Smile: A Picture History of Olympic Park, 1887-1965

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Rutgers University Press, 1983 - History - 176 pages
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In Smile, Alan A. Siegel chronicles the evolution of Olympic Park from a den of hedonism and intoxication in the 1880s into Essex County's most popular family entertainment site in the 1950s and 1960s. Under the fifty-year reign of Newark brewer Henry A. Guenther, millions of men, women, and children passed under the signs Smile and Learn to Play into what the legendary beer baron called a little bit of Coney Island, the circus, an old-fashioned beer garden, and Monte Carlo rolled into one. With its myriad games, attractions, performances, and restaurants, it was impossible to walk away from the park unsatisfied and not wishing for a return. Though the doors to Olympic Park have been closed for thirty years, it will forever reside in the memories of many as a towering monument on the cultural landscape of New Jersey in a simpler, more innocent, and less affluent time.
 

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Contents

Auf Nach Beckers Wald
7
A New Place of Enjoyment
12
Oceans of Beer
19
The Classiest Resort in America
25
For the Pleasure of its Patrons
41
Quite a Place in its Day
49
Olympic Park Made News
59
The Golden Age
67
A Sight Not to be Missed
106
Park Personalities
111
The Old Crowds Return
115
Steam in the Straightaway
133
Yielding at Last
140
Cherished Memories
168
Index
173
Acknowledgments
175

The Largest Pool in the East
83
Lower Prices and Tightened Belts
93

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About the author (1983)

Alan A. Siegel, Alan A. Siegel earned degrees from Rutgers College, Columbia University and Rutgers School of Law. He practices law in Chatham, New Jersey and researches state and local history. Siegel has written eight books and has twice won the New Jersey League of Historical Societies' Certificate of Excellence.

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