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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

Big Fun: 1928

Big Fun: 1928

Roller coaster at the Glen Echo amusement park in Montgomery County, Maryland, circa 1928. View full size. National Photo Company glass negative.

 

Cotton Candy Couture

Can you imagine going to an amusement park today in a dress and heels?? It seems ludicrous even for the 1920s, but then again, people then dressed up to cross the street.

Glen Echo

Glen Echo has done a good job at preserving some of its history. Without knowing the history behind the park I visited last year because they have a very popular swing dance night in the ballroom. The Spanish Ballroom (which is seen in the map) is absolutely beautiful! People of all sorts come out on Saturday nights for swing dancing, I'm sure some of them were around when the park was active! Very cool.

Wood vs Steel

I'm not sure why Sal is so worried about Coaster Dips being built of wood. For the record, the first steel roller coaster was The Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland built in 1959. Among Roller Coaster enthusiasts there is considerable debate about the relative merits of wood vs. steel. There are thing you can only really do with steel (loops come to mind), but there is a definite feel too wood that can't be replicated by steel. Safety is not one of the issues.

Wood for me

In 1999 Busch Gardens in Tampa opened Gwazi, a wooden "dueling" roller coaster. Wooden coasters are the best! This one, unfortunately, was torn down and burned in 1969, a year after the park closed.

Wood Roller Coasters

There are lots of wood coasters in operation today, and not just old ones still in operation. New ones are being built and in many cases they are more popular than the steel ones. IMHO, they are lots more fun, and the noise they make is a big part of it.

What Goes Up

An amusement park near me still has a working 1920s wooden roller coaster. While I can't see why any sane person would ever ride the thing (or any roller coaster---at least not twice), I find it fascinating as a historical item.

Wooden coasters

The coasters being constructed of wood was part of the whole experience.

Coaster Dips

Please tell me that thing is metal, not wood. I love the body language of the snappy foursome by the saltwater taffy stand. You can tell they are discussing what they're going to do.

1891--1968 Glen Echo

The Glen Echo Park began in 1891 as a National Chautauqua Assembly and then developed within a decade into a very popular amusement park as well as still its many other venues on the grounds such as the 1933 Spanish Ballroom. The facility was run until 1968, closed and the National Park Service bought the park in 1971 to be a nonprofit arts and culture partnership. I remember as a child going to the old Glen Echo and seeing this very roller-coaster! Here is a link to the present map of the park:

http://www.glenechopark.org/parkmap.pdf

 
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