The Oakwood Park figure 8 rollercoaster was built by a traveling group of construction workers during the spring of 1907, and was ready for operation in time for the park’s opening day on Saturday, 29 June 1907. Located in the open area at the west end of Woods Lake, the coaster served as one of the park’s premeire attractions until May 1925.
This view is looking in an easterly direction toward the lake. Note the “barker” and other coaster attendants with patrons in the foreground (and the passengers in the car ascending the incline). The lake and boat house (extreme right) are in the background.
The above photo was probably taken around the time the park first opened to the public—this particular card was postmarked 27 July 1907, just weeks after the park opened. Text on the card says, “Mrs Scott and I went to Oakwood Park yesterday PM, ate our supper and saw our hero ‘Wm. Bryan’ in the evening.” (William Jennings Bryan was a guest speaker at the Oakwood Park Chautauqua assembly on Friday evening, 26 July 1907.)
The oldest “living” example of a side friction figure-8 roller coaster is still in operation at Lakemont Park in Altoona, PA. Built in 1902, Lakemont’s “Leap the Dips” is nearly identical to the model at Oakwood Park. Watch this video for an idea of what it would have been like to ride the “Dizzy Figure-8,” indeed a much different experience than the coasters of today, but BIG fun in 1907!.