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Building a Great Adventure: Initial Park Construction Spotlight


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#1 29yrswithaGApass

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:22 PM

Click here to see the whole

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Spotlight!



Comments and discussions are welcomed!

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#2 gafreak

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:20 PM

nice update!
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#3 29yrswithaGApass

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:39 PM

^ Actually, with more than three times the photos, a completely new writeup, new menus and graphics, and better quality images, this is more like a brand new Spotlight!

It was five years ago that we first did these pages and we have learned and gathered a lot more information since 2007. It was time for a refurbishment!

#4 GAcoaster

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 10:19 PM

In writing this up again and reviewing the photos it really struck me again just how HUGE the effort to build the park was. The fact that they broke ground in January 1974 and opened in July is amazing. Looking at the photos it seems like the ground clearing and laying of electric and phone cables happened in January/February and real construction of the structures took place from March through June, so really just FOUR MONTHS to build some massive buildings like Best of the West, The Fort, and the Aqua Spectacle.

I have to wonder how much got scaled back because of the tight deadline. If the crews had just a few more months would they have built the 4th major restaurant, the 5th Dream Street tent and finished the roof of the Yum Yum Palace or were they victims of limited budget more than time?

#5 FlumeOp1974

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:55 AM

Fantastic update. And a true hommage to Warner LeRoy for the dream. To Hardwicke for the funds to see it thru. To engineers who designed and drew the blueprints. The construction works who turly made it a labor of love. Taking one mans simple sketches, and bring them to life. To the detail artists for the beauty of the art in the finihes. The costume designer, the great area and aqua spectial show directors, The clowns, the characters of dream street. To the cast. All who helped bring it to life and make it the most "Amazing Dream Come True". We thank you. And you always will contiue to "Have your own Great Adventure".

#6 29yrswithaGApass

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:58 AM

^ I love your post! It says it all!

If anyone was or knows any of the original construction crew it would be great to hear some comments on how the work progressed during those earliest months.

#7 FlumeOp1974

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 02:19 PM

^ I love your post! It says it all!

If anyone was or knows any of the original construction crew it would be great to hear some comments on how the work progressed during those earliest months.

Thank you!

#8 gafreak

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:26 PM

Four months of true building construction is insane, im sure greatful to every single person who had any thing to do with that!
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#9 29yrswithaGApass

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:43 PM

I was reading an old newspaper article which was published shortly after the issues with the Switliks started. Supposedly one of the restrictions on building the theme park was that no construction could approach the lake except for the Log Flume. Switlik's lawyers made it a point to complain about the Aqua Spectale dolphin stadium being built too close to the edge of the water. The argument by the Hardwick team was that it was placed there because that plot of land did not have any mature trees on it and moving it further inwards would have required the removal of many older ones.

#10 gafreak

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 06:35 PM

i wonder if any of switlik family has ever visited the park over all the years...
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#11 29yrswithaGApass

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 08:23 PM

When I was formatting the photos for this Spotlight I found this picture so ironic! It is from the construction of the dolphin stadium and it has one of those plastic can holders from a six-pack which are notorious for getting wrapped around dolphins' noses in the wild.

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#12 29yrswithaGApass

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 10:10 PM

As we know, plans for Great Adventure were severely cut back when construction costs pushed the limits of the park's budget. I recently read in an article that said while certain in-park features were scaled back or eliminated, hardly any funding was given to backstage facilities. Only one building was built for offices and that was pretty much just an empty shell. It wasn't until 1975 that $300,000 was spent to make it "functionable".

According to the park's general manager Robert Freeman in 1975, "where the park really suffers is behind the fences. We desperately need office and planning space. Great Adventure ran out of money before this was provided. New offices, warehouses, and maintenance facilities are high on my priority list."

The original admin building:
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Employee meeting inside the admin building in 1974:
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The main warehouses at the park today didn't open until 1979 and the current administrative building was added in 1983.

#13 29yrswithaGApass

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 09:09 PM

I thought I would share this little series of photos because they date back to May 1974.  I don't know who the driver is but she's on the NJ Turnpike on her way to or home from Great Adventure.  She must have been someone important as her GA car permit is number #24 which seems kind of early in the distribution sequence.

 

Check out how big steering wheels were back then!

 

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#14 29yrswithaGApass

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 07:59 PM

Taken in May 1974, construction continued across the park including installation of the cables on the Sky Ride and putting in place the final pieces of the Traffic Jam bumper cars. Note the parts to the Matterhorn ride which awaited assembly in its original location between the bumper cars and the Super Roundup.

 

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