Ghosts of Pleasure Island


The dry summer of 2010 lowered the water levels of the ponds at Edgewater Office Park in Wakefield, Massachusetts, revealing 50 year old artifacts from the Pleasure Island amusement park (1959-1969) which once sat on the site.

Pleasure Island opened on June 22, 1959. It was built on 80 acres of swampland just off Route 128 in Wakefield. The amusement/theme park featured dark rides, as well as a Pirate Boat Ride and the park’s signature “Moby Dick Hunt” whaleboat ride, where a giant fiberglass white whale would surface, spout water, and then sink back into the depths.

Heron flies over schooner hull
A Great Blue Heron flies over the remains of the hull that was once a schooner that sat in the pond that was home to the Pirate Boat ride and the Moby Dick Hunt ride at Pleasure Island (1959-1969) in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

Moby Dick Ramp
The ramp that was used to lower the giant fiberglass "Moby Dick" into the water at the Pleasure Island theme/amusement park (1959-1969) in Wakefield, Massachusetts. The rusted metal rail that can be seen at the lower end of the ramp was part of an elaborate underwater system of tracks that controlled the whale’s movements and made it rise out of the water, thrilling park patrons who were taken out by boat on a "Moby Dick Hunt."

Pirate Pilings
Wooden pilings that were part of the dock in “Pirate Cove” from which the Pirate Boat ride was launched are now visible.

Rhino Rail
The rusted metal rail track on the island in this lagoon was once used by the Pleasure Island amusement park to run a fake rhino out of the brush at the boats passing on their way to see the park’s signature attraction, Moby Dick.

Porpoise hardware
The rusted metal apparatus and concrete pad on this island were once part of a mechanism that caused fake porpoises to surface in the pond as boats passed by on their way to see Pleasure Island’s signature attraction, Moby Dick.

[Thanks to Bob McLaughlin, author of Images of America: Pleasure Island for the tip on the low water levels and the backgrounds on the artifacts.]

4 Responses to “Ghosts of Pleasure Island”

  1. 1 Danielle

    that’s awesome!!

  2. Wow. I’ve been to the pond a few times and seen the tracks and such, but have never seen the schooner like that. the water must have been mighty low. Like others, I have photos of the more complete rotting boat hull after the park closed and before it became an industrial park. (Of course, I was also there when it WAS an amusement park.) I’ve read many debates about whether or not Moby is still down there. Too bad the water wasn’t low enough to put that argument to rest. (Or was it?) 😉

  3. 3 Vicky

    Great photos! And the post is aptly named as I worked out here from 2006 – 2009 and this area is most definitely haunted!

  4. 4 Danny Sullivan

    Very informative. My father was one of the first due firefighters that fateful night.

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