Tillie is the nickname of two murals of a grinning figure that were painted on the side of the Palace Amusements building in Asbury Park, New Jersey, United States. Tillie is an amusement park "fun face", painted over the winter of 1955-1956. The name Tillie is likely a nod to George C. Tilyou, the owner of Steeplechase Park in Coney Island, New York, which features similar grinning face signage.
In popular culture
Tillie has inspired multiple merchandise based on it. Additionally, the mural has been featured in movies, Weird NJ magazine,[when?] TV shows such as The Sopranos, and a famous photo of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band early in their career.
Like many other boardwalk areas in the United States, such as Coney Island, New York, Asbury Park had fallen on hard times. Palace Amusements, built in 1888, closed in 1988, and the historic building fell into disrepair. When the Palace site was targeted for demolition and redevelopment, Asbury Park residents, Tillie fans, and Springsteen fans formed a grassroots effort to save Tillie, lobbying the state to block the demolition or at least remove the mural beforehand. The group was partially successful, as the left-side Tillie, as well as the "bumper girl" murals, were successfully removed. The right-side Tillie was demolished. From June 8 to June 11, 2004, Save Tillie volunteers removed the mural from the Palace building. The building was demolished in July 2004. Tillie and other murals from the Palace building were to be incorporated into a new building on the site. The two wall sections with the Tillie mural are presently stored in Asbury Park on city property.
- MaryAnn Spoto (2009-05-16). "Asbury Park grinning icon needs better storage place, preservationists say". NJ.com.
- "Beyond the Palace". Save Tillie. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
- Karen DeMasters (2004-04-02). "Asbury Park Building Will Vanish, but Its Grin Will Remain". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
- "Weird NJ remembers forgotten faces of Palace Amusements, Asbury Park". Asbury Park Press. 2014-03-09.
- Palace Amusements and other Abandoned Asbury Park Landmarks as Featured in Weird NJ
- Photos of Tillie's home- Palace Amusements
- Backstreets.com: Save Tillie - on the Springsteen news site Backstreets
- asburyboardwalk.com - The Asbury Park Boardwalk: Past and Present. A collection of stories, photos, postcards and advertisements of the Boardwalk and City of Asbury Park.