Saturday, November 22, 2014

Luna Park Pittsburgh and Kennywood's Lost Kennywood Section

Pittsburgh was once the home to one of the Luna Parks, the first real amusement park chain and the first to utilize electric lights. It was constructed by Frederick Ingersoll in 1905 but promptly closed in 1909 because he became bankrupt and was unable to pay to rebuild. The first photo here is the corner of Baum Boulevard (then Atlantic Ave) and Craig Street in the North Oakland section of Pittsburgh compared with the old park entrance.

The next photo here is the Lost Kennywood section that was built in the mid 90s that respects this original, yet sadly short lived, landmark. They also styled the original electric lighting present at the park.

Here you can see Brit and the spectacular water fountains and marble styled handrails. On the right you can see how these handrails and fountains are present at the original Luna Park. Additionally, the Lost Kennywood section was built around a Shoot the Chutes water ride, just as Luna Park was. In the following photo from 1913 of the Atherton Bridge being constructed, you can see Luna's Shoot the Chutes ride on the outer edge of the park. If Luna had survived, imagine how it could have utilized that ravine. It is likely that the park would have provided major competition in the area. In the just to the left of the arch you can see the water ride standing tall.
Completed bridge. I love these old photos.
Here is the western edge of the park
And below is a photo of a nearby railroad tunnel from the former Pittsburgh Junction Railroad. It has nothing to do with Luna, but it is nearby and pretty cool. The tunnel measures in at 2872 feet long and still in use. It was built way back in 1883. Instead of boring the tunnel, they simply dug a trench, built a structure, and covered it back over. They anticipated growth in this section of town, then one of the easternmost limits of the city. A suburban area would soon sprout up. Imagine that this is like the tunnel on Mr. Rogers for the Neighborhood Trolley taking us to part two of our stroll down Baum Boulevard. We will continue the stroll down Baum Boulevard on our Interesting Pennsylvania blog if you are interested in more non-coaster related history. 

All Luna photos are from the Library of Congress/Public Domain

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  1. Great post! The two views of the Atherton Avenue Bridge are actually held by the University of Pittsburgh's Archives in the Pittsburgh City Photographer Collection, and The archives also has this view of the park,

  2. I love the historical aspects of your posts! That bridge picture looks so "wrong" compared to modern designs. I will definitely be lurking on this blog. Keep up the great work.