Southern Cross

Southern Cross skyride at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA

Go to the Southern Cross photo album.

See the Southern Cross in action in this 1979 Gurnee video..

Wanted:

  • photos of the Southern Cross entrance sign
  • photos of the Great Southwest sign posted at the south end of Southern Cross

Please contact me if you have any photos of these that you can share. Thank you!

The Southern Cross skyride was part of Gurnee's expansion for the park's second season. Opened in 1977, the Southern Cross dwarfed the park's original Delta Flyer / Eagle's Flight skyride. From its station in Orleans Place, the Southern Cross soared high above the Delta Flyer / Eagle's Flight, carrying guests on an incredible aerial tour of the park at heights of approximately 125 feet. The Southern Cross station in Orleans Place occupied the site of the short-lived Gurnee Gulf Coaster. The Santa Clara park never received a Southern Cross installation.

The distant "south end" station was located in an undeveloped area of the park. A sign posted at the south end announced to park guests that the Great Southwest would rise there in 1979. Southern Cross was intended to provide cross-park transportation between Orleans Place and the future Great Southwest. While the Great Southwest remained in the future, Southern Cross operated as a roundtrip-only ride. Although the Great Southwest did not rise in 1979, Six Flags eventually did add a new Southwest Territory theme section in the same area in 1996. By then, however, the Southern Cross was long gone.

The majestic Southern Cross was one of the tallest and longest park-model gondola skyrides ever built. With the addition of Southern Cross, the Gurnee park became a skyride fan's paradise. Southern Cross, like Delta Flyer / Eagle's Flight, had five towers and forty-two gondola cabins. Manufactured by Von Roll of Switzerland, the Southern Cross is believed to be the last Von Roll park-model skyride ever built. The Orleans Place station was the drive station, where the cable drive motor was located. The south end was the tension station, where a huge counterweight helped to keep the cable taut. The cabin storage barn was also located at the south end. Passengers did not disembark at the south end. A Southern Cross ride operator was stationed at the south end to dispatch the cabins back to Orleans Place.

Location:
Orleans Place (Gurnee only)
Opened:
1977
Final operating season:
1982