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Help me identify this antique woodie!


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Restoring old family photos I came across this photo that is circa 1921 taken in San Francisco (I believe this was at Playand At The Sea)..Im curious, could this be an old wooden side friction coaster in the background, or possibly a log flume or something since I havent seen wooden side frictions with enclosed bottom before. It's interesting, whatever it is.

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I don't think it is a coaster. I have seen plenty of pictures of side-friction coasters and usually they have a lot more support and the bottom isn't as covered. It looks so covered that I would venture to say it's some kind of water ride or maybe like a go kart type of ride with maybe some bobsleds or such, they didn't have go karts back then like we do now.

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I did some sleuthing and found that it is a slide, but not at Playland-at-the-Sea. A postcard from around that time shows how the park was separated from the beach by a road and parking lot.

 

It certainly wasn't the Bob Sled Dipper, which was this:

 

Nor was it the Chute-the-Chutes:

 

In addition, none of the buildings mentioned in the Wikipedia article are that hexagon-like building in the background.

 

 

BUT

 

It was a fun-slide at Long Beach in California. Taking a look at this postcard clearly shows the building in the background as well as the circular nature of the slide.

 

Hope this helped!

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Wow excellent find..I guess it was mislabelled as SF. That sure looks awful wide to just be a slide! Surprised this was in long beach...Didn't know my great grandparents ever went down there - that's my great grandmother in the photo. (They lived in northern california and this is 1921, a weekend in southern california is obviously much more difficult then than it is today)

 

Apparently the location in question was The Long Beach Pike, and in the photograph is a wooden spiral slide called "Niagra Barrel". Fascinating! Thanks for the input, I knew this was the perfect community to ask!

 

I have another really old photo with what appears to be wooden coaster in it..perhaps I should post that one as well.

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I'm positive this one is in San Francisco because it's in a pack of photos from the International Exposition in San Francisco and was taken on Feb 21st, 1939. At first glance the frame work screamed roller coaster, but after looking more closely it looks way too big and not like a coaster at all..but intriguing as hell whatever it is. I have a much higher resolution scan but I shrunk it to fit here.

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^ Looks like a ski jumping hill.

 

Most definitely a ski jump hill, especially by looking at this image.

Source: http://spotsunknown.com/photos-of-san-francisco-in-1939/ [Warning, some part of this page isn't really suitable for a young audience.]

Wow, thanks a ton Loefet, TPR comes through again, thats not just similar that's the exact same one! I couldnt tell from my image but its quite obvious in yours where you can see a skier jumping. I never would have guessed that it was a ski jump in San Francisco!

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OK one more challenge..this was in the same pack of photos as the last one, so I believe this is still in the Bay Area, but is that the Golden Gate in the top right? Would that make this Alameda? I know there was a theme park on Alameda back then called Neptune Beach but this doesnt look like that.

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Looks a little too far north to be Alameda. You are correct that Alameda did have a park Neptune Beach.

 

 

This looks more toward West Oakland/Emeryville. I don't see the Bay Bridge in the shot so it was either not constructed yet or the image is too far north of it. Doing some digging, there was a place known as Shellmound Park in Emeryville, CA (appearing to have sat where Ikea sits now). I'll update this post if I find any photos of it.

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Great photo! That is a photo from the 1939-1940 Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island. That is indeed the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance with the city of San Francisco across the water (Oakland, Emeryville, and Berkeley would be to the back of the photographer). After a bit of searching I can't seem to find the name of the roller coaster pictured.

 

The tall narrow building is apart of the "Chinese Village," the low-rise structures behind the tower is the "Cavalcade of the Golden West," and the large building to the left of the photo is the "Court of Pacifica" end of the main promenade. A quick Google will turn up great maps of the Expo.

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I know this doesn't answer your question, but I find it very interesting that the coaster has the same layout as Thunderbolt at Six Flags New England. A quote from Thunderbolt's RCDb page says,

the owner of Riverside Park, Ed Carroll, purchased the track, trains and the plans of the Cyclone from the World's Fair.

So V2-dude's find certainly seems accurate.

 

 

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^ Wow! Outstanding find!

I think this might be a twin though and not the exact same coaster - at the same time as the intl expo on san francisco the actual worlds fair was going on in new york, this was probably the one from new york..still its awesome that I may get to ride basically the same coaster that my great grandparents rode in 1939!

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^ Wow! Outstanding find!

I think this might be a twin though and not the exact same coaster - at the same time as the intl expo on san francisco the actual worlds fair was going on in new york, this was probably the one from new york..still its awesome that I may get to ride basically the same coaster that my great grandparents rode in 1939!

 

The 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition "was opened initially from February 18, 1939 through October 29, 1939. It opened again from May 25, 1940 through September 29, 1940." The Thunderbolt at SFNE was infact not at SFNE/Riverside Park first, but the 1939/1940 New York World's Fair. It was at the NY World's Fair from 5/6/1939 to 1940. It then opened at SFNE in 1941.

 

Because of the fact that the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition and the 1939/1940 New York World's Fair were occuring at the same time, AND that they were both World's Fairs, it is quite likely that both fairs had the same model of woodie. However, the Thunderbolt at SFNE is for sure from the NY fair, and not SF.

 

http://rcdb.com/3720.htm (for when it was at the NY World's Fair)

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Great info on Thunderbolt! I wonder what happened to the west coast version? That's one of those questions I find asking myself whenever I do any amusement park history research. For instance, I have been trying to track down the fate of Idora Park's merry-go-round, but no luck. (Idora Park Oakland, not Ohio)

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