President (1922 to 1954)
Herbert P. Schmeck was born on January 25, 1890 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Schmeck started a career in carpentry working at Reading Cabinet Works.
By 1914 Mr. Schmeck found himself working in the amusement industry. He was the manager and operator of the Green Streak roller coaster in Paragon Park located in Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts. He operated the coaster until it’s demise in 1916 when it was destroyed by a fire. Paragon Park pledged to build another coaster making it bigger and better.
Philadelphia Toboggan Company was at Paragon Park’s side ready to build, and a new coaster was born. Mr. Schmeck found himself promoted by Paragon Park as foreman of the coaster’s construction. Through his new position, Mr. Schmeck became a liaison between Paragon Park and PTC.
The new coaster became known as The Giant Coaster and was opened to the public in 1917. Henry B. Auchy, the President of PTC, was so impressed with Mr. Schmeck’s work that he offered him a job. However 1917 was also the year Mr. Schmeck was drafted into the Army to fight in World War I.
Once the war was over and Mr. Schmeck returned home on an honorable discharge he hoped Mr. Auchy’s job offered still remained.
On February 1, 1920 Henry B. Auchy appointed Mr. Schmeck Chief Engineer to oversee critical construction of new amusement devices.
In 1922 after Henry B. Auchy’s passing, Mr. Schmeck was given permission by the PTC board to start designing roller coasters.
The first roller coaster Mr. Schmeck designed was built in 1923 at Hershey Park (now known as Herseypark) in Hersey, Pennsylvania. It was named the Joy Ride, but later the ride was renamed the Wildcat.
Through the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s Mr. Schmeck continued to design and build roller coasters across the United States and keep the company operational even though tough economical times were met throughout the years.
Mr. Schmeck became president of Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1946 after the passing of John Davies, who had held the position of Vice President since 1922.
After Mr. Schmeck had accepted his new role as president of PTC, the 1950’s rolled around and that brought a new interest into the amusement world. Small kiddie parks around the country began to flourish thanks to the baby boomer generation, and junior coasters were high in demand.
On January 20, 1954 Mr. Schmeck resigned from PTC after 34 years of great service. John Allen, a long-time employee, then became president of PTC.
In 1956 Mr. Schmeck passed away from cardiac arrest. He left an unforgettable legacy behind which included designing over 80 roller coasters, a few of which are still in operation today.
On November 17, 1999 The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) recognized Herbert P. Schmeck for all of his contributions to the amusement park industry and inducted Mr. Schmeck into IAAPA’s Hall of Fame.