Tag Archives: Kennywood

Kennywood to bid farewell to Log Jammer after 42 years











Like an unpleasant head-banging on the old Steel Phantom, Pittsburghers received a jolt Thursday when Kennywood Park announced it would remove the popular Log Jammer water ride.

After 42 years, the Log Jammer will glide down its massive 53-foot chute one final time on Sept. 17.

What becomes of the space is anybody’s guess. (A quick internet search offers some rumors.)

“While no final decisions have been made regarding what will replace the Log Jammer, Kennywood is committed to enhancing our guests’ experiences while preserving our signature balance of modern thrills and traditional family favorites,” Kennywood General Manager Jerome Gibas said in a statement.

The park’s PR guy Nick Paradise said, “…in order to truly move towards the future, you have to leave some things behind.”

Log Jammer has long been one of those first rides children did in a transition phase from Kiddieland to bigger rides throughout the park. It’s exciting and pleasant for any age.

So it’s no surprise Pittsburghers didn’t take too kindly to news of its demise.

Perhaps Pittsburghers also are attached to Log Jammer because it seemed like one of those iconic attractions — like the Jack Rabbit and Thunderbolt — that would remain with the park for generations to come even though it held no records, made no “best of” lists and wasn’t nearly as unique as Thunderbolt.

But, oh, those Kennywood memories.

It’s one of the few rides I remember sharing with my grandmother when I was young. You’d get just enough wet to cool you off, but not soaked to your underwear wet like the Raging Rapids, so it was perfect for grandmas and grandkids!

Of the park’s three water rides (Raging Rapids and Pittsburg Plunge are the other two), Log Jammer was the Goldilocks ride: it wasn’t too hot; it wasn’t too cold; it was just right.

Log Jammer was Kennywood’s first ride to cost $1 million. It opened May 22, 1975. The 1,650-foot course meanders mostly through the trees in a back corner of the West Mifflin park’s property and features two drops — a 27-foot drop in the middle of the ride and a 53-drop to end the ride before turning into the station. It was designed by Arrow Dynamics — the now-defunct company that also constructed the Steel Phantom.

Hearing the news that Log Jammer would be gone was pretty stunning. Knowing my sometimes ridiculously obnoxious love of Kennywood, several friends checked in to get my reaction.

It’s too bad the park waited until just before the final two summer operating days (Sept. 16 and 17) to make the announcement. A proper farewell to a much beloved ride would have been a wonderful end to such a memorable part of the park.

Also, if you’re wondering, I won’t be that yinzer.



I don’t mind the rain

I realized something today that I think I’ve probably always known: I like rain.

No, I don’t like flooding or monsoon-type conditions. But a nice, cloudy day with hit or miss showers and some thunder and lightning really are nice.

There’s something about hearing the rain pelt off a roof or windowsill that allows me to be at peace and still accomplish the day’s tasks. That pitt-pitt-pitt noise of the drips coming from an overhang help me to imagine that I’m sitting on a wraparound porch on a wooden lounge chair (sometimes a swinging chair) with a nice, soft cushion as a light breeze dances through.

Off in the distance, I can see a large body of water (at times, it is Lake Erie, and other times, it is an ocean) with constant waves marching to the shore.

I’ve always wanted a patio with a protective cover. My family has a nice deck on the side of our house that is fantastic for the summer sun. But when it rains, we scatter indoors as a few of our neighbors remain outside watching the rain fall.

At an apartment I once lived in, there was a front porch area where I’d often sit and take in the views the rain offered.

Lightning and thunder add to the views, too. And, while I know it is dangerous to be outside in a storm, I still can escape an opportunity to sit outside in a thunderstorm.

Of course, the muddy yard is a less than desirable after effect of a rain fall, but that’s to be expected, I suppose. Puddles always are fun unless you’re standing at a street corner as a car whizzes by. That happened once to me — I was waiting to cross when a car’s tire hit a puddle. From the waist down, it looked as though I couldn’t wait to use the restroom.

Probably, the only time rain disgusts me is during a day at Kennywood Park. There’s nothing more upsetting than to be in line for the Thunderbolt or Jack Rabbit and hear the ride attendants talk about an impending storm.

I’ve waited out the rain a handful of times at Kennywood. Those were the times you filed into the Penny Arcade or the cafeteria. Of course, so did everybody else.

No matter how long the rain lasts, I know it won’t be around forever. It’s just part of the constantly changing weather. Besides, come August, we’ll be longing for a good, steady rainfall to help the plant life grow.

If for nothing else, I finally was able to use a Christmas gift my friend Jim Lokay gave me — an umbrella with a fun map of Pittsburgh on the underside. Kept looking up when I should have watched where I was going!

I’ll need a few more rain falls to look at what other landmarks the map offers.