Chanticleer Carousel: At one time there were over 25 carousels at Coney Island! One of the most unique was the Chanticleer Carousel. It ran at Luna Park in 1907, went back to Europe, and 1911 it moved to Steeplechase. It was made by Orton Sons & Spooner Ltd. and was shipped back to Steeplechase for the 1910 season. On the way back to America the ship sank, but it was in shallow water so the ride could be salvaged.
Noah’s Ark: The Noah’s Ark used to be a popular attraction at many parks. It first appeared in Venice, California in 1919 and became a standard attraction that brought in a lot of guests with its low-tech thrills. Sadly today there are only a few Arks left, one of the most famous is at Kennywood Park.This was probably built by William Dentzel (of carousel fame’s) Noah’s Ark Company, which built many of these attractions around the country.
Ferris Wheel: Tilyou was impressed by George Ferris’s 250-foot Ferris wheel at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and tried to buy it. Unfortunately for Tilyou, the wheel had already been sold to St. Louis for their 1904 fair. Undaunted, he bought a 125-foot wheel and erected a sign at Coney that read, “On this site will be erected the world’s largest Ferris Wheel.” The wheel ran at Steeplechase for the entire time the park operated, finally giving its last rides during the 1964 season. Mary Tilyou kept the ride at the park in George’s memory.
Pool and Giant See-Saw: The tracks of the Steeplechase Ride can be seen on the far left along with flags flying from the top of the Pavilion of Fun. The ferris wheel and Revolving Air Tower are next to that, while the Giant See-Saw fills the right side. The ride was brought by Thompson and Dundy (the duo that would later build Luna Park) when they opened their Trip to the Moon cyclorama at Steeplechase. According to Edo McCullough, Tilyou’s nephew, the ride was owned by Fred Thompson and Elmer Dundy. He said that the Dundy aimed a coin at a crack in the floor and it stopped nearby. Tilyou tossed the coin squarely on the crack and won the Giant See-Saw. It operated by having four cars on each of the two small wheels. One arm would spin high in the air while the other loaded and then the arm switched positions. The operating costs quickly outgrew the limited profit (only a small number of people could ride per-hour) and Tilyou closed the ride. He then dressed it in a large number of incandescent lights which read, “STEEPLECHASE.”
The Pool: Some views of the Steeplechase Park pool. The postcard to the right is entitled “Bathing Beauties at Steeplechase Park”.
Chime Tower: The Chimes Tower which stood, according to the postcard, in “Geo. C. Tilyou’s Beautiful Steeplechase Park” was a focal point for the park. The bells could be heard throughout the park on the hour.
The Dew Drop: The Dew Drop was nothing more than a slide for adults. Guests climbed the staircase to the right and sped down the polished slide until they popped out at the bottom. It stood over 50 feet tall.
Revolving Airship Tower: The air tower is one of those rides that we know very little about. This was not the circle swing, that was another ride. That corresponds with this picture as the Atlantic and the Steeplechase Pier are directly behind the tower. Most black and white photos either had a full range of color added or simply a blue tint to give a sense of the sky and the ocean. If you look closely you will notice the gold glitter added to the postcard. To make some postcards stand out, many two or three-tone cards added silver and/or gold glitter during the early 1900’s.
This is an interesting view of the park, looking north towards the front of the park and Surf Avenue. To help orient yourself, the Steeplechase ride is back and to the right and the Giant See-Saw is to the left. (Photo courtesy the Library of Congress)