CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Author and teacher Joseph A. Comm will present a book talk and slide show about “Rock Springs Park” on Tuesday, July 2, in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The program will begin at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Using dozens of images, Comm will discuss the history of the now defunct amusement park that operated from 1897 to 1970 in Chester, Hancock County. In its heyday, this playground captivated up to 20,000 visitors daily with attractions including the World’s Greatest Scenic Railway, the Cyclone Roller Coaster, and a hand-carved 1927 Dentzel Carousel.

Comm, who grew up in Chester, will provide personal recollections of the park and discuss the efforts of many people from the Tri-State area to recapture the magic of Rock Springs Park through their personal collections of park memorabilia, stories and offbeat tributes.

The area that became Rock Springs Park began attracting people as early as 4,000 years ago, and Native Americans once thought of the spot as a sacred hunting ground. During the years of Colonial America, George Washington visited the area on two occasions, camped near the park entrance, and drank from the mineral waters of Rock Springs.

Comm is the author of Rock Springs Park (Arcadia Publishing, Images of America Series, 2010). The book features more than 200 rarely seen images and portrays the lifespan of the park from its history as a hunting ground to its development as a local trolley and amusement park.

Comm has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in theater and education from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a teacher of gifted children in western Pennsylvania currently working on a book about legendary locals of Latrobe, Pa.

On July 2, the library will close at 5 p.m. and reopen at 5:45 p.m. for participants only. For planning purposes, participants are encouraged to register for the lecture, but advance registration is not required. To register in advance, contact Bobby Taylor, library manager, at or at (304) 558-0230, ext. 163.

Participants interested in registering by e-mail should send their name, telephone number and the name and date of the session. For additional information, contact the Archives and History Library at (304) 558-0230.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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