|Type||Wood - Undertunnel - Two Chains|
|Status||Standing But Not Operating|
|Manufacturer||National Amusement Device Company|
|Designer||John A. Miller|
|Track layout||Dinn Coppration|
|Height||70 ft (21 m)|
|Drop||70 ft (21 m)|
|Length||2,865 ft (873 m)|
|Max speed||40 mph (64 km/h)|
|Capacity||1700 Riders Per Hour riders per hour|
|Max G force||5.10|
|Height restriction||4 ft 0 in (122 cm)|
|Zippin Pippin at RCDB
Pictures of Zippin Pippin at RCDB
The Zippin Pippin, formerly called the Pippin, is one of the oldest existing wooden roller coasters in the United States. It was initially constructed in the former East End Park in Memphis, Tennessee in 1912 by John A. Miller and Harry Baker of National Amusement Devices. The construction material was pine wood. As the park declined in popularity, the coaster was dismantled and relocated adjacent to the horsetrack in Montgomery Park, now known as the Mid-South Fairgrounds.
According to a 4/27/1993 Commercial Appeal(CA) article, the Zippin Pippin was built in 1912 in East End Park but, a 1/8/33 CA article claims that East End, "had charge of the 'Figure Eight,' predecessor of the Fairgrounds, 'Pippin.'" A 4/17/1966 CA article claims the coaster was built in 1915 and another, (CA 12/26/1974) dates construction in 1917. The Zippin Pippin is recorded to have been rebuilt once, "higher and longer," after severe damage from a tornado in April of 1928 (CA 4/27/1928). The reconstruction was completed by July of the same year at a cost of $45,000 (CA 7/3/2003).
In the 1970s, the city of Memphis made plans to build a theme park around the Pippin and the Grand Carousel, also on the grounds.  Called Libertyland, the park opened in 1976. Renamed the Zippin Pippin, the coaster was billed as the most prominent and historic ride at Libertyland, and was reportedly Elvis Presley's favorite roller coaster. Elvis would rent the entire park on occasion just to ride it without constant fan interference. Just a week before his death, Elvis rented the park from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. to entertain a small number of guests and he rode the Zippin Pippin for hours without stopping. On October 29, 2005, citing persistent loss of money, Libertyland closed its gates for good.
The Zippin Pippin currently stands without operating in the Libertyland Amusement Park at the Mid-South Fairgrounds (a 125-acre (0.51 km2) tract of land purchased in 1912 and "Dedicated to the Citizens of Memphis for recreation, athletic fields, fairs." This public land is slowly being sold off to private developers.
The Libertyland website stated: "One of the oldest operating wooden roller coasters in North America, the Zippin Pippin is as popular today as it was in the early 20th century. It is 2,865 feet (873 m) long, travels 20.8 mph (33.5 km/h), increasing to 40 mph (64 km/h) at the maximum drop of 70 feet (21 m). Ride duration is 90 seconds. Great care is taken to replace its wood regularly to preserve its structure. Manufacturer is Amusement Device Co."
On June 21, 2006 the Zippin Pippin was sold at auction by Norton Auctioneers of Coldwater, Mich. Robert Reynolds, former bassist with country band The Mavericks, and Stephen Shutts [partners in a traveling museum called the Honky Tonk Hall of Fame & Rock-N-Roll Roadshow] purchased the entire Pippin for $2,500. They showed up planning to bid on one of the roller coaster cars but purchased the entire structure due to the low price. Reportedly, it was so inexpensive because the sale agreement requires the buyer to remove it in 30 days.
As of July 11, 2006, Reynolds and Shutts are bringing a coaster expert in to ascertain the practicality of moving the entire coaster to another location. They are also hopeful that the Mid-South Fair Board, who is in charge of the property, will grant them an extension to the 30-day requirement so that the coaster may be saved.
"It's not in anybody's best interest just to come in and knock it down," Shutts said.
On September 17, 2006, Dollywood sent an attraction survey, with the Zippin Pippin being one of the possible new attractions for the next few years.
On October 29, 2006, it was announced that the Roanoke Rapids, N.C. Tourism Bureau had bought the Zippin Pippin from Reynolds and Shutts and are bringing the coaster to a new tourist development under construction named Carolina Crossroads. It will be a 1,000 acre (4 km²) music park, including the 1,500 seat Roanoke Rapids theatre, outdoor amphitheatre, waterpark, and outlet shopping center.