Smile: A Picture History of Olympic Park, 1887-1965
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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Aborn Opera acts afternoon amusement park athletic attractions August auto Baby Parade ball ballroom Basile's beautiful Becker Becker's Woods beer garden boys Bubbles cars cents Christian Kurz Club comic concessionaires contest crowds dance hall dancers dancing pavilion dogs Ed Ball enjoy entertainment Essex County favorite featured feet flowers gate German Gilbert and Sullivan girls H.M.S. Pinafore harness racing held Henry Guenther horses Irvington Jersey Joe Basile John Philip Sousa July June kiddies Labor Day later Maplewood Marathon Mardi Gras ment merry-go-round Newark night Olympic Park Olympic's opera house park's patrons Penny Arcade performance picnic grove played pony pool popular prizes races reported restaurant ride riders rink Robert roller coaster Schmidt season skating Skee Ball Springfield Avenue stage stand summer Sunday swimming theatre thousands thrill ticket track trained trapeze trees trolley Tumble Bug vaudeville visitors week wheels youngsters