what I wanted and I ultimately did add what are called ‘designated pages’ so that there were a total of 13. That is, the home and each of the menu pages are a ‘designated page.’ And even within the menu title of “Tack Shop” you can see in the pull down menu that there are (hmmmm…4 or 5? the ones that say historic preservation, etc) more. So, each page had a fee and I think maybe per page they were eventually not very much (maybe $100/page averaged) not very much for all the time intensive work, but in part it’s because the main basic ‘bill’ is for the template which is the concept page for the whole site.

      What did then happen is that in this further communication and education of client (me!) it really meant they wanted to keep me happy, but had much more time and work to create those other pages. That is, they probably really weren’t making any money and thus, as often happens, it did take quite a while to get the rest done. This is part was because in understanding about all the search words, etc. that were the SEO that I knew nothing about, I ended up re-writing the whole site. And, I’m tedious so I’m sure I drove them nuts in all the questions and pictures that I would send, plus lived in the country so the upload speed terrible and I really couldn’t send much in any normal fashion.

      Last, designer with whom I worked at Insight Design was really pushing the blog hard as where one would really continually write and update and ultimately show most current “stuff” to communicate any idea or product within the site. I didn’t understand, but went with it and of course, this is what enabled me to really have any fun, expression. It’s not a site I can manipulate anywhere except within the blog. And, it’s not an e-site. It’s really just a “shingle” for my work so a person could contact me, and I don’t even think I have updated much of that for privacy reasons. That is, since I think needed to convert this original HTML site to responsive, I had to find those who had the skills to do so.
      This is all very complex, tedious and skilled coding which we really did primarily outsource to Indian Tech support. That is, I have always (in the country) had tech support from India.

      So, somehow in the cyber world, we had to find each other. And I guess God has a plan and I found someone. It’s not that my original website designers ever really said “NO”, it’s just that they are the concept, graphic, UX group and I know had code abilities to design the HTML site at the time it was done, but it wasn’t feasible for them to do this for me and I understood this.

      The GOOD part is that now you can start with a mobile site template. And, I am only just now learning how complicated a site like this can be as I am working on site. In comparison, it seems very plain. But, I realize that if we are going to be able to afford to develop and maintain these sites to have ‘free’ airspace (and the domain is cheap part), security required of a home office with any writing or intellectual property, then it probably does need to have some ability to “sell” something. So, if you already have a product, that’s Great!

      I still (at 56) am not quite sure what I have to sell, have done too many things and just recently was told by a very wise person that robots will be doing all the writing because ‘they do it better than people.’ Sad, possibly true. But, I wanted to maintain this old site because I saw it as “archival” and I am a historian. And, I am now going to learn about mobile site execution and I’m confident that technically I am working with the best people. What I’m not sure of and where there are challenges is in working with this same group (of which there are many subgroups of experts….code, wordpress plug-ins, troubleshooting with videos…plus the SEO, etc) in conveying creative ideas and concepts halfway across the world and in aesthetic. But, they are kind, civil, affordable and above all know their stuff and try hard, are continuing to keep me on when I really don’t pay them very much in comparison to what I might pay in the US. Or at least so far in handling the “old” work, I really never found anyone. There was always someone wanting to come up with something new, but no one who wanted to deal with the continuity of what came before. It’s like ‘interior design’ in America post 1980…it takes a lot more skill, time, expertise and education to go to one’s home, draw the plan, pull color swatches, do elevations of casework, grab fabrics, photograph, etc. than it does to have a 10 minute conversation and sell you a $3,000 piece of furniture. But if one has ‘good’ stuff, why buy more new crud that doesn’t have half the quality of the old? That is, I think history, story, picture, real stuff of one’s own does matter.

      Everyone has different values and labor and skills probably don’t keep the doors open to a lot of corporate entities in America, but they do keep skills up of craftspeople, professionals, laborers. And, we will still have to buy that new piece. So, maybe if we reflect this, send less to the landfill, insist that we need to see and touch it to see if money was well spent in less but with higher quality, the US can cease the fixation of marketing over market, style over substance, experience over Expense.

      Just my thoughts….Are you guys going to make SHOES? I saw that in your site. And, of all the crafts where I really do think there is finesse and design for which there really are ‘hi’ and ‘low’ products I love, it is shoes. I hope you will share what you are working on.

      Sorry for the monologue that got off into quality and consumption in America but I am still fearful of what I was told this week….that we will all be replaced by Robots…the Arts people first!!? Whatever….we never did it for the money and we’ll find a way to eat. This is America, we’re a bunch of entitled babies, really….

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