Love’s Journey was a sort of “Tunnel of Love” ride, but it was completely unlike any Tunnel of Love you’re likely to have heard of. It wasn’t a “dark ride”, where a boat meanders through dark corridors, possibly decorated with romantic tableaux. It was a brand new state-of-the-art attraction that hadn’t even been granted its patent yet. And it had a fascinating story that went with it.
Love’s Journey was the brainchild of Herbert H. Pattee. He had been a Broadway actor who abruptly changed the course of his career and decided to become an inventor
At first he designed furntiuyre, patenting hinges and the like. But he started designing amusement park rides. One of them was a “Ball Coaster”, in which the passengers would be strapped to the sides of a steel ball and rolled down a roller coaster-like track. Fortunately, this was never built. It would probably have result in serious injuries or death.
Love’s Journey was not so outrageous. It was a complex and ingenious ride in which a couple would be placed in a special “car” suspended by ropes at all four corners. Pattee even took out a Design Patent on the cars, which were covered in hearts and cupids:
The ride ran through a circular building divided into regular sections. His patent (which wouldn’t be granted until after Wonderland opened) shows eight such sections, but it could be any even number. The patent shows a top view and a side view:
They hired children to act as “cupids”, dressing them up in heart-festooned costumes Here are four of them in one of the cars:
At the end of the ride, a trough automatically dumped confetti on the heads of the couple in the car.
Pattee himself came to Wonderland to supervise the ride’s installation and to do any troubleshooting. He then stayed on to observe the ride in action, probably so that he could make changes and improvements based upon the reactions of ridegoers.
The unshakably single designer swore he wouldn’t get married, but he was smitten when he saw Mabel/Maybelle Scott Symonds of Swampscott, Massachusetts get on the ride with her date, and reportedly told those nearby that he was going to marry her. The third time she got aboard (she must really have liked the ride), he made sure to get on with her. Shortly after, he proposed.
H.H. Pattee and Maybelle Symonds, probably in front of one of the Love’s Journey decorations.
Their story continues here.