Luna Park

Luna Park opened in 1905 as the second in an international chain of amusement parks (all known as Luna Park) opened by Frederick Ingersoll, owner of the Ingersoll Construction Company. Ingersoll's company got its start building vending machines, roller coasters, and other amusement park rides. By 1901, however, the company had started building entire amusement parks as well. The two first Luna Parks opened in Cleveland and Pittsburgh in 1905. At its peak, Ingersoll's company ran over 40 amusement parks across the country and in such exotic locales as Mexico City and Berlin, Germany.

Luna Park was Euclid Beach Park's most significant competition throughout the early part of the 1900s. Unlike Euclid Beach Park, however, Luna Park charged admission at its gates and sold alcohol to its guests. Portions of the park were copied from the Luna Park (unaffiliated with Ingersoll's parks of the same name) in New York City's Coney Island. The park covered 35 acres of hilly ground in Cleveland's Woodland Hills neighborhood. In order to reach the entrance gates of Luna Park, patrons had to climb a steep flight of stairs. Later, an escalator was installed. Once inside, the park had a number of popular attractions, including a carousel, a ferris wheel, roller coasters, a funhouse, a dance hall, and a roller skating rink. The Luna Bowl, a 20,000 seat stadium on the park's grounds, played host to a number of sporting events and was home to two of Cleveland's earliest professional football teams in the 1920s: the Cleveland Bulldogs and the Cleveland Panthers.

Luna Park lost much of its popularity in the 1920s. Alcohol Prohibition during this time seriously hurt the beer-serving park (Euclid Beach was alcohol free throughout its history). The Great Depression led to a further decline in attendance, and most of the park was demolished in 1931.

By 1940, Luna Park had been replaced by the Woodhill Homes housing project.

Images

Luna Park, Pittsburgh

Luna Park, Pittsburgh

The first two of Frederick Ingersoll's Luna Parks opened in Pittsburgh and Cleveland in 1905. His amusement park chain grew to include over 40 parks in cities across the world. Despite his many successes, Ingersoll committed suicide in 1927, and most of his parks had either shut down or been sold by the early 1930s. Luna Park Pittsburgh closed in 1909, unable to compete with nearby Kennywood amusement park. Image courtesy of the J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection View File Details Page

The Old Shoe

The Old Shoe

A giant slide, the Old Shoe (inspired by the fairy tale) was located in between Edisonia and the Chateau Alphonse fun house. Image courtesy of the J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection View File Details Page

Night Scene, ca. 1910

Night Scene, ca. 1910

The midway at Luna Park was lit up at night by thousands of lights. To the left can be seen a sign for "Edisonia." Inside, guests could listen to a phonograph, watch a moving picture on the kinetoscope, or check out another of Thomas Edison's state of the art entertainment devices. The lagoon at Luna Park was a focal point of the park and the spot where the boats on the "Shoot the Chutes" ride ended their runs. Image courtesy of the J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection View File Details Page

"Oriental Performers"

"Oriental Performers"

This postcard shows the "Oriental Performers" who put on shows in Luna Park. Here, given the dress of the performers and the camels they pose with, "Oriental" probably refers to Middle Eastern or Turkish cultures. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections View File Details Page

Luna Park Motorcycle Races

Luna Park Motorcycle Races

The Luna Stadium motordrome was introduced on May 18, 1912. The cycles shown here reached speeds of up to 100 mph. After an accident in 1914, the racetrack was closed. Image Courtesy of Western Reserve Historical Society View File Details Page

Woodhill Homes, 1939

Woodhill Homes, 1939

The Woodhill Homes public housing project was constructed on a section of the former site of Luna Park in the late 1930s. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections View File Details Page

Japanese Village

Japanese Village

Inside the main gates of Luna Park was the Japanese Village. One visitor called it "the best exhibition of its kind in the United States." Visitors could experience a tea room, Geisha girls, Japanese music and dancing, and curio shops. Image courtesy of the J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection View File Details Page

Human Roulette Wheel

Human Roulette Wheel

Brave visitors to Luna Park could take a ride on the "Human Roulette Wheel." The large building to the right of the ride was known as the Casino and featured a restaurant and dancehall where live bands played in front of huge crowds of dancers. Image courtesy of the J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection View File Details Page

Main Entrance

Main Entrance

Visitors to Luna Park ascended a steep staircase to reach its main gates. Later, the park installed an early form of an escalator here. Guests who rode the trolley to the park (this was the most popular way of getting there) were dropped off right near the bottom of the staircase. Image courtesy of the J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

“Luna Park,” Cleveland Historical, accessed March 27, 2017, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/259.

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