The Lower Midway
Large and imposing, Venice looms overhead. The crowds are thick for this ever popular attraction. The booklet says:
From the 1907 Booklet (its first season)
The eighth wonder of the world, from an amusement standpoint, is surely the reproduction of Venice - the city that bewilders and captivates with her glory, her color, her canals, her arching bridges, her churches and historic buildings, her charms - now constructed at Willow Grove Park. ... a journey in a gondola through the various canal-streets will be one never forgotten. ... most costly of its kind ever produced. Of the twenty odd scenes represented, mention may be made here of the last.. which is nearly seven hundred feet in length.... expert scenic painters, modelers and builders have been engaged for more than a year. The length of the gondola journey through “Venice” is only a few feet short of half a mile. (with views on both sides, that totals nearly a mile of scenery). At no time does one gondola of visitors see another gondola.
The front of the building is almost one hundred feet wide and over 50 ft. tall. It represents the landing of the Grand Canal and here the visitor enters his gondola. ... Altogether there are upwards of six thousand electric lights in various parts of the structure.
The promotional booklet of 1907 contains 29 paragraphs to describe this new ride and the scenes which can be seen.
Reaching the bottom of the Midway, a quick right takes us to the Tours of the World. The booklet says:
(U) Tours of the World (1906)
“Don’t fail to board one of the Pullman Observation Cars at WGP and make a “Tour of the World”. After the conductor’s “All Aboard”, the signal is sent to the engineer, and the train pulls out of the station. Now begins the flying tour of the of the world, passing rapidly from one city to another, through tunnels, across high bridges, along pretty rivers and fertile valleys. Beginning with a tour in France, Switzerland, Asia and the Far East. Then a remarkable journey from the (US) Pacific coast, through the Grand Canyon and resorts of the West.” - (from 1907 Promotional Booklet)
Unlike other rides, the passenger sat on the railroad car, and moving pictures taken from trains traveling in various parts of the world are shown on the screens to the sides of the cars.
Turning back around, we reach the bottom of the Midway and encounter the second Carousel. Built in 1902 and at the opposite end of the Midway from the other Carousel, it's housed in a squared shaped building. The booklet points out:
(T) Two Carrousels
There are two inviting Carrousels of Merry - go rounds, both equipped with the latest improvements. the larger Carrousel has animals that are fitted with a mechanical device that gives them a jumping motion; they are an irresistible attraction for both old and young.
We've reached the bottom of the Midway. Ahead of us towers the most impressive of Willow Grove Park's amusements, the massive and popular Mountain Scenic Railway. Let's go for a ride.
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