Picture the traffic backed up for miles on both sides of Route One in 1960. Teens in hot rods are cruising towards the place to go on a Saturday night. They are heading for a place where car hops, wearing roller skates, bring food orders. The teens are there to see and be seen. The hope is to impress a date or meet someone to impress. This sounds like American Graffiti, but it is North Attleborough and the place is Jolly Cholly's.
It began with Helen and Charles M. Nasif who opened a dairy barn at the 171 East Washington Street site in 1954. It didn't take long before the menu expanded far beyond ice cream and included hamburgers, pizza, and fried clams. The early years featured soft drinks (mainly Coca-Cola). Later on, beer was added to the menu.
By 1958 the site comprised 12 acres. Miniature Golf was added that year, followed by an amusement park called Funland in 1959. The park featured a Ferris Wheel, Kiddie Whip, Merry-go-round, Kiddie Boats, and a Roadway Ride. In 1960 a Roller Coaster and 1865 train ride were added.
By the end of the 1960s, Jolly Cholly's had transformed from a teen hangout into a place where parents brought small children. The most distinctive feature of Funland and the one most people remember today, was the entrance Funland. It was made in the shape of a clown, with a top hat, checkered pants, and floppy shoes. The clown held a large sign that said FUNLAND. His legs formed an archway that was the entrance. The clown became an iconic image. Trinkets made in his image are still available on the internet today.
Times and taste change. Business at Jolly Cholly's kept falling off during the 1970s. Finally in 1979 Jolly Cholly's Funland closed for good.