Turn of the Century

The Arrow Development Company, then of Mountain View, California, made headlines with the world premiere of its Corkscrew roller coaster at Knott’s Berry Farm in 1975. In 1976, Arrow supplied the Marriott’s GREAT AMERICA parks with custom, extended versions of the corkscrew roller coaster. These roller coasters opened with the parks in 1976 under the name, Turn of the Century. In addition to being the biggest roller coaster in the new parks, the main draw of the Turn of the Century was the novelty of the corkscrew element that turned riders head over heels twice. Yet the coaster’s most extraordinary feature was the exceptional, up-out-of-your-seat “airtime” produced on the innocent-looking second and third hills. Riders were literally launched out of their seats, yet safely remained on board, held in place by over-the-shoulder restraints. Loose objects, such as hats, glasses, cameras, purses, wigs, and more, were less successfully restrained and flew out of the trains all the time. Crew members made regular runs out into the field to retrieve ejected items each day.

The Turn of the Century’s airtime hills were replaced with vertical loops in the ride’s conversion to the Demon for the 1980 season. While Arrow produced several corkscrew roller coasters in many variations over the years, no others shared the same configuration as the Turn of the Century and none had those two amazing airtime hills.

County Fair
Final season:
1979; converted to the Demon for the 1980 season

Go to the Turn of the Century photo album.

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