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Does anyone remember the train at Greenfield Park?

Ben Steelman
Joseph W. Taylor Jr., Joseph W. Taylor III and Susan Taylor ride the train in the 1950s.

Joseph W. Taylor Jr., Joseph W. Taylor III and Susan Taylor ride the train in the 1950s.

The Greenfield Park train, from a period brochure. New Hanover County Public Library.

The Greenfield Park train, from a period brochure. New Hanover County Public Library.

Lots of people seem to have fond memories of the kiddie train, which delighted youngsters at Greenfield Park from sometime in the 1950s –nobody seems to remember exactly when it was inaugurated — until 1975.

Operated during summer months by Wilmington city parks authorities, the child-sized train ran on a loop track that ran along part of Lake Shore Drive. Its cars — at least three, according to a period photo — were painted to look like scaled-down railway passenger cars, in a jaunty red-and-yellow color scheme. A uniformed driver sat in a small engine car at the front.

The local history room of the New Hanover County Public Library has a couple of images of the Greenfield Park train in its glory. One shows local historian Susan Taylor Block as a small girl, riding the train with her dad, Joseph. W. Taylor Jr., and her little brother.

The train was out of service for most of its 1974 season due to disrepair, according to period newspaper clippings. City officials dismantled it the following year.

Greenfield Park’s official entrance is now at 302 Willard St., Wilmington [Map this]. It is also accessible from Third Street and Carolina Beach Road.

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17 Responses to “ Does anyone remember the train at Greenfield Park?”

  1. On August 5, 2009 at 2:27 pm Dianne Long Harris wrote:

    Thanks for jogging my memory. I was born here in 1947 . I had forgotten about the train. I remember me and my brother riding it in the 50’s . I wish it was still there. Thanks again for such a wonderful memory.

  2. On August 6, 2009 at 8:17 am Jim Harrelson wrote:

    I can remember it,, rode on it too,, also remembered the zoo that used to be there,, it sat reght where the parks dept is now,,

  3. On August 9, 2009 at 1:23 am playgirl1974 wrote:

    Yes. I do remember the train being at Greenfield Lake. I aslo remember that there was once a petting zoo there as well

  4. On August 9, 2009 at 5:55 am Bob Carter wrote:

    Also having been born here in 1947, I can remember my sister and I riding this seveal times when we lived on Carolina Beach Rd in the early 50’s…the zoo is familar; however, don’t really remember the details ssurronding it.

  5. On August 9, 2009 at 9:08 am Shelly wrote:

    I barely remember that train. And there was a little petting zoo out there too. My grandparents used to take me on sundays. They took that stuff out of the park when I was little. Wish it would have lasted long enough to take my kids to. I loved it.
    I also remember when they had rides at the boardwalk at CB. They took them out in the late 80’s early 90’s I think. Glad to see them back. The boardwalk is fun again.

  6. On August 9, 2009 at 9:16 am Anita Adams wrote:

    I remember the train. I think it cost 10 cents to ride. There was also a small zoo in the area and the train tracks were around the zoo area. My grandfather and grandmother lived at Nesbitt Courts, when it was a nice place to live, built boats in a huge dug out area behind his apartment. He sat at the gazebo at the lake and always had 3 or 4 boats that he would rent. Sometimes, my mother would drop my dad, who was retired, my sister and I off in the mornings on her way to work and my dad would fish all day with one of granddaddys boats. My sister and I would spend the day with granddaddy. At lunch time, we would walk back to the apartment and have lunch and then go back to the lake. The concession stand had drinks, cotton candy and popcorn. There were no paddle boats there then.

  7. On August 9, 2009 at 9:55 am amy Ottaway wrote:

    I so remember the Amusement park and the train and the zoo.Many happy days were spent in the park.It was a family park that offered concession stands and lots of good clean fun in the 60,s.
    My family recently joined inthe park for an old fashion picnic.We had to share our shelter with drunken homeless men who went in the azalea bushes to drink and relieve themselves.We had to keep a constant vigil on the children , with all the shaky characters around. We even had to wait in the bathroom for a homeless girl to get her bath in the sink.I am so glad WPD has stepped up foot patrol of the park. I would love to see more family’s return and take back this beautiful park.

