A defunct amusement park rising phoenix-like from its own ashes isn't unknown, but it is extremely rare, historians say.
"It is certainly a rare occurrence," said Jim Futrell, historian for the National Amusement Park Historical Association. "The list of failed attempts to revive an amusement park is much longer than the successes."
Futrell said he considers the House of David Amusement Park an "important part of industry history" and was glad to hear about the preservation and restoration project there.
The association was started in 1978 by a former employee of Riverview Amusement Park in Chicago, which, like the House of David Amusement Park, was once popular among Southwest Michigan residents.
Futrell said he knows of only a handful of out-of-business amusement parks that were revived.
He said that among them was Santa's Village in East Dundee, Ill. This children's amusement park closed in 2005, but part of it was reopened just five years later. Futrell said it has grown steadily since then.
Futrell said other parks that have reopened include: Coney Island in Cincinnati, which dated to 1886 and is slowly coming back around a surviving swimming pool; Conneaut Lake Park in Pennsylvania, now overseen by community volunteers; Belmont Park in San Diego, which closed in 1976 and was "largely demolished except for its world-class roller coaster;" and Six Flags New England in Agawam, Mass., which dates to the mid-1800s, closed in the Great Depression, was purchased by the Ed Carroll family in 1940 and reopened, then sold again to Six Flags in the 1990s.