The Giant Dipper Roller Coaster. Belmont Park, Mission Beach, CA.
Riding this coaster for the first time in late 1976, I was unaware that it would be closed within weeks due to structural and safety concerns, though the park and coaster were clearly well worn.
The ride first opened on July 4, 1925 and survived many tough times until the park fell into disrepair and both were closed. I took this photo/slide –and a few others I’ll be adding – in Winter 1981 when the future of Belmont Park and its roller coaster was uncertain due to fires and neglect.
Once a demolition date for the coaster was set in the late 1980s, a group of concerned citizens succeeded, amazingly, in drawing attention to the ride’s condition and interesting developers in its restoration and in 1990, the Giant Dipper reopened. The Belmont Park rollercoaster is one of only two seaside coasters remaining at theme parks in California; the other ride – also called the Giant Dipper – is located at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk park just south of San Francisco. The Belmont Park Giant Dipper is now a designated National Historic Landmark.