Don Ferris

Carpenter, mechanic, and showman who started his career operating roller coasters and road attractions

Don Ferris
Interview Date:


Donald Ferris, who passed away on January 4, 2018, was involved with everything that Coney Island had to offer. From the age of 14 he worked nearly every ride and attraction as well as building or repairing anything and everything. He was a carpenter, mechanic, and showman who started his career with the Tilyou and McCullough families, operating roller coasters and road attractions. He also built our exhibit space when we moved from the Cyclone to the Wonder Wheel. He didn't like to do interviews, preferring to shoot the breeze at the bars in Coney Island, but agreed to talk about his past in several sit-downs he had with Charles Denson at the History Project. This recording describes how he started in the amusement business and how he wound up living in an apartment inside the Tornado roller coaster.

Photo © Amy Nicholson /