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Coney Island (Pittsburgh)

Coney Island was an amusement park on Neville Island in Neville Township, just outside the city limits of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The park operated in 1907 and part of 1908. It was styled after Luna Park at Coney Island, hence the name of the park.

This wasn’t the only amusement park in the city using this concept – Pittsburgh’s Luna Park in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh had been operating since 1905. 

The park was operated by the Coney Island Amusement Company. It was chartered on February 5, 1906, by Harrison P. Dilworth, C.J. Griffith, and Captain John F. Klein, with a value of $10,000, for the purpose of constructing an amusement park on Neville Island, Pittsburgh, PA.

The park was designed by architect Stephen Crute, of New York, with much of the engineering and construction being done by G.H. French, also of New York. They had designed a number of other parks including the White City parks in Chicago, Cleveland, Worcester, Massachusetts, and Savin Rock, Connecticut; Dreamland at Coney Island, New York; as well as the Oaks at Portland, Oregon.

John Crute, brother of Stephen, was manager of construction of Coney Island. John Hicks was the designer of the scenic railway roller coaster, called Figure Eight, and the chute the chute.

Construction for the park began on December 1, 1906. They had several riverboats for transportation. The Pittsburgh Transit Authority also built a station near the park named “Coney Island.” The park was supposed to open in early May 1907, but a flood in March delayed construction significantly.

The park opened June 8, 1907, with a formal grand opening on June 29, 1907. The entrance of “Cool Coney” featured a 175 foot tall tower building in a Moroccan style. PR for Coney Island stressed multiple times in newspapers that the park would not be in final operating condition on June 8, but that it would be fully finished for the June 29 opening.

Rides included the previously mentioned roller coaster, Figure Eight, a carousel called Merry-go-Round, and a Chute the Chute. Attractions included a bowling alley, nickelodeon, penny arcade, shooting gallery, German Village, Japanese Pavilion, and the Vaudeville Building. There was also a 20,000 square feet dance hall, a skating rink, 13 concession booths, and a photograph gallery.

The park operated for about a full season in total between 1907 and 1908. The park shut down during the summer of 1908. The Coney Island Amusement Company remained tied up in legal limbo as the sale of the company was held and reversed multiple times. The last court action for the company was seen in 1914.

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