Everything You Didn’t Know About El Aserradero
A unique history of our popular flume ride
In 1963, Six Flags Over Texas debuted the first ever log flume ride in an amusement park. El Aserradero, which is Spanish for “the sawmill,” worked with Arrow Development Company to build this popular attraction. At the time, theme parks were rare and new ideas on a grand scale were needed to separate them from the typical amusement parks with carnival rides. The concept of a log flume was a perfect fit.
When the first log ride opened in Arlington, it became the talk of Texas. To say it was a success is an understatement. In fact, it was so popular that the park felt the need to add a second flume in 1968. Both flumes, with their splashy finales, still inspire laughs and shrieks to this day. With its final plunge standing only at 30 feet tall, it just goes to show that family-sized thrills can still be huge crowd pleasers. As riders enjoy the winding course today, they can imagine the towering trees that have grown tall over the flumes were mere saplings when El Aserradero was built more than five decades ago.
As theme parks started appearing in the 60s and 70s, log flumes continued to be the “must have” attraction. With bragging rights to having the very first, Six Flags Over Texas was recently involved with filming segments to a documentary on the legacy of Arrow Development and its rides.
A History of the Log Flume
Historically, log flumes were used in the latter half of the 1800s to transport logs and lumber down the side of a mountain where it would be received at a sawmill. Flowing water was the method of transportation, and it efficiently helped the transport of the wood over ravines, cliffs, and gorges. Some records indicate that one particular flume spanned over 62 miles in California in 1890. On occasion, workers would climb aboard a log and take a ride to make sure everything was flowing well, and quite probably, for the thrill. While that kind of riding would have been dangerous in the 1800s, it was the origins to the great family fun of the well-known log flume ride.
*Tim Baldwin – editor of RollerCoaster! Magazine, staff writer at Amusement Today and Communications Director for American Coaster Enthusiasts – contributed to this article.