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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

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Helter-Skelter: 1905

Helter-Skelter: 1905

New York circa 1905. "The Helter Skelter, Luna Park, Coney Island." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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Free Helter-Skelter

Public Opinion, Vol. 39, 1905.

A City's Summer Resort

… There, are clowns here, too, and trained animals, and in addition a free helter-skelter where you can climb upstairs and slide down a narrow chute. Some of the children do this with such joy and frequency that their mothers find it almost necessary to bring extra clothes for them to wear home when the sliding is over.


Having grown up and lived in New York for most of my life, I can only marvel at how clean and wholesome Coney Island once was. Even when I was a child it was filthy and not quite the place whee nice people went, and only continued to sink into what little is left of it now.

Just Add Water

And wah-la -- the world's first water slide!

[Is this how the kids are spelling "voila" these days? - Dave]

Only us stupid kids. :D

Probably not as fun as it looks

considering the darned thing appears to be covered in corduroy.

Girls' Dresses

Girls: Pleeeease, Granpa, can we go for a ride?

Grandma: Not in your new dresses!

Did the riders sit on a piece of carpet or something? This surface looks a bit rough. Is that a soda/acid fire extinguisher on the left?

I found them!

The two little girls from The Shining, right there in black and white.

Born too late

I would have loved zooming down this slide as a child. The surroundings would have helped to make it exciting too -- the playful, ornate architecture, the big (and poisonous!) castor bean plant, the ice cream and of course, a rapt audience.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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