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1911 amusement ride building boom

1911 amusement ride building boom

July 23, 1911: A spiral ride dominates the Pike in Long Beach.

An amusement ride construction boom swept Southern California 100 years ago. This image accompanied a Los Angeles Times July 23, 1911, story reporting:

A careful calculation shows that upwards of $4,000,000 has been invested within a few years in various amusement devices at the beaches near Los Angeles.

This sum covers only the roller coasters, merry-go-rounds, Ferris wheels, pier attractions, houses of mirth and similar contravenes to give a thrill or produce a laugh, and does not include hotels or institutions of that sort. Of this vast sum at least one-half, or $2,000,000, has been expended within the past year.

At no point on the Pacific or Atlantic coasts has there been a parallel of such lavish outpouring of money for outdoor entertainment of the masses … .

The Times article listed various beach community projects. For Long Beach, the Times reported:


At Long Beach a progressive community has expended more than $100,000 in providing a pleasure pier for the benefit of the public, and will add $70,000 to preserve the double-decked structure for all time. At the same beach $125,000 is represented in a bath-house of modern type, and more than $70,000 has been spent on providing a spiral dip, a merry-go-round, theaters and such other amusement devices as make the Pike a place of delight … .

This photo was published on the Sunday Times Industrial Section front page with an unusual crop – as shown below. Actually this type of crop was common in the Times 100 years ago. This image also was published in the L.A. Times 1998 postcard book “Times Gone By.”

The July 23, 1911, Los Angeles Sunday Times Industrial Section front page with cropping of the Long Beach amusement ride image. Credit: ProQuest.

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