NAPHA Archives

Accepting Archival Donations

This priceless collection of NAPHA Archives is constantly growing. We are actively adding such things as reference books, magazines, brochures and press kits, photos, postcards, slides and videotapes, park memorabilia, correspondence and other artifacts to the Archives.

Because NAPHA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, donations from parks, manufacturers, designers, engineers and enthusiasts to our Archives are tax deductible. NAPHA members are encouraged to donate historical items as well. The NAPHA Archives are housed in a secured, climate-controlled storage facility.

To inquire about the archives or making a donation, please contact us.

Please see the National Amusement Park Historical Association Archives Usage Policy & Guidelines for more information.

The NAPHA Archive Collections

Chance Rides Collection

January 1, 2023 - Chance Rides is a leading manufacturer in the amusement park ride industry. This family owned business has been manufacturing a wide variety of amusement park rides for over 60 years. In 2022, Chance Rides donated a large collection of old photographs that feature amusement park rides all over the world. The Chance Rides Collection highlights the company’s history and influence on the amusement park ride industry.

Tim O'Brien Collection

April 17, 2021 - IAAPA Hall of Fame Member Tim O’Brien spent decades in the industry: first with Amusement Business and then with Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, as well as author of dozens of books. Mr. O’Brien has donated his entire archive of press releases, interview transcripts, and articles he has acquired in his long and storied career.

Jim Bowen & John Hayek Collection

July, 2020 - An avid photographer and early NAPHA member, Jim Bowen has captured thousands of amusement park images from the 1960s through the 1990s. In the early 1980s, Mr. Bowen was well-known for his roller coaster and amusement park slideshow presentations given to both enthusiasts and the public. In July 2020, he generously donated his entire collection to the NAPHA Archives.

Steve Mitzel Collection

June, 2020 - Longtime NAPHA member Steve Mitzel donated his collection of brochures, park maps, photos, and postcards and press releases from the 1980s through 1990s. Mr. Mitzel’s collection, donated in June 2020, provides a great snapshot of the industry in the 1980s, as he has also donated his correspondences with management at various parks.

Eugene K. Freer Collection

Thursday, November 10, 2011 - Eugene K. Freer served as the final president of the International Amusement Device, Inc. Upon ceasing operations, Mr. Freer rescued thousands of company records from being disposed of. Among his donations are ride blueprints, letters, and sketches from John A. Miller; images and concepts of fun houses and dark rides; and correspondences with many industry legends. The collection was submitted by their daughter Jane Feerer Snell. Eugene is shown with his wife Gail, in 1992.

Learn more about the Eugene K. Freer Collection

Aurel Vaszin. at age 83, in 1967. The original Dayton Fun House company building, c. 1920. Originally, a barracks at the National Military Home, a Civil War veterans hospital and home in Dayton. Vaszin paid $900 to buy it and move it to his company's lot. a few blocks away. Dayton Fun House's mailing address was the National Military Home Post Office. The National Military Home may well be the inspiration for the later name "National Amusement Device."

Full Background of the Eugene K. Feerer Collection

The core component of the NAPHA Archives is the Eugene K. Feerer Collection. Mr. Feerer was a former president of International Amusement Device. Inc ("IADI"). That name may not be familiar to you but the company's previous names, National Amusement Device ("NAD") and, before that, the Dayton Fun House & Manufacturing Company, might ring a bell. The company was founded by Aurel "Dutch" Vaszin (1885-1979) sometime in the early 1920s.

The history of NAD and later IADI, lived on in box after box of the company's old records. Yet when lADI's new owners moved the firm from NAD's old complex in Dayton to its new offices in Sandusky, a decision was made to literally throw this history away! Luckily, it was NOT a decision that lADI's new president. Eugene K. Feerer. agreed with. Though he had been hired from outside the amusement industry, Feerer had the heart and soul of an amusement man and the instincts of a historian. He had the foresight to save box upon box of records rather than let them be trashed.

Nearly two decades later, NAPHA's founder Ralph Lopez and NAPHA member Derek Gee, while researching their book on Chicago's Riverview Park, Laugh Your Troubles Away, learned of Mr. Feerer and the mass of matenal he had saved. They urged him to bequeath these records to NAPHA. It is this material that is preserved today as the Feerer Collection of the NAPHA Archives.

And what a collection it is! There is a treasure trove of matenal on John A. Miller alone—plans, profiles, parts lists for coaster after coaster, some famous, some obscure, even some unidentified. Not just coasters are included, but Miller water rides, fun houses, dome buildings, loading stations, even layouts for entire parks. Correspondence with Harry Baker is contained, along with letters from L.A. Thompson, Harry Traver, Norman Bartlett, patent lawyers and park owners.

There are photos of coasters, coaster cars, and other rides. All in all. it is perhaps the largest collection of John A. Miller material anywhere.  In addition to this information, there are cabinets of Dayton Fun House/NAD/IADI material: ride plans: spec lists; correspondence; photos of parks and rides from the 1920s to the 1970s, including different models of Century Flyer coaster cars; designs for fun house and dark ride animation; and plans, catalogs, etc. from other ride manufacturers.

While this priceless collection forms the core of the NAPHA Archives, NAPHA is actively adding such things as reference books, magazines, brochures and press kits, photos, postcards, slides and videotapes, park memorabilia, correspondence and other artifacts to the Archives.

NAPHA is a member of the Illinois State Historical Society and has an ultimate goal of building a National Amusement Industry Museum where items from the Archives can be put on display and can be accessible in a Historical Reference Library.

June 9, 2008 - The following was received from Timothy Feerer, son of Eugene K. Feerer, who provided extensive historical material to the NAPHA Archives:

My sister Jane found your organization. I had no idea my father had a collection named after him. I wish you the best of luck.

Timothy Feerer