(click to enlarge photos)
Through this newspaper’s many years of sponsoring and promoting events, “The Trojans Big Day” for July 5, 1932 was exceedingly spectacular. It drew more than 15,000 “youngsters” – mostly – to the then but two year old Playland amusement park at the south end of Bitter Lake & west of Aurora Avenue. The kids got in free and were also given 13 rides, although the next day’s paper confessed that the event was so crowded that many could not use all their freebie tickets.
Among the attractions forming long lines were the Giant Whirl, the “Dodge ‘Em”, the “Water Scooter” a miniature railway, the mysterious “Ye Olde Mill,” and the Dipper, a sturdy roller coaster famous throughout the Northwest for its thrills. (I first yearned to ride it as a young teen in the early 50s on a visit to Seattle from Spokane.)
[To read the full-age clip above DOUBLE-CLICK it.]
Pictured here (far above on top) is Playland’s huge Fun House with its comedic architecture. This is one of several press photos included in a next-day “Pictorial Story” the Times ran covering its picnic. The both silly and sensational attractions to ride inside, including revolving barrels, spinning disks and “Shoot the Chutes,” were more free passages for limber young Trojans. On other Depression-era days it cost 15 cents to enter the Fun House, but not for long. Near midnight, August 29, 1933, it burned to the ground.
Playland, however, kept having fun thru the summer of 1960. Its charms and thrills are, no doubt, still savored by many Pacific readers, including the trio in Jean’s “repeat” posing with examples of well-preserved chalk ware, they called it. These were prizes won at Playland concessions. Kay and Hal Schlegel with, far-left, Vicki Stiles, director of the Shoreline Historical Museum, are Playland experts.
The coverage of the amusement park in the Shoreline Museum is proof of Kay, Hal and Vicki’s expertise. A visit to the museum is also recommended for its repeated showing of Greg Brotherton’s hour-long documentary “Finding Playland.” The museum, which may be first sampled on its webpage www.shorelinehistoricalmuseum.org is located at 18501 Linden Ave. N.. That’s somewhat near Bitter Lake. On director Stiles authority, one folksy explanation for how Bitter Lake got its unsweetened name was that it lost a long and sour argument with its nearby neighbor Haller Lake.
I’ll add a few close-up shots of the “chalk ware” prizes you mention above. These examples were in pristine condition and, according to Hal Schlegel, quite rare. What’s more, to my mind, each had an uncanny resemblance to its bearer.
Anything to add, Paul? We inserted most of our extras into the body of the text, but may still conclude with a few more, including at the bottom another aerial study, these times over Bitter Lake in 1929, before Playland, in 1936, well after the Playland fire of 1933, and for comparison another thankful borrow from Google’s sky.
Ron Edge has linked the above photo of Melby’s Echo Lake Tavern to our feature about it last Spring. Included as “extras” for it are a number of other images and stories that relate to the neighborhood. Once more thanks to Ron.