I continue with twelve images from assorted New Jersey amusement parks over the years. The first two are bittersweet for me personally, as I visited this area, just 50 days before Hurricane Sandy demolished it in 2012. I can only imagine what it felt like for folks who had loved this area for years. For those of you interested, I have a mostly photographic remembrance from our trip to Casino Pier, in Seaside Heights, NJ, which includes a virtually complete documentation of the ghouls in Stillwalk Manor during a lights on walk through. It can be found at the following link. You have to cut and paste the link, I can’t get the program to let you click on it, sorry.
On to the postcards. In this busy first 1960’s view from Funtown USA, looking south along the boardwalk, Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, NJ, several classic kiddie rides, as well as a Jet Star roller coaster, and a small monorail type ride can be seen.
This next card from the 1960’s is from Casino Pier, and is a nice bird’s eye view of the park, showing a multitude of rides and attractions. Though it was substantially, if not completely different from this view when I visited in 2012, it seemed the same to me, with the rides crammed in everywhere, and everywhere something new to catch your eye.
Our next view is a linen postcard from the 1940’s. It shows the Giant roller coaster at Riverview Beach Park, in Pennsville, NJ. This ride is what is known as an out and back coaster, as you can see the hills receding into the distance.
Also from Riverview Beach in Pennsville NJ, comes this 1930’s white border view of the Lake Shore Line, which was probably an independent operator with a train ride that took passengers around the area since it is not titled Riverview Beach Park. The roller coaster from that park in the background also probably would have been mentioned had the park issued this card.
We move along to Wood Lynne Park, Camden, NJ for this view of the Scenic Railway, or Railroad, as this one is called. These early coasters debuted at the turn of the century, and were popular until advances in technology allowed for faster, more exciting rides. This card has a divided back. That, coupled with the style of printing dates this card to 1907-1918.
Next is a 1960’s chrome view of Bertrand Island Amusement Park, in Lake Hopatcong, NJ . The signs for the Aero Jet and Whip, and a fun house, a Laff In The Dark!, my second favorite amusement attraction after roller coasters. Speaking of coasters, a few good sized hills of the ride can be seen over the top of the Laff In The Dark!
In this linen 1940’s view of Jenkinson’s Kiddie Park, in Point Pleasant, NJ, the ability to use a small space is again to be admired. In this view alone there is a boat ride, carousel, Fire Truck ride, another flat ride of some sort, a circle swing type ride, and a miniature railroad.
The last five cards I’m presenting this volume are all from Palisade Park, Palisades, NJ. This beloved park, which began as a trolley park in 1898, closed it’s doors forever on the last day of operation, September 12th, 1971. Doomed by the increasing popularity, which spawned epic traffic jams, and the value of the land on which it stood, Developers and local citizens tired of living near a place that stood there before them rallied the local government to re-zone the area and drive the amusement park out. Palisades Park hung on for a final season, but closed forever in 1971, a victim of it’s own success.
This 1940’s linen card shows the Lake Placid Bobsled ride. This type of ride was popular for a brief time, in the 1930’s, but only eight of them were ever made from wood. The trains are on wheels, and rather than coast over track, these trains would slide and roll inside a wooden trough, that simulated bobsledding. This particular example ran from 1937-1946. A new wooden bobsled ride, The Flying Turns, opened at Knoebel’s Grove in Elysburg, PA in 2013 after many years of work.
This next view shows a great crowd of people in front of the roller coaster, and the Skooter ride, or bumper cars ride. I love the fashions and how well dressed everyone was for a day out of leisure. The card was sent by an Army Sgt, in 1944, and where the stamp went, it’s written in his hand, “Free”, apparently a perk for servicemen. I’m sure they pay for postage today. This card was mailed in 1944, but the white border shows that the card was printed in the 1930’s. This happens fairly frequently, as stores would buy huge numbers of postcards, and keep putting them out until they all sold, which may have taken years in some cases.
This next card is interesting as it is a drawing, the type most commonly seen on linen cards, yet the card is glossy, like 1960’s chrome cards, or modern cards. The chrome era started in the 1950’s, so this to me is an early chrome. I have not seen this card in a linen form, but I would not be surprised if it existed in that manner. The message on the back says they went to Palisades Park at 10pm, then got chop suey, and didn’t get home until 4 AM!
The next card is a chrome card from the 1960’s, and shows many rides including The Monster ride, a Circle Swing, a Ferris Wheel, and even a Rock-O-Plane in the middle rear.
Our last card this time, and our last Palisades Park card, shows the magnificent looking Cyclone Roller Coaster, it’s front edge dotted with game booths, and it’s midway crowded with happy people. This beautiful machine was razed with the rest of the park in 1971, and now only the memories of those who went there, and the ephemeral documents like postcards can recapture that time.
Join me next time, when I finish up New Jersey with Wildwood, NJ, and we hit some assorted parks in New York.
The type of card will often help one judge its age, as postcard manufacture went through several phases and changes over the years. The terms below will be what I use to describe cards, and will inform you what time frame those cards are from.
Private Mailing Card: 1850’s-1900 Marked on the back as such, only an address allowed on the back.
Undivided Back: 1900-1907 Most cards printed in Germany, address only on back of card, front may have space for message. All cards after 1907 are divided back, meaning both a message and an address may be written on the back
Early Chrome: Mostly German printed cards that have printing to the edges of a photographic image that’s been colored or a drawn image. 1900-1918.
White Border Cards: Mostly American printed starting 1918-1930’s. Generally inferiorly printed, especially the earlier ones, as American printing presses had not yet caught up with the superior German ones. Obviously World War 1 ended German dominance of the then very lucrative postcard printing market.
Linen Cards: These cards are characterized by a thin layer of linen that is glued over the paper prior to printing, giving them a non-smooth surface to the touch. 1940-s-early1950’s.
Chrome Cards: Postcards like you are used to today. Printed photographs on glossy stock. These date from the mid 1950’s until present, and are almost 100% of all new postcards made since the 1970’s. All cards prior to the 1970’s are called Standard Size, which indicates the pre-1970’s postcard size of 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches. Almost all postcards printed since the 1970’s have been 4 inches by 6 inches or what is known as Continental Size. Since I do not actively collect continental sized postcards, all my images are of standard sized cards.
Real Photo Postcard RPPC: This is a card which is an actual photograph printed on actual photographic paper, generally made in limited numbers by small independent photographers. They may date from 1900 until present day, and can be dated approximately by the markings on the back. They are the rarest and most sought after postcards by collectors.