2005-08-12 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

A Trip To Pittsburgh Settled The Trip To Rockaway Mystery
From The Rockaway Museum by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

From The Rockaway Museum
by Emil Lucev, Curator
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

One of my contacts, made in my postcard collecting endeavor, stated that there was a fellow in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who could help to solve how a trip to Rockaway, wound up in a place called Luna Amusement Park, in the State of Ohio. So I contacted, visited, and voila – mystery solved.

During my many years of postcard collecting, I have learned that there were many Luna Park Amusement places built across the country and all were patterned after the famous Luna Park in Coney Island.

Many of the same rides and attractions at Coney Island were duplicated nationwide (under license) but Coney Island had a trip to Rockaway on a side-wheel steamboat.

This trip to Rockaway was made on a real two-masted sailboat that was mounted on a motorized railroad type flatcar. The name of the vessel was given as the alliance meaning unknown. The flatcar ran on railroad tracks around the park, and was said to be powered by a third-rail power system. I cannot see a third rail in the photo published in today’s Views, and an electrical (dc) system might have been used, similar to Ho Toy Trains. If not, a gasoline engine operated the ride. Can anyone clarify?

The postcard views appearing today show that this ride appeared in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio amusement parks almost a century ago. The only solution, to how the ride was to Rockaway was, given as that maybe the old inventor once rode a vessel to Rockaway! That means that no one knows!

Another name for the ride was Sea-On-Land – and it is possible that this was a version of a scenic railway coaster, since Coney Island had an automobile type of scenic railway, and experimented with a cannon coaster. The train of cars was to shoot out of a cannon atop the coaster and cross an open gap to complete the fast trip. It just didn’t quite work out.

The first view today is another angle showing the ride to Rockaway in Cleveland, Ohio Luna – and the other two show the dock and rail system layout at Cuyahoga Falls / Silver Lake, Ohio park. Very interesting, ay?

Another source did reveal that the boat went through scenic versions of rough seas and storm that were mechanically produced, after a spell of silvery seas both before and after.

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