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Glen Echo Park: 1928

Montgomery County, Maryland, circa 1928. "Glen Echo Park." Another look at this old-school attraction in the Washington suburbs. View full size.

Montgomery County, Maryland, circa 1928. "Glen Echo Park." Another look at this old-school attraction in the Washington suburbs. View full size.


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Oh well

Howdy Folks, I came in the last few years of Glen Echo. My grandma took me when I was little once. I remember all the fun I had there. Being an inner city kid, awhile later we found eternal freedom through DC Transit and headed sraight to Glen Echo a few times and the last time it was closed. Our hearts sank and the ride back was long and sad. Sorta like losing Coney Island. We had found sanctuary and now it was gone. We now have Kings Dominion and six flags but the two combined will never match the experience I had at Glen Echo.

Eventually, I would live in Glen Echo a short time but the area has now been developed and bears little resemblence to older times. Life is short so we must make the most of it. Thanks Shorpy

Penny Arcades

As Mr Mel stated there always seemed to be a fortune teller at those Arcades.

In the Baltimore area's Gwyn Oak Park & Carlin's the same lady ruled both houses. You put a penny in a high slot and it rolled down a bridge to fall into her hands. Lights flashed as she turned to drop a card into a slot and there was your fortune.

I spent many a happy hour with only a dollar in those arcades watching hand cranked movies and stereopticons (magic lanterns). The topics ran the gamut from the Johnstown Flood, The San Fransisco Earthquake, The Baltimore Fire, WWI and old silent cowboy movies.

There were machines where you could stamp out your name or some other message on a round lucky coin.

The best were the pinball machines.

One penny for 5 balls and some grand shows complete with bells, whistles, lights and gongs.

Today's electronic pinballs may wow you but they are but cheap imitations of the classics from the 20's through the 50's.

Of course the pictures of scantily dressed ladies on the main board did impress a young lad of 11 or 12 in those pre Playboy days.

A Sad End

Not entirely true Palmatier Meg. There were non-violent protests to the segregation in 1960. In 1961 they DID integrate. It remained open with out incident until 1966 when there was an ugly incident which caused the park to close early. The kids from the urban area had been bused in for the evening of fun and the buses refused to return to pick them up when the park closed early. They had to walk back home and violence ensued. Glen Echo Park is mentioned on pages 6 and 7. The park stayed open until 1968 even after the so called "riot." I grew up in the neighborhood and our family were regular customers. It was so sad to see it close. I almost cried when I saw this picture in Shorpy. It is now open again as a park dedicated to the arts. The carousel is still there and beautiful!

I remember

When I was a kid in the 1950s to early 60s, my mother took my brother & me to Glen Echo once every summer or so. Next to the beach it was my favorite destination. I believe they had a large roller coaster my mother wouldn't let me ride & a "junior" roller coaster she would.

I didn't find out till years later that Glen Echo was strictly segregated. That realization took some of the gleam out of my memories. I couldn't fathom why some kids were kept from the fun times because of outward appearance. If I also remember correctly the owners of the park were finally ordered to integrate. They chose to close Glen Echo instead.

Play Station Zero

The Penny Lane attraction in this photo brings back memories of what were known as "Penny Arcades". The one I remember was on the Boardwalk in Shorpy's favorite Queens, NYC site, The Rockaways, an area of beachfront summer bungalows and rooming houses. We're talking the 1940s here. When you entered the place from the Boardwalk, the first thing you saw was the Fortune Teller console with a witch like mannequin moving her head. Inserting a penny got you a tepid fortune card. There were change making people walking around with a wide apron pocket loaded with pennies. My favorite game was a mechanical baseball machine with lead soldier like pitchers and catchers. The one cent coin got the pitcher throwing (actually bowling} an agate sized lead ball toward the bat. The trick was to be able to press the lever quickly enough to hit the ball. It wasn't easy and if you scored runs you were awarded chits for the usual Carny junk. These were the last century's version of what we now know as Video Games.

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