Rare Footage In The 1970s Shows New Jersey In A Completely Different Way
Wildwood is one of New Jersey’s iconic shore towns. Many of us spent our summers here or visited in September for the Firemen’s Convention. It hasn’t changed too much in the last fifty years — it’s always been a place to have fun in the sun — but there are some noticeable differences. One is the absence of Hunt’s Pier.
The first major pier on the Wildwood Boardwalk, Hunt’s Pier dates back to the early 1900s when it was known as Ocean Pier. Bought by William Hunt in 1935, the pier was converted to an amusement park with rides including a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, and a dark ride. For those not familiar with the term, a dark ride is an indoor amusement ride on which passengers aboard guided vehicles travel through specially lit scenes that typically contain animation, sound, music, and special effects — think “It’s A Small World” in Disney World.
On Christmas Day in 1943, the pier burned down; a new, all-concrete pier was built in its place. That pier reopened in 1957 which had ten rides at the time of its grand opening. In the nearly thirty years to follow, the park would become best known for rides including the Flyer (a classic wooden coaster), Golden Nugget (a three-story mining-themed coaster/dark ride), indoor rides including Keystone Kops and Whacky Shack, and an outdoor boat ride called Jungleland.
By the 1980s, the park’s popularity was in decline. It was bought, sold and rebranded several times, at one point being known as Dinosaur Beach. By 1998, the pier closed and most rides had vanished. The pier is now owned by Morey’s Piers and is used to house maintenance equipment and the boardwalk tram cars. A grill, beach shop, and Adventure Maze are on the front end of the pier. Though now just a memory, it lives on… The George Boyer Museum (Wildwood Historical Museum) houses artifacts from Hunt’s Pier, including Keystone Kops characters and Hunt’s Pier flags.
For a blast from the past, check out the footage of Hunt’s Pier from the 1970s, featured below: