For all of its modern rides and attractions, it’s hard to believe that Dorney Park dates back to 1860. That’s when Solomon Dorney purchased a large piece of land and built a fish hatchery and a summer resort. By 1880 there were games, playground-style rides, refreshment stands, a hotel and restaurant and a petting zoo. Through the years, the park was bought and sold, attractions were added and the park grew in size and popularity.
In 1983 a major fire burned many attractions, including the awesomely named “Bucket o’ Blood.” Fast-forward to 2013 and the park has over 125 years of history on its site, which brings us to the stories of the ghosts of Dorney Park.
The Old Gold Mine ride, built in 1970 and shut down in the mid-eighties, was said to be haunted by Solomon Dorney himself. The ride actually went under Dorney’s mansion, which has now since been demolished, and that apparently annoyed old Solomon to no end.
There is a ghost that allegedly haunts the area of Dorney Park near The Dominator. There is an old building there that houses an arcade, a few small shops and eateries. Connecting two of the eateries is a corridor that leads to an old mine shaft. There have been reports of a man seen by the door that appears and disappears just as quickly – is it old Solomon? There have also been reports of strange noises and occurrences in that area, one of the oldest sections of the park.
The antique carousel has a history of being haunted, allegedly by a woman named Mrs. Muller whose husband carved carousel horses. She fell in love with a horse her husband carved in 1917 for a carousel, which after being on the road for five decades found a home at Cedar Point’s Frontiertown in 1971. Even after Mrs. Muller departed this life, she couldn’t bear to be away from her beloved horse, so every night after the park closed, the carousel would start up – lights, music, the whole works, and a ghostly lady in white, assumed to be Mrs. Muller would be seen riding the horse on the carousel. In 1995 the carousel was sold to Dorney Park, but here’s where it gets confusing – Mrs. Muller’s horse did not come with it. The horse was removed and is currently on display at Cedar Point Frontiertown Museum. So is the carousel still haunted? Well, there have been reports from park employees of the carousel occasionally starting up on its own at night.
For great insight on the “darker” rides through the years at Dorney, check out “The Dark Past of Dorney Park” by former park owner, Bob Ott: