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America's oldest, continually operation amusement park
Reprinted by Bryan Aalberg
 

Tucked away in Southeast Portland near the Sellwood Bridge is Oaks Amusement Park, one of the oldest continuously operated amusement parks in the United States. A modest operation, the park currently includes about two dozen rides that operate seasonally, a skating rink that is open year-'round, and picnic grounds. The Oaks has been a part of the lives of many Portlanders and other Oregonians for nearly a hundred years, and many people hold fond memories of it. In 1984, for example, Frederick Bracher remembered his experiences at The Oaks during the 1920s:

The charm of The Oaks, unmistakable to anyone who visited the park, is not easy to explain. It owed something to the natural setting, of course; and the Chutes, the Barrel of Fun, and the Punch and Judy shows added a touch of the strange and wonderful to a familiar background — the long summer twilights of Oregon, the cool sea breeze rustling the leaves overhead, the lingering glow in the western sky, the roiling eddies in the swift dark water of the Willamette below. A luxurious weariness helped to make the day, seen now in retrospect, seem celebratory and solemn.... As we looked back on it during the rainy season, The Oaks seemed to exist in a timeless eternal summer, punctuated by brief showers that sent people good-naturedly scurrying for shelter. Even the autumn decline and closing carried a promise of renewal.... Just before Decoration Day, the special Oaks Express trains would begin to leave the Interurban Station at Second and Alder streets. The park gates would open, the mechanical piano of the Merry-go-round would begin to play the Skaters' Waltz, and The Oaks would flourish once more, improved by repairs and fresh paint, new rides as well as old favorites.

 

 

A bit of the history of the Oaks Park Carousel art.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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