Whoopee Coaster
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Whoopee Coaster

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The Whoopee Coaster may be one of history’s most unusual amusement rides, though it wasn’t a ride in the traditional sense. Adding to the intrigue, the builder and owner of the Whoopee Coaster remains unknown. Sometime in the 1920s, this enterprising individual decided that money could be made by providing automobile owners a chance for a “thrill ride” using their own vehicles.

On the southwest corner of Pershing and Harlem Avenues, in the Chicago suburb of Lyons and right on Route 66, a large field that had long been home to a Gypsy Camp became the site of this innovative roadside attraction. The Whoopee Coaster consisted of a series of low undulating humps constructed completely of wooden planks over which motorists could drive their car for a small admission fee. Success was immediate, and the Whoopee Coaster remained popular until the late 1930s.

Why it ceased to operate is not known. However, it was likely due to the trend toward larger cars, the Depression, or rights to the land. Soon after, the property became the home of FairyLand Park, a full-scale amusement park that would remain in operation for over thirty years. The site today is a colony of box stores and parking lots.