Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Zippin Pippin / Libertyland

Marker ID:  
Location: 946 E Parkway S, Memphis, TN
County: Shelby
Coordinates: N 35° 7.176    W 089° 59.049
  35.1196    -89.98415
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


Zippin Pippin

The wooden roller coaster erected on the Fairgrounds in 1923 was the Mid-South’s premier outdoor amusement park ride for more than eight decades. It was built by coaster design pioneer John Miller and was affectionately christened the Pippin, 1920s slang for the cherished or admired. Strong winds damaged it in 1928, but it was quickly rebuilt. With a track length of 2865 feet and car speeds of up to 40 mph, its minute-and-a-half-long ride was rough, noisy and exhilarating. Its 70-foot initial drop made it notable for its air time among coaster enthusiasts far and wide. In 1976 with the advent of Libertyland it was renamed the Zippin Pippin. It was Elvis Presley’s favorite ride, enjoyed on his last public outing. It was sold to Green Bay, Wisconsin in 2010 for use in its Bay Beach Amusement Park.


Honoring the nation's Bicentennial, Libertyland theme park opened near this spot on the Mid-South Fairgrounds on July 4, 1976. History buffs reveled in Colonial Land, Frontier Land and Turn of the Centry Land and children of all ages enjoyed live shows, games and the dozen plus mild to wild rides. The parks signature Dentzel Grand Carousel and Zippin Pippin roller coaster both dated from 1923 were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other popular features were the Revolution coaster and the Old Hickory flume ride, the childrens playground on Tom Sawyers Island, the dolphin show and the Memphis Liberty Bell. Libertyland was more than just a park, providing first time jobs for hundreds of teens and pleasant memories for millions of visitors. It closed in 2005.

Erected 2010 by Remember Libertyland and the Shelby County Historical Commission