Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Drive: Orphans Going to Coney Island in Autos 6/7/11

Although a month earlier Mr. Benjamin Briscoe had promised to underwrite the expense of a luncheon for 5,000 New York orphans at Dreamland on June 7th,* we are absolutely certain that's not where those vehicles crammed with flag-waving children were going on that day.

[Date: Monday, May 8, 1911   Paper: Springfield Daily News (Springfield, Massachusetts)   Page: 6  
This entire product and/or portions thereof are copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004.

[Orphans Going to Coney Island in Autos 6/7/11. Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA,]

Why am I so sure? Because in the very early morning hours of May 27th, the day Dreamland was scheduled to open for the 1911 season, workers were putting finishing touches on the "Hellgate" ride when a fire broke out that reduced the park to ashes by morning.**

[Scenes At Coney Island Fire; Dreamland May Be Lost For Ever
Date: Sunday, May 28, 1911   Paper: Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey)   Page: 1  
This entire product and/or portions thereof are copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004.Source:]

Since the Library of Congress website is offline due to equipment maintenance activities this weekend I've turned to Shorpy and the New York Times*** for more information about the Orphans' "Motor Outing" on that long-ago rainy day.

[Coney Is Captured by An Orphan Army, New York Times 8 June 1911]

[Coney Island: New York's Playground, Steeplechase Park & Luna Park]

Thanks to the glories of crowdsourcing and flickr tags, the lead vehicle in the first photo has been identified as a German-built B├╝ssing 6 Ton Truck. I have no idea what the chain-driven truck in the second picture could be but it is pretty awesome.

*Which was a Wednesday, not a Sunday, but bear with me. Also I don't have any personal connection to New York, Coney Island or any of those orphans but had to post about this event because I love the images.
**For an excellent account of the fire, look here. The newspaper headline was prophetic--it was never rebuilt. This video has a history of Dreamland.

[Coney Island: New York's Playground, Dreamland]

***You can read the entire article (which includes a "Suffragette Sentiment") at this link.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. That was very interesting, film and all. I think there were other amusement parks built later, but I bet not out of papier mache and wood with 1911 electric wiring and hot tar buckets. OMG, what were they thinking? Imagine if it happened during the day. I need a chain drive truck.