Palace Playland and Pier stand as OOB's iconic tourist spots

Palace Playland and the Pier

OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Two iconic tourist locations at summer destination Old Orchard Beach are The Pier and Palace Playland.

Joel Golder, the owner of Palace Playland has been in the entertainment business for 55 years -- 34 of which he spent at Palace Playland. He became the owner in 1996. 

”there’s been rides here for 115 years," said Golder. ”Circus people have a saying – sawdust in your veins. I guess I’ve got sawdust in my veins.”

Right across the street is The Pier, owned by Paul Golzbein. The Pier has been in his family for four generations.

Golzbein's greatgrandfather was one of the Pier's first tenants. In the 1800s, his father sold seashells and postcards at the Old Orchard Beach train station, and decided to move over to the Pier when it opened in 1898. At the time, it was called "The Golden Mile," and was 1,700 feet long. Golzbein, the current owner, was born in Biddeford, and grew up in Old Orchard.

”I don’t look at it as a job. I come to work because I love what I do. When you love what you do, you’ll be good at it," said Golzbein.

According to the Old Orchard Beach historical society, the Pier was damaged by fire in 1907. The center of the pier was destroyed by an ocean storm in 1909.

In 1910, it was rebuilt, and shortened to 800 feet.

In 1969, the entrance was damaged by fire. In 1972, and 1978 it was damaged again by storms.

Golzbein remembers many of those events. He said he wanted to restore it and bring back some its heritage.

Golzbein remodeled the two towers at the entrance. Originally, the tops of those towers were round. They became pointed tops in 1908. Golzbein brought back the original style.

"It was something that brought back history, and I’m a big believer in that. When people ask you, ‘how long have you been here?’ and you say, ‘since 1898,’ I say, ‘I know, I don’t look that old.’ How many people can say they’ve been doing business in the same location for over 100 years? What we do here – we sell fun. When you see people leaving with a smile on their face, you know you did it right," said Golzbein.

(Mobile users click here for photo gallery)

PHOTO GALLERY: Historical photos of Old Orchard Beach Pier


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