1848 map

What we call “Island Park” today had other names in the past.  In early days it was called Ferry Neck and the main street was called “Ferry Neck Road.”  It was the first highway to an important ferry between Tiverton and Portsmouth.  The land around it was mainly grazing ground for cattle.  In 1848 the Hammett map calls it “Road to the Stone Bridge.”  Later it was called Greene’s Farm for the family that owned the land.  The main street was called Buffum’s Lane.

The name evolved to “Island Park” because electric cars came to the area in June of 1897.   “Island Park”  first appears in town records when the town council allowed a shooting gallery to be erected in Island Park on “Green’s Estate” by Joseph Lunan and Sons on August 12, 1901.

The trolley car companies developed a place at the end of their lines for people from the Fall River area and Aquidneck Island to go during weekends for the beach and some fun.  The Barker family purchased the park and set up first merry-go-round in Island Park in 1898. A variety of amusements and concessions began to bring in the crowds and the area became residential as well. Families built summer cottages there to be close to the activity. In 1924, Park Avenue was made wider and had a layer of tar and stone on the surface.

Glider swings, rental row-boats, and a dancehall were all added through the years. There was even a horse diving attraction.   By early 1920’s tea rooms, fortune tellers, speak-easies were there as well.  The amusement park  had the 2nd largest rollercoaster in New England.   Built in 1926, it was called the Bullet.

The park changed hands through the years.  Hyman Swartz of Swartz Lumber in Fall River owned it and later it was sold to the Cashman Family in 1925. The park operated up to Hurricane of 1938.  Hurricane Carol hit the area hard as well. The “summer homes” have become more full time residences and Island Park is a community on its own.

“The Bullet” at Island Park

We remember the days of the amusement park as we call it “Island Park” today.