The Phoenix was originally built in San Antonio, Texas in
1947 as the Rocket. Knoebels moved it in 1985 to its
present site. It is one of the best and most famous
coasters in the world.
Ace Roller Coaster Landmark
American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) recognizes the Phoenix
as an ACE Roller Coaster landmark, a designation reserved
for rides of historic significance.
Originally opened as The Rocket, it operated at Playland
Park in San Antonio, Texas, from August 1947 until the
park closed in 1980. Designed by Herbert P. Schmeck
(1890-1956) and built by Frank Hoover (1903-1987) of the
Philadelphia Toboggan Company, it was purchased by the
Knoebel Family in 1983, then later dismantled and moved to
Under the direction of Hartman, Richard,
and Ronald Knoebel, the ride was reconstructed in 90 days,
led by engineer John Fetterman and builder Charles Dinn,
using the original specifications, while Philadelphia
Toboggan rebuilt the trains. The team included Chris
Paul, Daniel Patterson, John Moyer, Clair Hain, Leonard
Adams, and James Martini, renamed the Phoenix
- symbolic of its mythical rebirth - the 2,979 foot long,
78 foor, 2 inch high coaster officially opened on June 15,
1985, featuring a rare double-up-double-down, hill
abundant airtime, and a first drop of 72 feet, 11 inches.
Today, Knoebels Amusement Park hosts the annual event,
Phoenix Phall Phunfest, to honor this historic project.
Based on its success, Phoenix is generally
credited with the renewed interest in coaster preservation
and remains highly rated among riders of all ages for its
classic ride experience.
American Coaster Enthusiasts, October 2005
This is a reprint of a plaque posted at the Phoenix
Roller coaster in Knoebels Amusement Park, Elysburg, PA.