American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) recognizes Swamp Fox at Family Kingdom Amusement Park as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, a designation reserved for rides of historic significance.
Named after famous American Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion for his daring raids against British troops through the swamplands of South Carolina, Swamp Fox was the signature ride for the newly opened Grand Strand Amusement Park on June 17, 1966. It was designed by famed coaster engineer John C. Allen (1907-1979) and built by James L. Martz, both of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC). Featuring a double out-and-back, figure-eight layout, the 72-foot-high Swamp Fox offers a 62-foot, 50-mph first drop and multiple airtime-producing moments along its 2,640 feet of undulating track.
Sadly, both Grand Strand Amusement Park and Swamp Fox suffered considerable damage during Hurricane Hugo on September 21, 1989, and the park and coaster remained closed for the next two seasons. The Ammons family of Myrtle Beach purchased the closed park in 1991 and began restoration of the facility to reopen in June of 1992. They hired noted ride consultant and coaster builder John Hinde, who once worked with John Allen, to rebuild Swamp Fox to its original glory as part of their complete rebranding of the park into Family Kingdom Amusement Park. One of the ride's two restored PTC trains once operated on the Shooting Star coaster at the defunct Lakeside Park in Salem, Virginia.
Countless roller coasters have been lost to either nature's wrath, closing businesses or the wrecking ball. ACE commends Family Kingdom on the resurrection and continued care of Swamp Fox, one of the few remaining wooden seaside coasters on the East Coast and the only one in the South.
Presented by American Coaster Enthusiasts
During Swamp Fox's 50th anniversary
April 29, 2016