Midway State Park Recognized For 125 Years Of Service

Area officials, Midway State Park officials and National Amusement Park Historical Association members are pictured during a recent check presentation honoring the park for 125 consecutive years of operation. Photo by Justin Vanstrom

BEMUS POINT — Midway State Park is a generational gift that has been passed down from parents to children of the Chautauqua County region for 125 years.

Midway has thrived in eras filled with struggles. Because of the park’s endurance, it has been recognized by the National Amusement Park Historical Association as a “true industry survivor.”

Recently, NAPHA officials awarded Midway a commemorative plaque along with a surprise $2,500 grant to sponsor the addition of a new Twister ride. The Chautauqua County Executive’s Office also presented an official certificate for 125 years of operation.

Many figures of Chautauqua County and NAPHA sung their praises to the park at the celebration. Jim Futrell, director and historian of NAPHA, appraised the park, saying it had a “unique place in the amusement park industry, and it’s remarkable ability to evolve while respecting its history.”

NAPHA annually celebrates the amusement park industry through a celebratory tour named the Park Hop. Midway was on the agenda for the Park Hop due to its historic milestone.

“It is great to come by and see the park is thriving,” said Greg VanGompel, NAPHA legal counsel.

Midway was a trolly park founded in 1898, by the Jamestown and Lake Erie railway. In 1951, ownership of the park transferred to the Walsh family. The Walsh Family implemented numerous rides from the Allan Herschell company, and for this reason Midway is considered a “throwback to an earlier era with its collection of vintage rides,” according to Futrell. The park was sold to the state of New York in 2007, and the park has been operating ever since.

As Futrell said, the park is a “family favorite, where families share memories across generations.”


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