CROC Returns to Oaks Park

The Oaks Park Open Console and Picnic  presents a rare opportunity to play one of only two remaining theatre organs installed in a roller rink. 

On July 26 CROC will hold their annual Oaks Park Open Console and Picnic. The concert presents a rare opportunity to play one of only two remaining  theatre organs installed in a roller rink in the United States.  Experience the excitement of sitting down at the 4-manual Wurlitzer console that controls 18 ranks of pipes suspended from the middle of the rink ceiling!  Unlike traditional theatre organ installations where the pipes are enclosed in chambers, this is not the case at The Oaks—all 18 ranks are exposed to the skaters and audience.  Therefore, expression is achieved by careful selection of which and how many ranks of pipes are in use.  Even if you don’t play, it’s thrilling to listen to the sound of the organ and hear how it changes as you walk around the rink floor—in your stocking feet, of course.

Oaks Rink staff organist and CROC member, Keith Fortune, will be on hand to help us with the complexities of this marvelous instrument.  There is a nominal $4 charge to help defray the cost of the building rental.  

To reach the park, look for Oaks Park signs at the east end of the Sellwood Bridge. Follow the road signs to the park.  Enter the parking area by turning into the north lot entrance, which is in front of a big green building. The Rink is at the northernmost end of the park.  You can park in that lot or go around behind the rink and park as close to the rink as you can—often right in front if you arrive early.  If you cannot attend the open console, please join us for the picnic at Noon.  

About the Oaks Park
Surrounded by the same stately trees for which it was named, The Oaks, celebrates its 98th consecutive year of operation in 2003, making it one of the oldest continuously operating amusement parks in America.

Built by the Oregon Water Power and Navigation Company, the park opened its gates on May 30, 1905.  In keeping with the design of other "Trolley Parks" across the country, most of its visitors disembarked from trolley cars, which ran along the Portland-to-Oregon City tracks forming the eastern boundary of the park.

Edward H. Bollinger purchased the park comprising of more than 44 acres in 1943 from the Portland Electric Power Company.  Ownership passed to Edward’s son, Robert, in 1949, who continued to operate the park until January 1, 1985, at which time he donated The Oaks to a non-profit corporation he had formed to perpetuate the park.  

The current Theatre Organ is a 4-manual, 18-rank Wurlitzer from the Broadway Theatre, Portland.  It was built for the theatre in 1926 and moved to The Oaks in1955.

The first organ at The Oaks was a 2-manual, 5-rank William Woods (a local builder), which was expanded to a 4-manual, 13-rank instrument, which is now in a Newport, Oregon in the home of member Arthur Allen.  Prior to the Woods organ, a live orchestra played from above the rink floor.

The Wurlitzer has had the Dulciana removed and replaced with a Gamba, and a Robert-Morton Post Horn was added.  The relays are all original.

Bring your own picnic lunch to enjoy with friends after the open console.  There are picnic tables reserved down by the river—

 From the Rink entrance, head towards the river by going around the “kiddie” ride.  Follow the pathway around a big tree with a sign on it that reads “Riverview 1.”   The pathway turns to the right around this tree.  Just a short distance in front of you, you will see a sign that reads “Section 16.”  Immediately to the left of Section 16 is our spot.  Look for the picnic tables with the CROC signs.

     The park amusements will be open for everyone to enjoy.



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