Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sibling Saturday: Peppermint Park and Wee Wild West in Houston, Texas, 1961-1969

 My step-grandfather, Wallace "Archie" Archibald (1896-1970), took a number of home movies of me and my siblings from 1958 through 1965.  One place shows up over and over - a small amusement park with rides for younger children.  I'm pretty sure it was called Peppermint Park.  Apparently there were a number of locations, but I think the one we went to was on the north side of Houston, off T. C. Jester, as that was close to where my grandparents lived at the time, and was a more pine-wooded area of Houston than some of the other locations (near Gulfgate Shopping Center on Interstate 45, and out in Sugar Land).  In the early years (1961 to 1964) my family lived in Spring Branch, which also makes the T.C. Jester location the more likely one.

I definitely remember the helicopter ride in the picture of me and my sister Karen from 1961, above.  A bar that you would push and pull raised your copter up and down.

The films also show kiddie boats that went round and round, a merry-go-round, a ride I think was called "The Whip" because it would jerk your car quite hard on a turn, and kiddie automobiles that ran on rails.  My youngest sister Mary is pictured on such a car below, sometime in 1969.  You'll note that the view is from inside a warehouse-like building.  Some of the rides were inside this building so that the park could still operate in bad weather.

As I got older, we also went to a park called Wee Wild West, which was on Westheimer Road at Yorktown.  It had some of the same rides as Peppermint Park, but also had fighter planes, a roller coaster, a train ride, and something called the Hook and Ladder ride (an old firetruck that drove around the park), which shows up clearly on one of the films.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

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