June 19, 1909: Preston County Amusement Park Opens

Jun 19, 2018

Oak Park, an amusement park about a mile west of Masontown in Preston County, opened June 19, 1909.

Oak Park closed its gates in 1930.
Credit WV & Regional History Center / WVU

The park was an easy train ride from Morgantown—as well as nearby Maryland and Pennsylvania—which helped fill up the park on weekends and holidays. On one day in that summer of 1909, 14 trains brought more than 4,000 people to Oak Park.

The park’s nearly 100 wooded acres offered visitors a lot of recreation activities, food, and overnight lodging. The park attractions included a 65-foot wooden slide, two roller coasters, walking paths, picnic areas, a carousel, a Ferris wheel, a swimming hole, paddle boats, and carnival-style games.

Among the most popular events were baseball games played between teams formed in surrounding towns and by mine companies.

The park began to decline in the 1920s due to the growing popularity of automobiles, the steady decline of the rail and coal industries, and the beginning of the Great Depression. Oak Park closed its gates in 1930. Little evidence remains of the once-popular amusement park although concrete pilings from the buildings and the roller coaster may still be found.