Coney Island In The Late 1800s

America's famous amusement park, Coney Island, located on the south shore of Long Island, became a resort area in the 1860s, as railroads and steamships began to run excursions. First, the Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach and Oriental major hotels, and various beaches were developed. The first rides appeared in 1876 with Charles Looff's carousel, with wooden horses, live music and 5 cents admission fee (considering inflation, in today's dollars worth about $1, but considering wages, worth $6.90 to an unskilled worker of today).

By the late 1870s, there were some 60 hotels and 5000 separate "bathing rooms." A great pier ran a thousand feet into the sea, an observatory reached three hundred feet into the air and a baloon ride carried 15 people a thousand feet up. [Pictured above are Coney Island beach and boardwalk scenes from a 1898 lithograph.]

For further reading, refer to "The Roots Of Coney Island," a fascinating Victorian travelogue, available as a hardcopy edition, or as an e-document on Amazon's Kindle® device or for the PC on the free Mobipocket reader.

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