MAPLE SPRINGS, NY – As part of its 125th Anniversary celebration, representatives from the National Amusement Park Historical Association (NAPHA) visited Midway State Park on Saturday to recognize the park’s historic significance in western New York.
“We are honored to host this prestigious group which sees such value in Midway State Park,” said New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. “The historical significance of what we offer at Midway is bolstered by this honor from the National Amusement Park Historical Association.”
Established in 1898 as a picnic ground near Chautauqua Lake, 2023 marks Midway’s quasquicentennial anniversary as a spot where the public has gathered for 125 years. At the time, Midway was a trolley park – created by streetcar companies to increase business – and gave riders a weekend destination.
As part of its annual tour, NAPHA is recognizing Midway State Park as one of only 12 Trolley Parks that are still in operation today. It is one of only 19 amusement parks in the nation that has operated for 125 years or more. In honor of the milestone, NAPHA donated $2,500 to sponsor a ride car on the "Twister".
In 2018, Midway State Park was a recipient of NAPHA’s Heritage Fund Grant for the 1948 Eli Big Wheel Ferris Wheel & 1960 Allan Herschell Twister project. Midway is one of the oldest continually operating amusement parks in the nation.
“We have some of the oldest of the oldest rides and attractions in the country,” said Midway Park Manager Marla Connelly. “We are honored to have NAPHA include us as part of their ‘ParkHop23’ tour and see exactly what makes Midway so special.”
“We are thrilled to be able to share this historic occasion with Midway State Park,” said Jim Futrell, NAPHA’s Historian. “Since its founding in 1898, Midway State Park has demonstrated its ability to remain relevant in an evolving world. It is so great to again recognize Midway State Park’s unique place in the amusement park industry and its remarkable ability to evolve while respecting its history.”
NAPHA, National Amusement Park Historical Association (https://www.napha.org/), is the world’s only educational and enthusiast organization dedicated to all aspects of the amusement park and is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. Founded in 1978, it is an international organization dedicated to the preservation, documentation and enjoyment of the amusement and theme park industry – past, present and future.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by more than 78 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit www.parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer.