|Fantasy Island Campground is unique, in that it once was an amusement park. The park, known as 'Island Park' began operation in 1900. Parks originated
along the railroads, as a way to bring in more passenger travel for the railways, during the weekends and summer months. These were typically the slowest
times for the railroad companies who were mostly used by the townsfolk traveling to and from work. So with the construction of the railway between Sunbury
and Northumberland, it was only natural that a park would be promoted along the way.
The island, known as "Packer Island," was owned by Sunbury millionaire James C. Packer. On the banks of the island, facing Northumberland, stood a stand of
tall original oak and elm trees. This land was leased from Packer, thus creating "Island Park." The park began with very few amusements other than picnic
facilities. Around 1920 the entire island was sold to proprietors, Guyer and Pontius. In 1924 Charles H. Wiest of Sunbury bought this land that housed Island
Park, 23 acres in total, for an amusement park. "Wiest Amusement Co." was formed with Charles Wiest, Treasurer and Alvan M. Wiest, Secretary. "Island Park
Amusement Park" was developed and became the principle spot of summer outings. In 1925 the dance pavilion, designed by Alvan Wiest, was erected. It
measured 92' by 192' with a dance area of 60' by 160' in the center of a roller skating area, which surrounded the outside of the dance area. Some of the nations
big name bands, inlcuding Paul Whiteman, Fred Waring, and Joe Nesbit filled engagements there for dancing. During the flapper era, marathon dances were
also staged here. Adjoining the dance area, was a 36' by 60' restaurant as well. The pavilion was a popular place for many events. In 1928, 1929, and 1930, it
was rented to the Auto Dealers of Sunbury for auto shows.
After the completion of the dance pavilion, the swimming pool was built. This was also designed by Alvan Wiest. The pool measured 80' by 300' and 10' deep at
it's deepest end. Section one, for small children was 20' by 80' and only 1 foot deep. Section 2 was 80' by 130' and 2' to 5' deep. Section 3 was 80' by 150' and
was 5' to 10' deep. The pool held a total capacity of 737,000 gallons of water. While the pool was being built, a roller coaster was also being constructed. It
was designed by the famous Herbert P. Schmeck and built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. After 2 years of construction, the "Island Flyer" was
officially opened in 1926. However, it survived for only 10 years following a devastating flood in March of 1936. The coaster ran from the front of the park to the
bath house at the rear of the pool. In the front of the park was a miniature golf course and Dodgem (bumper cars) building. There was also a carousel in a
building between the Administration building and the swimming pool. This building still stands and is what we currently use as our rec-room. It is a very
unique feature to the campground.
The park was operated by Charles H. Wiest and Alvan M. Wiest for approximately ten years, until the Wiest Amusement Company was dissolved. Over the
years the park was eventually downsized. In the early 1970's the dance pavilion was demolished. The park was developed into a campground around 1979.
With it's 4th and current owners, Stephen and Marie Way, taking ownership in 2006.