Hollywood superstar Judy Garland visited Paragon Park in 1967 and rode many of the rides (including the Whip and the Giant Coaster) with her 12-year-old son, Joey Luft. She also surprised park employees with an impromptu performance on stage at the Blue Bunny nightclub that evening. Garland was in town to perform in a concert on Boston Common. She also took a ride — some say many rides — on the Giant Coaster. Hull-Nantasket Times publisher Herb Gordon documented the trip with photos that were published in his paper and in The Boston Globe. He also quoted her as saying “That’s the best fun I’ve had since I was a kid,” to which her son added, “Me, too!”
The Paragon Park Administration Building was the only structure from 1905 still standing when the park closed in 1984. It was located in the rear corner of Paragon and housed the park management offices. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to get the building moved off the site. The newspaper clipping is from July 16, 1985, days after the bulldozer reduced the structure to a pile of rubble.
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The Summer of 1985 seemed like the longest ever, as day by day more and more of Paragon disappeared. This is one of the smaller “camel humps” of the Giant Coaster being disassembled so that it could be reborn as The Wild One in Maryland. In its 96 years, 1985 was the only season of operation the roller coaster has missed.
This classic view of Paragon’s original entrance reveals a few bits of trivia, including an electric trolley running down the middle of Nantasket Avenue (the Hull Street Railway, separate from the electric railroad on the bay side). The buildings on either side of the entrance are pre-Paragon amusements that were incorporated into the park. At left is the Steeplechase, an indoor funhouse franchised from Coney Island’s original, and at right are the Great Coal Mine and the Old Mill. These earlier attractions were built in 1903, two years before Paragon.
Weren’t we always this excited to get into Paragon?
This will definitely be in the book; anyone recognize themselves?
We know Fats Domino, The Shirelles and Judy Garland performed there (Judy was just visiting, but put on a show anyway!).
Who do you remember seeing on stage at Paragon?
We’re excited to be compiling the first comprehensive history of Paragon Park at Nantasket Beach. This site will give you information about the project, and how you can contribute your memories and your photos. Watch this space for additional information about the publication date and ordering information. Thanks for your interest!
Just a few of the many images of Paragon Park in our collection… putting them all up here might crash the site!
Do you have photos to contribute to the book? Click here to find out how.