Luna Park, Pittsburgh

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For other amusement parks known by the same name, see Luna Park.
Luna Park
4a12742a.jpg
The entrance to the park
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°27′12″N 79°57′04″W / 40.45329°N 79.95123°W / 40.45329; -79.95123Coordinates: 40°27′12″N 79°57′04″W / 40.45329°N 79.95123°W / 40.45329; -79.95123
Owner Frederick Ingersoll
Opened 1905
Closed 1909 (1909)
Area 16 acres (6.5 ha)

Luna Park was an amusement park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, from 1905 to 1909.[1] Constructed and owned by Frederick Ingersoll, the park occupied a 16 acre[2] hilly site bounded by Baum Boulevard, North Craig Street, and Centre Avenue, and included roller coasters, picnic pavilions, carousels, a fun house, a Ferris wheel, a roller rink, a shoot-the-chutes ride, a concert shell, a dance hall, bumper cars, and a baby incubator exhibit. In its brief existence, the park featured regular performances of bands, acrobatic acts, animal acts, horse riders, and aerial acts.[3]

Pittsburgh's Luna Park was the first Ingersoll park of that name (out of 44)[1] (Luna Park, Cleveland, also owned and built by Ingersoll, opened soon afterward), and the first amusement park to be covered with electrical lighting (67,000 light bulbs).[3] The park cost $375,000 to construct; re-creating it from scratch would cost approximately $8,500,000.[1]

The Pittsburgh and (the similar) Cleveland Luna Parks were the beginnings of the world's first amusement park chain: by 1929 (the year of Ingersoll's death), 44 Luna Parks were constructed around the world. Remnants of the entertainment empire remain, from Mexico City (the park is now called Luna Loca) to Melbourne to Athens (now called Ta Aidonakia).[1]

The cost of upgrading and maintaining his amusement parks proved too much for Ingersoll as he was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1908.[3] Several of the Luna Parks were sold to others; Pittsburgh's park was closed in 1909 in the face of competition of a second trolley park nearby, the older (and still-existing) Kennywood Park (actually, Luna Park burnt down and Ingersoll did not have the finances to rebuild it. The following year, his construction company built a roller coaster for his former rival). Ironically, when Kennywood expanded its fairgrounds in 1995, its new Lost Kennywood section was patterned after its former competitor,[4] centered around a shoot-the-chutes ride and having a one-third-scale replica of the Luna Park entrance as a "gateway" to the park.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Luna Park's luminary: Entrepreneur/roller coaster designer deserves his due - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1 September 2008
  2. ^ Kinnear v. Scenic Railways Company of America appellate court ruling, 4 January 1909, reported in The Atlantic Reporter (Anotated), volume 72 (West Publishing Company 1909)
  3. ^ a b c d Jim Futrell, Amusement Parks of Pennsylvania (Flagpole Books, 2002) ISBN 0-8117-2671-1
  4. ^ History of Kennywood Park