Sunday, November 5, 2006

Zippin Pippin Was a Rare Thing

Posted By on Sun, Nov 5, 2006 at 4:00 AM

When Libertyland auctioned off the historic Zippin Pippin roller coaster for a mere $2,500, there’s a good chance many Memphians didn’t know — or didn’t care — just what a rare attraction the city had.

According to the Roller Coaster Database website, there are just 115 wooden roller-coasters left in the United States. You’ll have a pretty far drive if you want to enjoy any of them.

Tennessee now has just one surviving wooden roller coaster, the “Thunderhead” at Dollywood. Arkansas also has just one wooden roller coaster, the “Arkansas Twister” at Magic Springs amusement park outside Hot Springs.

Despite it's zippy name, our own coaster really didn’t have that much zip. It reached a top speed of just 40 mph, compared to the 100-plus miles per hours riders attain on some of the more modern steel contraptions. But it was sure fun while it lasted, wasn’t it?

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