Where Bowcraft’s rides go when park shuts down
Another little piece of my childhood died last month. After much warning, Bowcraft Amusement Park on 22 in Scotch Plains closed for good last month. Add this small but wonderful place to the dustbin of Jersey history that includes the Terry Lou Zoo, the Edison Tower Playland, Spaceport at the Woodbridge Center Mall, the Amboy Drive-In movies and more.
They had a little something for everyone. Kiddie rides like the Frog Hopper and the Merry Go Round. Family rides like the Drop Zone and the Dragon Coaster. It became well known for its rides but didn't start with them. It was opened in 1946, yes way before my time, by a guy named Ted Miller who was an archery and skiing enthusiast. It started with just a small archery and ski supply store (thus the name BOWcraft), and had a tiny ski slope on-site. He called it Bowcraft Park. By the 1980's the rides were there and so was a miniature golf course. It was even the site of a film shoot for the movie Mortal Thoughts with Demi Moore and Bruce Willis.
Ever wonder what happens to the rides when a place like this closes?
There's a place called Rides 4 U based in New Jersey that acquires old rides like this and puts them up for sale for other parks and kids to enjoy. I was scrolling through Facebook the other day when I came across this unusual ad from the company. It's not often you see an ad for Tilt-A-Whirls for sale for $10,00 or a Scrambler for $20,000. I hope they find homes for everything that was there.
I'm glad I got to take my older kids Jack and Mina to Bowcraft while it was still open. So many of these stories we tell our kids about our pasts are like ghost stories; intangible memories of places hard for them to picture. All I know is if Munce's hot dog truck ever stops serving at Union County Park or if what we used to call Green Fields, the land behind the Rahway Middle School, is ever sold off and parceled out to condos my childhood will be forever gone.
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