Before there was the internet to fill our leisure time, amusement parks were the main go-to attraction for people looking for fun. By the early 1900’s there were hundreds of them, often near the seaside. Dreamland in Coney Island, NY was the brainchild of a wealthy real estate developer in Brooklyn and designed to be the most elegant of its kind. It opened in the spring of 1904.

Contrasting with the garish colors of the other parks in Coney Island, Dreamland’s architecture was painted a pristine white. The park offered high-class entertainment, trained animal shows, a “midget-village”, thrill rides, roller coasters and a railway that took visitors past a Swiss landscape and Venetian-style canals with gondolas. Additionally, it boasted a central tower with one million electric light bulbs.

dreamland-electric-towerentrance-Dreamland-coney-island-colorDreamland1901 Dreamland. Coney IslandDreamland
Sadly, in 1911 some last-minute repairs during the night before opening day somehow caused light bulbs to explode and a fire started. Due to the use of highly flammable building materials, the fire quickly spread and by morning the park was destroyed. It was never rebuilt.


*Most of these images are in the public domain, some come from the Library of Congress.