The Lake Winnepesaukah amusement park in Rossville was perhaps at peak expansion mode in the 1960s when the accompanying photo was made.
During this era it was also a hot spot for teenagers who could take advantage of "Teen Time" specials, according to newspaper archives. From 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays teens could gain entry to the park, and its then-16 rides, for $1.50.
The photo, shot by newspaper photographer Bob Sherrill, was published in the Chattanooga News-Free Press on June 4, 1964 and shows an annual donation of season passes to representatives of the Chattanooga Big Brothers organization, a precursor to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga.
The park was nearly four decades old at the time and was growing year by year. During the 1960s the park added the Mad Mouse Roller Coaster (1960), the Cannon Ball roller coaster (1967), the Antique Carousel (1968) and the Castle dark ride (1969), according to the park's website. Of those four attractions, only the Cannon Ball and the Antique Carousel are still operational.
The 55-year-old Cannon Ball coaster, perhaps the park's most iconic ride, has a three-quarter mile wooden track. The ride lasts for about 90 seconds, and the coaster cars reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Meanwhile, the Antique Carousel was a repurposed ride that originated in Atlanta in 1916 and included 68 hand-carved horses.
Lake Winnie, as it is known to most locals, opened on June 1, 1925, attracting about 5,000 guests for the grand opening. Originally envisioned as a family swimming and picnicking park, Lake Winnie eventually grew into a full-scale amusement park.
According to the park's website, Lake Winnepesaukah means "bountiful waters" or "beautiful lake of the highlands." Some locals say they experienced their first kiss on the park's Boat Chute ride.
In 1996, Travel and Leisure magazine named Lake Winnie one of America's Top 10 family amusement parks, and in 2013 the park added its largest ever expansion with the opening of the five-acre SOAKya Water Park.
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