American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) recognizes The Comet at The Great Escape as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, a designation reserved for rides of historic significance.
The Comet is an important example of historic coaster preservation. Originally opened at Crystal Beach Park in Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada, in 1948, its design integrated over half of the steel structure from the earlier Harry Traver-designed Cyclone, which had closed in 1946. Philadelphia Toboggan Company’s Herbert P. Schmeck (1890-1956) created the new design with the assistance of John C. Allen (1907-1979). The Comet thrilled several generations of riders along the park’s Lake Erie shoreline, until ceasing operation in September 1989.
While many feared that The Comet might be lost forever, Charles R. Wood (1914-2004), owner of The Great Escape Fun Park, purchased the ride at auction and quickly dismantled and moved the structure into storage. Reconstruction of the 95-foot high coaster began at The Great Escape in October 1993, under the supervision of J.R. Hyatt. Consulting engineers John Pierce and Frank Hardick assisted in the project, while Martin and Vleminckx of Canada rebuilt the 4,197-foot long wood track.
Officially reopened on June 25, 1994, The Comet now sits in the shadow of the scenic Adirondack Mountains at The Great Escape in Lake George, New York. Although the setting has changed, the thrills have been preserved for one of the world’s greatest roller coasters.
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