The Pavilion of Fun was the centerpiece of Steeplechase Park. One of the entrances was the Barrel of Fun, which is shown here in the lower-right hand corner. This picture shows the second Pavilion of Fun, which was rebuilt after a fire burned the original in 1907. It was designed by architect Reynolds Hinsdale. It stood 450 X 270 feet and cost estimates say it was around $450,000 in 1907 dollars.
The Pavilion of Fun covered nearly 3 acres. After the fire of 1907 Tilyou rebuilt the Pavilion of Fun as a “glass and steel shed.” It covered five acres and the forerunner to current indoor parks like the Edmonton Mall and the Mall of America 1914 guide listed the following attractions within the Pavilion: the Golden Stairs, the Bounding Billows, the Whirlpool, the Roof Garden, the Razzle Dazzle, the Human Roulette Wheel, the Bicycles, the Cave of the Winds, the South Pole, the Soup Bowl, the Uncle Sam, the Human Pool Table, the Down and Out and the Barrel of Love (aka School Days).”
The Human Roulette Wheel. What appears today as a lawsuit waiting to happen was one of the most popular rides in the Pavilion of Fun. The concept was deceptively simple, riders boarded, the wheel started to rotate and the riders were tossed off…working from the outside in. Sometimes the person on the hub stayed on for the entire ride. According to Coney Island historian Richard Snow, Tilyou got the idea for the ride by walking along the beach and saw children being pushed on an overturned cart wheel. You can ride a modern-day version of this ride at Germany’s famous Oktoberfest: http://youtu.be/taRvXJeTtxM .
This view from the 1950’s is a great shot of the Pavilion of Fun. In the front the Moon Rocket ride, probably from the Allan Herschell Company, the train ride, and the Steeplechase Ride.