Seaside History

Gayway Park in the early 1960s

June 12, 2013 | by Nate Burke

Looking east down Broadway in the early wonder years of the 1960s, you were sure to see plenty of Technicolor outfits, surfers, and far-out hodads (a 60s term for your average James Dean type).  If you happened to be cruising the turnaround in your Ford Galaxy (with the top down of course) you would be welcomed by the gleeful shouts of children and adults at Gayway Amusement Park.  In this classic 1960s photo of downtown Broadway you can see the spokes of the park’s Ferris wheel in mid-revolution.

Seaside’s popular Gayway Park crowned the beach end of Broadway for nearly three decades starting in 1953. The park was host to classic rides like the Octopus, Rock-O-Plane, an ornately decorated Carousel, and even a roller coaster called the Wild Mouse. On first impression, “Wild Mouse” isn’t exactly a fear-inspiring name for a roller coaster; but on second thought, there are many who would scream with panic when encountering wild mice. So perhaps it was aptly named.

Gayway Park finally closed in the early 1980s. It’s rumored that there was an issue with noise during summer nights (teenagers screaming on the Wild Mouse no doubt) and the park was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain due to the off-season’s gusty coastal weather. But if you speak to veteran visitors, there are many who remember thrilling summer nights at Gayway Park with their families or have treasured sunset memories of rising over Seaside on the Ferris wheel with their sweethearts.

Editor’s note: Although the Ferris wheel no longer rises above Seaside, several other amusements can be found in Seaside – many of which can be found in our list of 15 things to do in Seaside.

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