Paragon Park: Gone But Not Forgotten

It may no longer be in operation at Nantasket Beach, but Paragon Park has hardly been forgotten. The turn-of-the-century amusement park was first created in 1905 and was designed in the spirit of a world’s fair.

The 10-acre park included an arcade, wild animal shows, shooting galleries, and performances. A Boston businessman named George Dodge was the force behind Paragon. Dodge leased the Hull land to make it possible from the railroad company.

The park was known to attract visitors from nearby hotels and conventioneers. The park’s Palm Garden restaurant, at one time, was even known to rival entertainment and performances of Boston theaters.

To keep the park going, Dodge added more attractions and rides over time, and changed exhibits each year. Sadly, the park had a few setbacks through the years, including several fires. In 1911, the first fire destroyed several buildings.

Those buildings were soon replaced by a new roller coaster and dance hall. Another fire, a few years later, unfortunately damaged the new roller coaster and other structures at the park once again.

That led to new additions, including a new stone entrance, a funhouse, and a dance hall. Plans were also hatched to build the world’s tallest roller coaster at Paragon.

Yet another fire in the 1920s caused additional damage, while the Great Depression and eventually the war also took a toll on operations. Three more fires in the 1960s damaged the park once again, then the Great Blizzard of 1978 caused several feet of flooding.

In the 1980s, a developer emerged with plans to replace the old amusement park with condo towers. While even that plan changed over time, the old carousel was saved in the process. It now operates close to the old railroad station on the boardwalk. 

There’s also now a small museum filled with memorabilia from Paragon. A miniature golf course now stands where rides and a water slide once existed. There’s also an arcade, offering up a mere glimpse of the old days on Nantasket Beach.

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