Lake Shawnee Amusement Park
Rock, West Virginia
The Lake Shawnee Amusement Park is a defunct amusement park in Princeton, West Virginia, United States, located along Lake Shawnee. Opened in 1926, the park operated for 40 years before closing in 1966. It received public attention for a total of 6 deaths that occurred on the premises during its operations, which led to urban legends regarding the park being haunted.
The land on which the amusement park was built was the site of a massacre over a land dispute in the late-1700s between the Clay and Draper families. According to writer Rosemary Ellen Guiley, this event has been historically verified.
In 1926, an entrepreneur named C.T. Snidow purchased the land and began developing an amusement park for the people of Mercer County, West Virginia. The park, which featured a ferris wheel and a swing ride, was popular among locals in the county, particularly families of coal miners who resided in the area. It also featured a swimming pool, race track, concession stands, dance hall, and cabins for overnight stays. In the early-1950s, a young girl on the swing ride was killed when a truck delivering sodas accidentally backed into the ride, striking her. A boy also drowned in the swimming pool, which was subsequently filled to prevent further accidents. The park was formally closed in 1966.
In 1985, Gaylord White, a former employee who had worked at the park, purchased the land with plans to reopen it, and briefly reopened it in the summer of 1987. However, the park closed after a 1988 archeological dig uncovered numerous Native American artifacts, as well as human remains on the property that had been buried prior to the arrival of Anglo-European settlers. A total of thirteen skeletons were uncovered, mostly of young children. White briefly reopened the park, but it was closed after three years.
1 Investigation at this location: