Remember When San Angelo Had Its Own Amusement Park
Once upon a time here in San Angelo, generations of kids of all ages enjoyed fun times at San Angelo's Neff's Amusement Park. It was by the Concho River in downtown San Angelo. WIth it's brightly colored 50-foot Super Slide, no kid could drive by without begging to stop.
According to a 1988 story in the Standard Times, Roy Neff and his wife Hazel moved to San Angelo in 1948, so he could take a job working for the city. Shortly afterwards, in 1949, they decided to open a little amusement park near the Lone Wolf Bridge, which was outside of the city limits at the time.
Back in those days, carnivals were not allowed in San Angelo, inside the city limits.
They started with three rides. A little steam ride, car ride and an airplane ride. After a year in business, Neff leased a pot of land on the north band of the Concho River, between Oakes and Chadbourne streets. The lease required him to pay the city 7% of all the park's take.
Back then the rides cost 9 cents. If he charged 10 cents, he would have had to pay tax.
Slowly, the Neffs added attractions. In 1990, the park had the famous Sante Fe train, bumper cars, the Roll-a-Plane, large and small Ferris wheels, the Scrambler,, the Super Slide, the Little Dipper roller coaster, Sky Fighter, hand cars, a beautiful antique carousel and an original airplane ride.
People came from miles around to enjoy Neffs as it was the only amusement park within 200 miles.
Sadly, in 1990 Roy Neff died at the age of 78. A lot of people in San Angelo say that fun died that day too. While his wife, Hazel, tried to keep it going, she was able to keep it open until 1998. Hazel died in 2010.
The park operated as Funland for a few years afterwards, but then the park shut down forever.
Today, you can still see train tracks across the paved path leading to the Concho River from a parking area near Neff's Way and Oakes Street. There are many who still have fond memories of lazy, fun summer days at Neff's in a bygone more innocent era.