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Why Restore?

"Because it is the Granddaddy of them all"

The Leap-The-Dips, whose wooden frame, untouched in a decade, is breaking and rotting, whose paint is flaking and rust-stained. Enough hard winters, enough angry weather, and this aging matchstick construction looked like it could pitch over and become a used timber sale. Making the Leap-the-Dips whole again was going to take more than a few two-by-fours and some white paint. Estimates say the job would cost $1.3 million.

Ray J. Ueberroth of Baltimore, past president of the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE), wanted to save the coaster. He convinced local officials they were sitting on a buried treasure, a rarity that could lure roller-coaster buffs around the world and provide a focal point for the town's resurgence. Without his persistence, the Leap-The-Dips probably would have been bulldozed. Ueberroth and the coaster enthusiasts did everything from staging fund drives to lobbying the government for fix-up money.

Preserving the past is important. No one could build an older roller coaster for any amount of money. The distinction of having the world's oldest coaster is something that can only be lost through deterioration, neglect, and apathy. Officially, Leap-The-Dips is the "oldest side-friction figure-eight wooden roller coaster in the United States." We want to preserve the last of the burgeoning breed that grew obsolete by the 1920's and faded as amusement parks died off. That put the Leap-The-Dips in distinguished company. The non-profit group, Preservation Pennsylvania, ranks this fun ride alongside a Bucks county farmhouse George Washington called headquarters and a handful of other sites as the most endangered historic sites in the State. The coaster currently has the status of a National Historic Landmark.

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