Images of America Pleasure Island book now available!


I am happy to announce Pleasure Island by Bob McLaughlin, an Images of America book has finally hit the book stores! As I mentioned in a post recently, a lot of people from around the greater Boston area fondly remember this early Theme Park that only operated for 11 seasons, 1959-1969.

Bob McLaughlin’s Pleasure Island obsession grew from the small seed that was planted when he purchased 9 old Pleasure Island postcards on March 24, 2000.

I met Bob when he gave his first talk about the long-gone amusment park at the Lynn Historical Society around 2001.  He later called me up in 2002 and basically drafted me into his Friends of Pleasure Island (a non-profit group) which acts as an ad-hoc historical society with the aim of collecting artifacts and memorabilia including snapshots and home movies as well as any and all info related to the park.

The Friends of Pleasure Island also sponsored a huge extravaganza on November 29th & 30th of 2002 called “Pleasure Island Remembered” which was successful in many ways for bringing people together who were connected to the park over the years including former owners, workers and patrons. Here is the text from the back cover of the book….

Wakefield, Massachusetts

Billed as Boston’s answer to Disneyland, Pleasure Island opened on June 22, 1959. William Hawkes, president of Childlife Magazine, and executives at Cabot, Cabot and Forbes collaborated with Marco Engineering of Los Angeles to build what was called the “Disneyland of the East.” Pleasure Island rose from the wetlands off Rte. 128 into an 8o acre theme park. Through photographs, Pleasure Island recalls memories of boat rides to Pirate Cove, searching for the great white whale, driving a Jenney car, getting dizzy in the Slanty Shanty, and taking a ride on Old Smoky. At Pleasure Island, children and children at heart entered into a world that traditional amusement parks could not provide, where character actors continually put on a show and the entire park was the stage.

Robert McLaughlin is a Wakefield resident with an interest in local history. he has been researching Pleasure Island since 2000 and is cofounder of the Friends of Pleasure Island, which was established to collect images, film oral history, and artifacts relating to the park. He has selected images from private collections and the Friends of Pleasure Island’s archives to tell the story of Wakefield’s own Disneyland of the East.

I attended Bob’s first official book signing event at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Burlington, Mass. this Thursday evening, here are a couple of shots from there……



Here is a link to get the book through Amazon….