From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Steeplechase Park was an amusement park in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, New York from 1897 to 1964. It was one of the leading attractions of its day and one of the most influential amusement parks of all time.
It was created by George C. Tilyou (1862–1914), who grew up in a family that ran a Coney Island restaurant. While visiting the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, he saw the Ferris wheel and decided to build his own on Coney Island; it immediately became the resort's biggest attraction. He added other rides and attractions, including a mechanical horse race course from which the park derived its name.
Steeplechase burned during the 1907 season, destroying most of the park.
The park was rebuilt for the 1908 season, although the new park was not fully open until 1909. It now included a "Pavilion of Fun" in an indoor enclosure covered by steel and glass that covered 5 acres (20,000 m2). Steeplechase burned again in less-destructive incidents in 1936 and 1939.
I love old Coney Island stuff. I could spend half my day reading about all the quirky, dangerous rides, sideshows and games that used to dwell there.
This site has a hilarious (sound-free) film clip of some of "rides" at Steeplechase Park from way back when, including what I like to call the merry-go-round of doom. You think those spinny metal things in city parks are a safety hazard? HA! You aint seen nothin'.
If I could travel back in time to any era and place, I'd travel to 1893 and check out the World's Fair in Chicago. Then I'd take a world tour and travel around the globe for four years or so. After that I would go play on Coney Island the second Steeplechase opened. And then I would probably die, because that place sounds like a deathtrap.