This Month in History

May

  • 1906: The new amusement center, Luna Park, opened on May 28, in Four Mile Run in Arlington, Va. What was just a field with some rocky outcroppings six months earlier was now a full-fledged park with numerous rides and attractions. The Washington Post reported: “There are 30 places of entertainment along the great trail waiting to welcome large crowds of pleasure seekers. The new Ingersoll enterprise, will open on Monday…everything is in readiness for the opening, and thousands will doubtless make their way to the summer amusement city built in the hills, to enjoy the cool breezes and numerous attractions of the place.” The park also opened with a Figure Eight roller coaster and a Chutes among its rides. Unfortunately, a disastrous fire in April 1915 would spell the end of the famous park, which was located just south of Washington, D.C.
  • 1907: Opening on May 29, Atlanta, Ga.’s newest park, the White City, brought another amusement center to the growing metropolis. The advertisements for the new season would suggest the new facility was a pleasure resort, park and picnic grounds combined. The Atlanta Constitution claimed the park was built at an immense capital expense and included all kinds of new and fine pleasure devices. This would include a Figure Eight roller coaster, the second in the city (the other at Ponce De Leon Park). The auspicious opening, despite the cloudy weather, had thousands of people in attendance, with the trolleys lined up at the main entrance. Those who visited had only words of praise for the new amusement resort, culminating with the brilliant scene after dark when artificial light made the midway glow.
  • 1908: Electric Park, in Baltimore, Md., opened the season on May 30 with a new line of attractions and buildings, including a new Scenic Railway, the Dazy Dazer, designed by Breinig Construction Company. At 50 feet high, with a track length of 2900 feet, it opened in early June, headlining a new group of attractions presented during the 1908 season. With a new management team in control, they hired architects Copeland and Dole fresh from their design work at the Jamestown Exposition to assist with park expansion, including a new ballroom. The park also added a grand carousel, Shoot the Shoots (Chutes) and Helter Skelter. It marked the park’s largest expansion in its short history.

—Compiled by Richard Munch/NRCMA Historian