American Coaster Enthusiasts recognizes Wildcat at Lake Compounce as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, a designation reserved for rides of historic significance.
In 1926, park owners Pierce and Norton contracted with the Philadelphia Toboggan Company for a new ride to replace the park’s aging Green Dragon coaster. Under the supervision of legendary designer Herbert P. Schmeck, the ride opened in April 1927, featuring a twister-style layout. The wonderfully paced mid-sized coaster included a dark tunnel leading to the chain lift, swooping fan curves, and moments of weightlessness.
Made famous during a world-record riding marathon in 1975, it was totally reconstructed in late 1985 by the team of Curtis Summers and Charles Dinn, closely following Schmeck’s original design. It reopened for the 1986 season with a track length of 2,746 feet, featuring an initial drop of 73 feet. Even during this time, when the park found it a challenge to survive, Wildcat stood proudly as the park’s signature attraction and was Connecticut’s only operating wood coaster from late 1967 to early 2000.
Opened in 1846, Lake Compounce remains America’s oldest continuously operating amusement park, where Wildcat continues to be the historic centerpiece of the park’s fine collection of thrill rides.
Presented by American Coaster Enthusiasts
August 1, 2008