Wonderland by Night

At the beginning of the twentieth century, electricity still was not in all houses, and the thrill and wonder of electric lights made them a staple of amusement parks. Most had a Tower of Light to celebrate electric lighting. Wonderland did not, but its attractions were studded with lights. No color photographs of the park exist, but you can get an idea of what it looked like from painted postcards, colored photographic postcards, and even from some of the black and white images on this page. The above image shows the Walnut Street entrance at night, with the red, white, and blue shield lit up, the word “Wonderland” lit up, and each of the minarets of the Beautiful Orient completely lit.

This shows the tower of the Shoot the Chutes and the bridge across it. To the right you can see the Carousel building

This is a postcard made up of four reduced images of other postcards, each showing Wonderland Lights at night. The top image is the same as the previous image, but hand-colored.

The next one down shows the buildings at the end of the Lagoon — The Theater at the right, with the Fatal Wedding next to it and Hale’s Tours to the left of that building. To the left you can see the torii of the Japanese Gardens lit up. In the middle left is Love’s Journey, and at the extreme left is the Aerial Swing. Because this is a long-time exposure you can’t make out the individual cars and their cables (with light along their lengths), because they all blend into a blurred cone of light.

The third image down shows the Beautiful Orient (with the lights on the towers shown much more colorful than in the image at the top of this webpage) and the Restaurant/Ballroom to the left of it.

The image at the bottom shows the view from the top of the Shoot the Chutes ride, looking toward the Lagoon and, ultimately, the ocean.

Each of the “sub-postcards” in this image is surrounded by glitter, which is why the outlines look so odd.

The above two postcards show two different scenes by night. The upper postcard shows the Administration Building/Walnut Street Entrance as seen from inside the park at night. To its left is a rare glimpse of the Penny Arcade. Next to that is the Theater, and at the far left is the Fatal Wedding, with each letter in its sign lit up.

The bottom image shows the Beaver Street/Beach Entrance by night. The red cone you can make out through the lights on the bridge is , again, a time-exposure of the Aerial Swing, lit this time with red lights.

The above is a newspaper photo showing the end of the Lagoon at night. This is from 1907, so the building at the extreme right says “Under the Sea” in lights, rather than “Fatal Wedding”. Next to it is The Rocky Mountain Holdup. In front of that is a conical sales booth. In the center is Love’s Journey, and to the left of that is the new Band Pavilion, built for the 1907 season. At the top left is the Circle Swing, which seems to have been stationary for the duration of the exposure, because the cars are clearly hanging straight down, and the lights at the top have not blurred into a complete cone of light.

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