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Midway Plaisance at Venice

Midway Plaisance at Venice

April 1911: The closed Midway Plaisance at Venice awaits the wrecking crew to make way for a roller coaster.

This photo accompanied a story in the April 3, 1911, Los Angeles Times:

All that remains of the historic old Midway Plaisance at Venice will soon become a memory. The unique attraction which Gaston and Ferdinand Akoun made famous in the early days of that quickly builded resort by the sea are to be wrecked, to make way for a new and unique riding device declared to abound in thrills, to be known as the “Giant Safety Racing Coaster.”

Thomas W. Prior, who is to be at the head of this hair-raising project, has arrived at the seaside, fresh from Chicago. Early tomorrow morning he will have an army of laborers on the ground to accomplish the razing of Midway. Work will be prosecuted with vigor, to the end that the new attraction may be ready for formal dedication to the public on or before June 15. …

The ringing out of the old and the ringing in of the new serve to revive memories of the days when the Midway of Venice was a veritable babel of tongues, with the pretty Princess Rajah and her wiggling dance as the headline attraction. At a later period the Turkish Theater, in which the dashing princess deported before the bald heads of uncrowned kings, the Sells-Floto circus maintained winter quarters for two seasons. It was in the Midway that bold but youthful robbers despoiled the Alaskan placer mine of its brass nuggets, which represented the royal metal, and it was here that the crocodiles on the farm shed tears over meager patronage. …

The Midway, twice unsuccessfully tried by fire, at no period in the variegated history proved a paying venture. Today it will begin to yield up the ghost, in response to the present day demand, which is for a ride that carries a genuine thrill with every foot of the course covered.

On July 1, 1911, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Giant Safety Racing Coaster was opening. It was named “Race Thru the Clouds” and was the ride sensation of the season.

The Midway Plaisance at Venice opened in 1906 and closed in 1910.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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1 Comment

  1. February 15, 2015, 7:51 am

    Reblogged this on gravitybrake and commented:
    Neat blog post showing the area around Windward Circle, from 1911. It’s hard to believe this is what it looked like.

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