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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
West Mifflin in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Kennywood's Thunderbolt

ACE Roller Coaster Landmark

 
 
Kennywood's Thunderbolt Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 21, 2014
1. Kennywood's Thunderbolt Marker
Inscription. American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) recognizes Kennywood's Thunderbolt as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, a designation reserved for rides of historic significance.

Originally built as the Pippin in 1924 by renowned coaster designer John A. Miller (1872-1941) and constructed by Kennywood's Charles J. Mach, it was the park's second under-friction coaster designed by Miller and his fifth overall for Kennywood. The Pippin was famous for a large double-dip into a natural ravine as well as saving its largest drop of 94 feet for last.

In 1967, Kennywood Entertainment president Carl E. Henninger (1906-1985) and park manager Carl O. Hughes (1921-2012) took a considerable gamble when they decided to tear down a portion of The Pippin to enlarge it and create a different roller coaster experience. The ride's loading platform, upper turn and double dip were removed. Kennywood's head of maintenance, Andrew Vettel (1914-1988), designed and supervised construction of the trilling new layout. The lift hill was lengthened to a new height of 70 feet, while the overall track length was extended to 2,887 feet that included a series of tightly banked turns and drops along the midway. A new loading station built within the redesigned structure was constructed to allow for a large 50-foot drop to occur as soon as the train left the platform. The

Kennywood's Thunderbolt Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 21, 2014
2. Kennywood's Thunderbolt Marker
At left, in the underpass to the loading area.
ride's unique midcourse lift hill and its thrilling final drop were retained along with three National Amusement Device (NAD) Century Flyer trains that had been acquired for The Pippin in 1958. The ride was then renamed Thunderbolt via a naming contest, with the opening on April 14, 1968.

ACE commends Kennywood for continuing to operate and preserve Thunderbolt, a unique and historic wooden roller coaster.
 
Erected 2014 by American Coaster Enthusiasts.
 
Location. 40° 23.317′ N, 79° 51.88′ W. Marker is in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, in Allegheny County. Marker can be reached from Kennywood Boulevard. Click for map. Marker is located on the grounds of Kennywood, an amusement park operating seasonally since 1898. Admission fee required. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4800 Kennywood Boulevard, West Mifflin PA 15122, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Thunderbolt (here, next to this marker); The Turtle (within shouting distance of this marker); Miniature Railroad (within shouting distance of this marker); The Pagoda (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Noah's Ark (about

Kennywood's Thunderbolt image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 21, 2014
3. Kennywood's Thunderbolt
300 feet away); Laffin' Sal (about 300 feet away); Auto Race (about 300 feet away); Andrew Stephen McSwigan (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in West Mifflin.
 
More about this marker. Marker is affixed to a wall in the wide double underpass to the loading area of the ride.
 
Also see . . .
1. Kennywood. (Submitted on August 29, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
2. Kennywood - Wikipedia. (Submitted on August 29, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
3. John Miller (entrepreneur) - Wikipedia. (Submitted on August 29, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
 
Categories. Entertainment
 
Kennywood's Thunderbolt image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 21, 2014
4. Kennywood's Thunderbolt
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 177 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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