The Aeroplane

The Riverview Park Rollercoaster, The Aeroplane

The Riverview Park Rollercoaster, The Aeroplane

The Aeroplane was the old roller coaster which loomed over Riverview Park from 1920 to 1978.  That’s 58 long years.  The roller coaster craze, started at Coney Island, was sweeping the nation back then. The Aeroplane was built on the site of the Jack Rabbit coaster, which burned down in 1919, the fate of many roller coasters. They say The Aeroplane killed a few people, but none are documented except for one pinhead in 1955 who stood up at the top of the first 65 foot drop to turn around and impress his friends. He got clocked in the back of the head by a light fixture and fell to his death. They didn’t have seat restraints back then. They just hosed out the car,  put the next fare in there, and off they went.

Later, the name Aeroplane fell out of vogue and they just started calling it the Coaster. Aeroplanes were probably cutting edge in 1920 but after WWII they were about as common as toasters.

You probably thought that since the Coaster was torn down thirty years ago that you couldn’t ride it anymore.  How wrong you are!  Here, through the miracle of technology, is a virtual ride on the Coaster.  For Pete’s sake, don’t stand up at the top.  Ann Hartman Williams found this golden little nugget.  Thanks, Ann!

OK, that wasn’t enough, was it?  How about a home movie of the kiddie rides from the 1970s.  Ride the little locomotive again with Engineer Bob!

And if you’d like to take a tour through the Riverview Park of old, here it is in virtual form. Enjoy. And take it easy on the cotton candy, OK?  Save room for dinner.

Riverview Park Back In The Day

Riverview Park Back In The Day

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3 Responses to “The Aeroplane”

  1. Dee Mccoy Davis Says:

    I am amazed at technology. That was very nostalgic to do the virtual ride on the roller coaster. Brought back lots of memories. I will have to share that with my boys at school. They love it when I tell them about the “olden” days. I really appreciate all of you that put together these great posts and Steve for posting them all. Those of us that have been gone from Des Moines for a long time–in my case 36 years, appreciate the connections. Thanks for the memories!

  2. Loretta Says:

    1969 – One trip to Riverview that I remember. It was with the 8th grade class from St. Anthony’s. Numerous rides on the Rollercoaster. Lots of memories. I, too, will share this with the attorneys where I spend 8 – 9 hours a day. Just yesterday we were talking about “Cherry” “Atlantic” “Crestwood” – remember those – mine was AT-86315…….another was AT-21866. I know you remember ……

    Thanks to Ann for finding the coaster ride. Thanks to Steve for posting.

  3. stevengregg Says:

    You’re welcome, but you all can thank me best by digging through those old photos in the closet, scanning them, and sending them to me with the who, what, when, where, why of it. Hey, it’s time to do some spring cleaning and you need to go through those anyway, right? So do it.

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