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Kennywood (Images of America)

Author: David P. Hahner, Jr.
Genre: Nonfiction
Reviewed by Elizabeth Ross

563In his book from Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series, David P. Hahner, Jr. decidedly nails his objective of giving Pittsburghers (and Pittsburgers) a collection of fond memories to share. Kennywood is a fitting tribute to the long-beloved and world-renowned amusement park that has remained in the hearts of Pittsburghers and amusement park enthusiasts alike for generations.

The photographs show the constantly changing façade of the park, and illustrate that even with the facelifts, the changing attractions, and the changing outside world, Kennywood amusement park has stood the test of time. Hahner's family attachments to the park are seen in the multiple photographs attributed to their collections, and this long-standing family relationship, beyond his own involvement in the American Coaster Enthusiasts club, makes this author an ideal nostalgic historian for the park. This is particularly fitting because Kennywood has been a family business in the Pittsburgh area from its beginnings.

Hahner clearly states that his intention is to merely remind his readers of good times had within the park, and that goal is definitely achieved. Admittedly, many of the older photographs in the book are of times before many alive today can remember, but that history is presented in small easily digested bits that can be re- told to younger generations. This thumbnail history places a visit to Kennywood in a completely new perspective, especially as one passes the buildings that have stood from nearly the beginning, like The Old Mill, or as one walks on the pavement in Lost Kennywood gazing at the Pittsburg Plunge, realizing that there had once been a 350 feet by 180 feet pool on that very spot.

Kennywood should be read cover to cover, to get a full understanding of Hahner's presentation. That is not a drawback, as it is definitely a page-turner, in the sense that the pictures and captions tend to draw the reader forward. The small tidbits of information offered in each chapter are like favorite candies, and taking one in is not enough; there is a desire to know more after each chapter closes. For the Kennywood park enthusiast, Pittsburgher, traditional amusement park enthusiast, or child at heart, this is definitely a must-have book.

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June 13, 2004 in Nonfiction | Permalink

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