Wednesday, June 20, 2018

When Six Flags Was Cool....

Well, it's been a while since I climbed up in the ol' attic, but attics, summer, and Texas don't really mix. However, guilt began to weigh on me so I thought I'd share something not from the attic, but from the photo album. My wife's photo album to be specific. The pictures used to belong to her mom, and among all the family memories I found five very special post cards.

You see, there was a time when Six Flags wasn't just a roller coaster farm. When the park started, it was based on Disneyland, but with a Texas history theme. The designers took that theme seriously, and each "land" represented a different time in Texas' past.

The attractions were first rate as well. For example, the park boasted of the first mine train coaster (built by Arrow, who also designed the Matterhorn for Disneyland), the first log flume ride, and (according to rumor) the cave ride was the inspiration for the ride system used in It's A Small World.

Unfortunately the slump that hit theme parks in the late 1970s triggered a management change and a refocusing on thrill rides as a way to stay afloat. The original theme was put on the back burner and then forgotten completely. Six Flags as originally designed was gone.

Still, there are clues out there as to what it once was.... Here are the postcards that I found:

Interestingly enough, pretty much none of these attractions still exist. I don't think the different country flags are still used (I know the Confederate flag isn't). The Fiesta Train (with its catchy "La La La La Fiesta!" song) got axed for a coaster. The Astrolift was shut down due to ADA requirements and the Riverboats became a roaring rapids ride. The Overland Stagecoach (with its bandits) was shut down decades ago. By the way, the "Confederate" section is now just "The Old South." The only thing that might still be there (and I am by no means sure) are the gun fights.

So, if you want to go to Six Flags Over Texas, you certainly can, but you won't see any of the banner attractions from the early years. Kind of sad, but I guess that's the price they paid for keeping the gates open.

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!


  1. I have such fond memories of Six Flags as a kid. I got to ride all those old rides, except the Stage Coach was gone. The history was probably lost on me as a little kid, until I had Texas History in the 7th grade.

    1. Yeah, I don't remember the stagecoach at all. I loved the riverboats though!

  2. If you look around, you can still see concrete footings from the old Big Bend ride. But Pink Things are nowhere to be found. Dippin' Dots don't do it for me. Stu, I'll have to send you a pic of this old Six Flags poster I have, on cardstock, might have been a transit ad, depicting a UPI-cartoon-ish family in a Sky Ride gondola, silkscreened, bright colors. I keep meaning to frame it.


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