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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

The Great Coal Mine: 1901

The Great Coal Mine: 1901

New York circa 1901. "The Great Coal Mine, Coney Island." From the book Coney Island and Astroland: "The Great Coal Mine was a 1,500-foot-long dark ride that enabled visitors to travel on coal cars through several levels of a dimly lit simulated mine. It opened in 1901 on the north side of Surf Avenue at West Tenth Street, was not very popular, and was soon replaced by L.A. Thompson's Oriental Scenic Railway." 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

 

Remember it well

Greycat, the coal mine at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry was just one of the many wonders of "The Pushbutton Museum." I also visited a couple of times around 1961 during our layovers on train trips to Denver, even though it was a $12(!) cab ride to get there. As I recall, the walls on both the elevator and the mine tram portions were on moving belts to make the rides seem longer.

Another favorite was the Santa Fe train layout with functioning Central Traffic Control. At the time I saw it, a female museum guard was overseeing it. She told me the male guards would try to run it manually, and derail the trains.

Photographer at large

It looks as if that fellow is whispering in the policeman's ear about the photographer. The cop is wondering what's up. Casing the joint?

What this country really needs

There's a wagon full of them, parallel parked in front of the L.A. Thompson Scenic Railway, though I can't say if they were any good.

The coal mine ride, while less than enthralling to anybody who had been inside the real thing, must have thrilled the kids. I well remember the mine exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry when I was eight.

Funny, if the fourteen segment display was so expensive, that they would put it on such a combustible building.

Other unsuccessful rides at Coney Island

Other unsuccessful rides of the general era at Coney Island included:
"Ride with Custer, Hero of The Little Big Horn"
"A Trip through the Spanish Influenza Ward", and
"Journey with the Majestic New 'Titanic' and Back"

Re: Fire in the Hole!

JimmyLee-I have ridden that ride several times. I you sit in the front car, you can see the big drop before the steam jets blow.
(The steam jets were there to hinder your view as you went straight down a 40' to 50' drop!)

I'll bet Coney Island was blast back then. I've been enjoying the close-up viewing on the pictures of it that have been posted these past few days.

Chicago Coal mine

At the age of 12 or 13 I was traveling with my family out to Kankakee, IL. One of the places we stopped was the museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. They had a replica of an operating coal mine there, as well as the U-505, a captured German U-Boat. I know that the U-505 is still there, but I am not sure about the coal Mine. This would have been circa 1959-1961

I wonder if any other Shorpyites remember this exhibit.

Digital Sign? In 1901!

At the peak of the uppermost roof there seems to be an early example of some kind of nine character display sign. Behind the glass there looks to be a fourteen segment display.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteen_segment_display

I'd sure like to see a night photo with the sign lit up! Surely advanced technology for its day!

[According to the article, not so much advanced as costly: "Multiple segment alphanumeric displays are nearly as old as the use of electricity... a complete set of commutator switches, drums and lamps would have been required for each letter of a message, making the resulting sign quite expensive." A related display is the carriage call. - tterrace]

"Fire in the Hole"

This reminds me of a ride in Silver Dollar City outside of Branson, Missouri. Built in 1972 it is a dark roller coaster ride that takes you through a simulated burning mine town. Still in operation and another one like it at Dollywood in Tennessee.

Hop to it

Both the lady in the street by the Zoo, and the man passing by the scenic railway seem to get along fairly well, considering they're both missing a leg.

Rip off: Belle Epoque style

I don't understand how the luncheonette can charge as much for Lemonade as Ice Cream Sodas and Milk Shakes. Similar to to-day's coffee being $1.49 a cup--is outrage!

Long pants vs. short pants

Does anyone know at what age boys began wearing long pants? These guys look pretty close in age.

[Reaching puberty was usually the point. In this closer view, it's easier to see that one has, and one hasn't, quite. - tterrace]

Wild guess

I'm thinking that Pennsylvania was just a few hours from N.Y. and since so many Pa. people worked in the coal mines every day, they probably did not choose to go on this "ride" while vacationing at an amusement park, since they knew well the misery of the real thing.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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