Jolly Cholly Funland, North Attleborough, Massachusetts

Jolly Cholly Restaurants in North Attleboro, Massachusetts by John Margolies, 1978.

Jolly Cholly Restaurants in North Attleboro, Massachusetts by John Margolies, 1978.

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Jolly Cholly’s Funland in North Attleboro, Massachusetts once had traffic backed up for miles, but today, it is a vanished site.

What would become one of the area’s most popular amusement parks, got its start when Charles M. Nasif and his wife, Helen, opened a dairy bar at 171 East Washington Street in 1954. Nasif, who had been a ride concessionaire at Rocky Point Park in nearby Warwick, Rhode Island was impacted when that park was destroyed by a hurricane in 1938.

Jolly Cholly Chef Sign in North Attleboro, Massachusetts by John Margolies 1978.

The site in Attleboro stood on swampland that was, no doubt, cheap at the time that the Nasifs built their dairy bar. Beginning with soft-serve ice cream and soft drinks, the couple soon expanded the menu to include hamburgers and the business was renamed Jolly Cholly Dairy Bar Beef Burgers. Later that year he opened a second building in which pizza and other Italian delights were served and at some point, fried clams and beer were added.

In the next years, the Nasifs expanded their site until it included 12 acres and in 1958, miniature golf was added. A year later, the Jolly Cholly Funland was built across the parking lot from his restaurants. The amusement park included a carousel, a Ferris wheel, a Kiddie Whip, children’s boats, and a roadway ride. In 1960 a roller coaster was set up and in 1965, a train ride was added. Other more adult rides were also added including the Himalaya and a dizzying Rodeo carousel-type ride that appealed to teens.

During these years, Jolly Cholly’s, with its large parking lot, attracted many teenagers how congregated on weekends. Waitresses on roller skates took orders and brought back trays of pizza, burgers, french fries, and drinks on trays that attached to car windows. Nasif eventually signed Rhode Island radio and TV personality Salty Brine into the mix, having Salty make many park appearances, and putting a plywood cutout of his likeness on the pizza building roof.

In 1965, the Nasifs also began holding flea markets on weekends. The most distinctive feature of the amusement park was a Giant Clown whose legs formed an archway that was the entrance.

Jolly Cholly Fun Land courtesy the Sun Chronicle.

Jolly Cholly Fun Land courtesy the Sun Chronicle.

Jolly Cholly Fun Land clown in North Attleboro, Massachusetts by John Margolies, 1978.

Jolly Cholly Fun Land clown in North Attleboro, Massachusetts by John Margolies, 1978.

In the next years, Jolly Cholly’s transformed from a teen hangout into a place where parents brought small children.

In 1972, the Nasifs sold the 18-acre amusement and restaurant facility. The next owners renamed it The Land of Fantasy, added more adult rides, and expanded the food services. After changing hands a couple of more times, the park closed in 1981.

Today, there is absolutely nothing left of this once popular stop along Route 1, except for memories.

From Public Facebook Posts:

Brings back childhood memories! — Erika

That “Od Guy” driving the train most of the time was Charlie Nassif himself! — Dennis

It was a fun spot and a big deal at the time. — Janet

My favorite place to go. We drove up from Providence on Saturdays. — Natalie

Spent many nights there driving around the parking lot “circle” and just hanging out. — Jeff

I loved the Himalaya! Especially when it went backward! — Karen

Riding the train at night was awesome. — Bob

Sad this is not around now… what a great time! – Christina

5 cent sodas 10 cent hot dogs. — Lyle

Jolly Cholly Beef Burgers courtesy Sun Chronicle.

Jolly Cholly Beef Burgers courtesy Sun Chronicle.

Also See:

Lost Landmarks & Vanished Sites

Massachusetts – The Bay State

Roadside Attractions

Vanished Sites Photo Gallery

Sources:

Facebook
Flower Thrower
North Attleborough Historical Commission
Sun Chronicle

2 thoughts on “Jolly Cholly Funland, North Attleborough, Massachusetts”

  1. OMG! That is my old stomping place! I grew up in Attleboro and it was the only place to go for a slice of good pizza. Not sure how it would hold up in today’s pizza lineup, but we thought it was A-OK. Never had any money for the ‘fun’ stuff. though. How did you ever come up with this story?

    1. It makes us so happy when we can show something that brings back specific memories for our readers! For this lost landmark, we followed the great photographic works of the late John Margolies, who documented the attraction as he did many others. Kathy then just digs for the information to put with the images. (sources at the bottom of the article).

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