Archive for January 16th, 2017

January 16, 2017

Steeplechase Park

george tilyou

Between 1880 and WWII, Coney Island (a peninsular neighborhood in southern Brooklyn) was the largest amusement area in the U.S., attracting several million visitors per year. At its height, it contained three competing major amusement parks, Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park, as well as many independent amusements. The area was also the center of new technological events, with electric lights, roller coasters, and baby incubators among the innovations showcased there in the 1900s.

Steeplechase Park was created by George C. Tilyou (1862–1914) and operated from 1897 to 1964. It was the first of the three original iconic Coney Island parks (Luna Park opened in 1903 and Dreamland opened the following year). Steeplechase was also Coney Island’s longest lasting park. Unlike Dreamland, which burned in a fire in 1911, and Luna Park which, despite early success, saw its profitability disappear during the Great Depression, Steeplechase had kept itself financially profitable. The Tilyou family had been able to adapt the park to the changing times, bringing in new rides and new amusements such as the Parachute Jump.