Welcome back! It’s been quite a long time, but I’m back to discuss some more vintage postcards. In our alphabetical tour of the United States, we last stopped in Revere Beach Massachusetts. We pick up in the Bay State once again with this 1920-1930’s vintage white border postcard of the Greyhound roller coaster at Riverside Park in Agawam, MA, now known as Six Flags New England. Riverside Park had many coasters over the years, with The Greyhound being just one. It is no longer in operation at the park.
This second card from Riverside Park is a chrome view from the 1960’s. It shows the Thunderbolt roller coaster. While the entire area around the coaster has changed considerably, the Thunderbolt is still thrilling riders today at Six Flags.
We venture east, and then north to the seaside town of Salisbury, MA. There have been amusements here since the turn of the 20th century. This first view shows the Scenic Railway along the beach in Salisbury. The sandy beaches of Salisbury, have always drawn crowds, and amusements like this early roller coaster gave them something to spend money on when they were there. This card costs more than most roller coaster cards, as there are four separate signs advertising Moxie. Moxie collectors are willing to spend more than amusement park collectors, apparently.
This next view is one of my favorites. It shows the new roller coaster, The Skyrocket, as well as the Old Mill ride entrance. The coaster looks like the standard type seen at this time, in the early to mid 1920’s, just before ride designers began to design ever more wild and exciting rides. These were simpler times.
This next chrome view of Salisbury Beach shows the Fun-O-Rama amusement park that existed from the 1950’s until the late 1970’s. Today, small amusement areas within permanent buildings are the extent of the amusement industry in Salisbury Beach.
This last Salisbury card is one of the fantasy type cards. An artist’s rendition of what Salisbury Beach would look like in the future. One thing I find curious about in these views is the future’s reliance on flying machines, and monorail type public transport in the sky. Not once have a seen a scene of people walking around talking on cell phones!
We now travel west to a small lake in Lunenberg, MA. Lake Whalom has also been a tourist destination since the turn of the 20th century. Like many amusement areas of the era, these parks were built at the end of trolley lines, so that trolley operators would be profitable on the weekends. This first card shows the humble roots of many of these trolley parks, a nice wooded area, with picnic tables near an area of water, be it ocean or lake.
After a while, such simple amusements were not enough, and more elaborate measures were needed. This view shows an early figure eight roller coaster. Once ubiquitous, this humble ride is represented today by only one example, Leap The Dips in Altoona PA. This one at Whalom Park was gone by 1920, most probably, as that signifies the beginning of the golden age of coaster design.
The next view is a 1950-1960’s era chrome postcard of the popular Flyer Comet Roller Coaster, which thrilled riders from its building in 1940, until the park’s demise in 2006. In the 1990’s to make things interesting, a tunnel called the Black Hole was added to one of the back drops. It made things a bit more exciting, but ultimately, the Flyer Comet wasn’t a thrilling ride, but a fun zippy ride, that you could ride all day without feeling beaten up, a rare commodity in today’s world.
Finally we have a chrome aerial view of Whalom Park, showing the proximity of the Flyer Comet to Lake Whalom. I miss Whalom Park more for its walk through fun house than anything else. It had a barrel of fun, uneven stairs, a human roulette wheel, and many other attractions. It was exactly the type of place that lawyers have made it impossible to enjoy in the America of today.
For our sideshow cards this month, I have picked two very different performers. First up is Francesco Lentini, the three legged wonder. He actually had a fourth leg, growing out of the side of his third, but unlike the third, it was vestigial. He often used the third leg as a stool, and could kick a soccer ball with it. He had a long, fruitful career, and died in Florida in 1966 at the age of 85. I am showing the front and back of his card as he has valuable information about his life on the back. One nifty piece of information not included on the back of the card is the fact that Frank possessed two working sets of genitals.
Finally we have Mademoiselle Gabrielle, the half woman. This Swiss woman suffered from the same malady as the famous Johnny Eck, her body terminating at her hips. I have never seen any postcards of her presented any other way, except for having her sit on a small table or other flat surface. I’m sure it was the Swiss propriety that prevented any other poses.