COASTER-net.com > Blogs > September 2010 > A History of Buckroe Beach
A defunct beach park gets some credit
September 6, 2010 - Nessie
In 1610, just four years after the Jamestown settlers landed, the "Buck Roe" plantation became a public area. That did not last long however, and the plantation soon became a tobacco farm like most of the state. However, people noticed it was a nice beach, and it was turned into a fishing camp until Reconstruction. In a stroke of luck for the beach, a man named Harrison Pheobus urged builder Collis Huntington to extend the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway into the area. Soon a boarding and bath house were built and visitors traveled there from miles around. In 1897, a local entrepreneur built a trolley line, a hotel and an amusement park at the beach. The amusement park and beach quickly made Buckroe one of the Hampton Roads area's most popular outings. It had a min golf course, a Ferris wheel, a miniature train, a merry-go-round, and, of course, a roller coaster. It was named Dips, and it was a wooden beast that was constructed all the way back in 1931 and closed with the park in 1985. At 85 feet tall, a 65 foot drop, 45mph, and only 2,875 feet long, it wasn't the biggest coaster in the world, but until Loch Ness Monster opened in 1978, it was the largest one on the block. It was an L-shaped out and back coaster, with it following a standard out and back line with a left hand turn on the outbound and return run. Sadly, after 80 years, the park was suffering from financial woes. It had increased competition from new parks such as Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion, and the old park had maintenance costs that went through the roof. Soon, it closed and all of the rides except one were sold as scrap. The one that escaped the park's fate was the carousel, which was purchased by the city of Hampton and moved to just outside the Air and Space Museum where it is considered a state landmark and can still be ridden. The beach is still popular, but the land where the amusement park stood still remains empty. However, the fans who loved the park can still cherish it in their memories. There was a petition to turn the area into a public park that garnered 13,000 signatures, but the government ignored it. However, the supporters managed to keep it from being rezoned and the land lies empty to this day.