Exploring Playland's Past

Ocean Beach Bulletin was lucky enough to score an early copy of the new book, “San Francisco's Playland at the Beach: The Early Years” by local historian James Smith.  While the history of a lost oceanfront amusement park might not be your thing, the book is packed with 400 photos and illustrations of the park in its glory years.  OBB explains:

Smith’s book shows some of the best-known Playland rides in their earliest incarnations: the Aeroplane Swing; the Dodg-Em bumper cars; construction of the Shoot the Chutes water ride that was the first big attraction to the area (excluding the carousel and perhaps the Pacific Ocean). Check out the 1920s kids waiting in line wearing paperboy caps, ties and knickers. View the extravagant nuttiness and racist iconography of Topsy’s Roost, a dining and dancing venue with slides from elevated “chicken coop” booths to the dance floor below. Topsy, a ragamuffin character from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” smiles in pickaninny glory on the restaurant façade. San Francisco was no island of racial sensitivity when it came to selling chicken dinners in the 1920s.

The post goes on the talk about getting beat up for your It's-It money and whiskey being sold in coffee cups.  Sounds like it was my kind of place.

Read on or buy the book.

Comments (1)

This place is definitely on my Top Twenty Time Travel Destinations. Thanks for the heads up on yet more awesome Playlandia.

The movie was pretty sweet, especially since there were a lot of old-timers at the Balboa telling their own stories. AND the Balboa sells Its-Its and most concessions for Normal Prices, not Let’s Pretend We’re In A Different Currency Like At The Airport Prices.