Pleasure Island,circa 1959

  • Pleasure Island,circa 1959
  • Byrnes, Susan Miranda
  • "Pleasure Island, 'New England's biggest family amusement center" opened on June 22, 1959. The 80-acre site was located off Route 128, adjacent to what is now Audubon Road (formerly Pleasure Island Road). Formerly swampland, the area was converted into a 'dramatic and colorful entertainment park' in a record four months. In addition to the dredging, pile driving and installation of utilities, engineers created an inland sea four feet deep which accommodated a variety of sea creatures. This included the famous fiberglass and steel Moby Dick which was created by a special effects studio in Hollywood. Attractions also included the Strange House, Pirates Cove, Wreck of the Hesperus, The Chisholm Trail, the Old Smokey Line (with a restored Greenwood B&M Station), panning for gold at Goldpan Gulch, and the Diamond Lil gay-nineties show at the saloon. The park also included an 'authentic' 150-year-old New England whaling village and a western frontier town. According to published reports, several sites were initially reviewed, but the Wakefield Industrial Park was selected because of the amount of acreage under water, its proximity to Routes 1 and 128 and other major highways, and its potential to attract industry to the area. The opening weekend featured a press-only party attended by 5,000 invited guests on Saturday, and a charity benefit which attracted another 2,000 people on Sunday. More than 13,000 people were turned away during the weekend after radio and TV announcements erroneously reported the general public opening. Pleasure Island employed 400 people when it opened. The park closed in 1969." -- Text from calendar by Jayne M. D'Onofrio.
  • Image from the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department annual calendar, 1998
  • Photo courtesy of Susan Miranda Byrnes.
  • ca. 1959
  • Wakefield, Mass. : Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department


Byrnes, Susan Miranda, “Pleasure Island,circa 1959,” Lucius Beebe Memorial Library, Wakefield, Mass., accessed March 8, 2021,



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