  8. On August 9, 2009 at 10:19 am Andie wrote:

    WOW! I have thought about that in a long time, my family used to ride that train every weekend, I think around “72”. I was about 5 yrs.old. If my memory servers me correctly, the track went around the zoo, you could see all the monkeys, the old bear, peacocks just wandering around. The conductor with his Gray and blue striped hat with his bluejean overalls and bandana tied around his neck. sooooooooo sad that simple way of life doesn’t exist for children or adults anymore. That’s when quality family time existed. I was sad to see it go. Wow, thanks for the memories!

  9. On August 9, 2009 at 10:51 am David Colwell wrote:

    I was born in Wilmington in 1952. A few years ago I returned to Greenfield Lake with my wife. It was the first time I had been back in more than 30-plus years. I tried to find the train and, of course, it was long gone. Then I tried to remember where it had been. I remember riding it several times as a young boy. And I remember a long (or at least it seemed long at the time) semi-circular green tunnel that we passed thru. The first time I rode the train with my father I remember that long dark tunnel. Thanks for the memories.

  10. On August 9, 2009 at 12:52 pm Laura Klemm wrote:

    What a priceless delight about the train at Greendfield Lake. More than 5 decades agoI got to ride it while staying with my beloved grandfather in Wilmington. I loved all of it, incl. the whistle & tunnel which I thought was so exciting. In the same genre, I thought Jubilee Park was awesome & sooo exciting. Flash forward 4 decades – I took my nephew to enjoy it & drove right by it, this tiny-in-all-ways little nearly abandoned park. Most rides were closed so we rode what we could, bought a souvenir & that was that. Of course fairly recently it’s been shut down. The Greenfield RR & Jubilee Park are precious memories of a simpler & more innocent time that I hold tightly in my heart. Thanks for the memories!

  11. On August 9, 2009 at 2:42 pm Forrest Brown wrote:

    My friend was the engineer on the train in 57/58.

  12. On August 10, 2009 at 6:17 am justin wrote:

    And there was a zoo as well! And how can anyone forget the Lumina-like dancehall out in the center of the lake, accessible only by the small, double-decker paddlewheel boat?

  13. On August 10, 2009 at 8:29 pm Tammy wrote:

    Yes I do that was the GOOD OLD DAYS, back in the that used to be a beautiful place to good and take the kids to enjoy the day what happen to those days

  14. On June 4, 2010 at 12:31 pm Carey Williams wrote:

    Hello the train at Greenfield Park Wilmington NC was sold by the Miniature Train Corp ( of Rennesalar Ind) on July 7th 1951 engine and 3 cars serial # 568 most likely 16″ gauge . The engine was lettered “The Greenfield Limited” on the side. I have a reference that the train may have been removed and later used at an Amusement Park in Myrtle Park SC by 1968.
    Cheers Carey

  15. On April 24, 2015 at 10:33 am thomas williams wrote:

    Yes I remember it very well. My family would take us on the weekends to Greenfield lake and my older brother and I would ride the train . The Conductor would blow the train whistle when we went thru the tunnel . It was an awesome ride. I was about 2yrs old. Kids today would have loved it . I have pictures of my Brother and I riding it about 60yrs ago. I wished my Grandchildren had that opportunity as I did .

  16. On May 9, 2016 at 12:36 pm Pam H. wrote:

    I remember the days we walked to greenfield lake it was back in the 70s. My cousins and I would walk from our nanny’s house on 4th St. I remember the big black bear they had there for many years, I cant remember his name though but I would always go straight to his cage first. I want to say there were a couple of rides besides the train. they had a place where you could buy cotton candy drinks popcorn. We would feed the monkeys popcorn. I could go on and on and yes those were the good days.

  17. On June 4, 2016 at 1:09 am Jan wrote:

    I lived in Wilmington during years 1950’s to late 1960’s.
    I do remember the train. The Zoo was across the street.
    There were swings and some playground equipment close to the sidewalk near third st. In the 50’s you could rent a rowboat for 50 cents which my friend and I did.

    My brother learned to swim in Greenfield Lake along with some of his friends.

    I rode around Greenfield Lake on my bike with a friend, and later played tennis when the tennis courts were put in. I have many fond memories there, and pictures of the Lake.

    I did not get pictures of the train or of The Showboat. If someone has those I would love to get a copy.

    Moved around a lot due to my Husband’s job, but remember a lot about things that use to be there, and
    are no longer there.

    Remember the airport in the 50’s. Took my first airplane ride there in a small airplane.

    Does anyone remember the Murchison building downtown? Loved the soda shop there.

    Still visit a few times a year when I can.

    Thanks for any help you can give me as far as pictures.

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