Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 61
West Virginia's 'Dark Tourism'
At the former Lake Shawnee Amusement Park in Princeton
and at the long-ago Whipple Company Store in Scarbro,
tragedies of the past seem to live on, sometimes with
ghostly aspects. Story and photos by Tony Urban
Do the Lake Shawnee attractions now give rides to only ghosts?
While most of the area around it was
farmed, that ground stood dormant.
Some say it was waiting.
That all changed in the 1920s
when developer and businessman
Conley Snidow purchased the property. He had grand plans to build
an amusement park which would
draw crowds from far and wide.
Over the next few years, he erected
a ferris wheel, spinning swing set
and cleaned up the pond so it could
be used for swimming. Stands for
games and contests lined the midway and the park was indeed a success. At first.
But then a young boy drowned
in the pond. A few years later a little
girl playing on the large swing set
was unaware of a truck backing up
to make a delivery until it ran over
her. She was killed instantly. Another boy was running across the road
that passes by the park, excited for a
day of entertainment when he was
struck and killed by a drunk driver. A
few years later a girl was found dead
September/October 2017 61