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Coney Island at its zenith

(CONEY ISLAND.) STACY, CHARLES. Coney Island Panorama

Brooklyn, 1907

Gelatin silver print (9 x 48 in.). Light wear and fading. Framed.

This is a splendid panorama of Coney Island taken in 1907.

Beginning in 1824 Coney Island began to transition from carriage roads and steamship transport, with a relative lack of urban development, to a more vibrant touristic landscape. Due to its proximity to Manhattan, the island attracted a large number of visitors as early as the 1830s and 1840s. Between 1880 and WWII, Coney Island was the largest amusement area in the United States drawing millions of visitors a year.

Dreamland dominates this tremendous panoramic view, which was taken from the Shoot-the-Chutes feature. Built in 1904, Dreamland was intend- ed to surpass Luna Park and Steeplechase Park. To the left of Dreamland Tower, Luna Park’s central tower is visible in the distance. Dreamland was illuminated by one million lights and had a railway through a Swiss Alpine landscape, Venetian canals with gondolas, a recreation of the fall of Pompeii, a simulated submarine ride, the Fighting the Flames fire fighting exhibition carried out on a 250 ft. long, 6-story building, and countless other attractions and rides.

Considered one of the greatest amusement parks ever built, Dreamland was destroyed by a fire in 1911. The fire started, surprisingly, at a water attraction which was perhaps appropriately named Hell’s Gate. Dreamland’s role in amusement park history and impact on the American notion of what a park should be is notable considering its brief existence. This panorama was taken at the zenith of that period.

This is a rare opportunity to own a large format panorama of Coney Island during the golden age of American amusement parks.