1906 Season

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1906 Season
Manager(s) Joseph W. Dusenbury, president
Will J. Dusenbury, manager
The Olentangy Park Company
Opening Day April 29, 1906 (Sundays)
May 13, 1906 (daily)
Closing Day September 1906
New Attractions Carousel
Creation or The Great Hereafter
Dancing Pavilion (Second)
Egyptian Mystery
Fantasma
Photographic Gallery
Roller Skating Rink
Scenic Coaster
Temple of Mirth
Theatorium
Third Degree
Tours of the World
Theater Manager William W. Prosser
Stock Company Vaughan Glaser Stock Company
Band(s) Powell's Military Band
Signior Vincent Rosati's Naval Reserve Band

The Olentangy Park, Theater, and Zoological Garden opened for the 1906 season on Sunday, April 29, 1906.[1][2][3] Starting with Sundays only, it opened for daily operation on May 13, 1906.[4] Powell's Military Band performed free concerts twice daily during the opening weeks.[5] The park most likely closed for the season sometime in September 1906.

Park Improvements

This season, the park was enlarged to over 100 acres, extending a half mile north from Dodridge Street on "both sides of the Olentangy River" and east to North High Street. Giant oak, elm, sycamore, and willow trees covered the area. The Olentangy River flowed southward and over the dam at the southern end of the park. The plateau was 60 feet above the river, the main part of the park being split into four areas by the ravine and high bridges. Winding steps led down to the grove.[6] The Zoological Garden, including the Museum of Ornithology, Aquarium, and Floral Conservatory, occupied about 10 acres at the southern end.[7]

Rides and attractions were added, including a skating rink near the entrance and a new Dancing Pavillion.[8][1] A carousel and the Forest Coaster were purchased from the Columbus Zoological Company and installed in the old Dancing Pavilion and the north end of the park, respectively. Other additions included "Creation or The Great Hereafter;" Hale's Tours of the World; the "Third Degree," a funhouse; a photographic gallery, Temple of Mirth, Egyptian Mystery, and other smaller attractions.[2][3] Many of the new attractions did not open until May 15.[9]

About 30 ponies, donkeys, and burros were kept for riding and driving around the Pony Track.[7]

By August, over 200 people were employed at the park.[10]

Ohio State University Professor Main installed a "scientific electrical exhibit," including wireless telegraphy and an x-ray machine.[3] The park had over 40,000 electrical lights.

For ride and attraction changes, see the Rides and Attractions section.

Notable Events

Theater Strike

During the opening week of performances, five of the six stagehands went on strike due to the manager not meeting the union's staffing requirements[11] There was also no orchestra provided, [12] leading to the performance shutting down Wednesday night and the rest of the week due to poor turnout.[13]

First Wireless Telegraph Message in Columbus

On Wednesday, May 16, 1906, at 7:45 a.m., the "first wireless telegraph message ever sent, for any considerable distance in Columbus or this part of the state" was made between Olentangy Park and the State Institution for the Deaf and Dumb. The operators were Professor F.F. Main and Herman Wilson, both of the Olentangy Park Wireless Telegraph Station. The message was a recreation of the first telegraph message: "What hath God wrought?" but the message failed after the letter O in the word "God." Main and Wilson planned further experiments.[14]

X-Ray Machine Shows Forgotten Piece of Glass in Hand

In July, Dr. H.F. Smith, a parkgoer from Toronto, Ontario, saw an object in the base of their middle finger when testing an X-ray machine. Dr. Hoover of St. Francis Hospital removed a piece of glass that was 5/8 inch by 3/16 inch the next day. The glass was from an injury from a railway disaster in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, three years prior. Owner and operator Professor F.F. Main demonstrated the x-ray in the wireless telegraph room, showing the new technology of the time.[15]

Minerva Park Neglect

In September, G.W. Meeker wrote to the editor of the Columbus Dispatch about the neglect of Minerva Park since J.W. Dusenbury, lessee of both parks, closed Minerva Park to focus on Olentangy Park. $60,000 (over $2 million) was spent on Minerva Park during its run, but by 1906, the buildings were in a state of decay.[16]

Notable Deaths

Fred L. Power, a former stage manager of the theater, died in June of mouth cancer in Dowagiac, Mich. The cancer was believed to have been caused by excessive cigarette smoking.[17]

Albert G. Rosati, brother other Vincent Rosati, leader of the band that played at the park that year, died in Kansas City, Kansas.[18]

Injuries

In May, Thomas Callis, a pipe organist and insurance salesman, was spooked by the flashing lights of the Figure Eight and accidentally stepped off a nearby platform and injured his right ankle bad enough that amputation was considered. He was sent to Grant Hospital for treatment.[19]

Lawsuits

In February, the Traver Circle Swing Company sued the Olentangy Park Company for $2,392 ($82,667 in 2023) due to non-payment of royalties for the operation of the Circle Swing.[20]

The following cases were dropped in September:[21]

  • Otakichi Nakamma vs. Olentangy Park Co. (Case #50292)
  • Micalo Tomito vs. Olentangy Park Co. (Case #50293)
  • F. Horio vs. Olentangy Park Co.

Strikes

In September, workers went on a strike when management refused to increase their wages. A striker disabled the scenic coaster ride.[22]

Rides and Attractions

New Carousel

Main Article: Carousel

A carousel was purchased from the Columbus Zoological Company. It had an "immense" pipe organ and the ride was installed in the old Dancing Pavilion near the Ferris Wheel.[2][23][7]

New Dancing Pavilion

Main Article: Dancing Pavilion (Second)

The new Dancing Pavilion was built near the Old Mill at the north end of the park.[2] A band of 20 pieces provided music for the Dancing Pavilion.[3] Designed by Frank L. Packard, it had a Swiss style.[24]

The new building wasn't built at the time of the season-opening despite the new carousel/merry-go-round being installed in the old building.[23]

New Roller Skating Rink

Main Article: Roller Skating Rink (Building)

The new Roller Skating Rink was 120 ft. by 120 ft. Originally, it was planned to be built near the entrance with an approach from High Street,[8][2] but later moved to the northeast end of the park, just north of the ravine, between the Colonnade and High Street.[2][1] The architecture was in a Spanish style.[8] A large band provided music to the skaters.[3]

New Scenic Coaster

Main Article: Scenic Coaster

The Forest Coaster/Forest Toboggan was purchased from the Columbus Zoological Company. Erected along High Street and to the north, it was changed to a Scenic Railroad coaster for Olentangy Park.[2] Its track was over a half mile long.[3] It was not open at the time of the season's opening,[23] but opened by May 15.[9]

In September, workers went on a strike when management refused to increase their wages. A striker, suspected to be Rube Leffel, entered the building of what they called the "trip around the world railway" and stole the lens from one of the machines, disabling the ride.[22]

New Fantasma

Main Article: Fantasma

Fantasma was a new attraction described as being in a well-ventilated and beautifully decorated building and gave "an entertainment of high merit, both amusing and attractive."[7]

Fair Japan

Main Article: Fair Japan

Fair Japan was reduced to 5 cents ($1.70 in 2023) starting May 13.[25] The price was reduced to free by June 17.[26] The Fourth of July celebration included M. Tomito [27], a swimming exhibition by Korbori Oyagi, and a ji-jitsu demonstration.[28]

List of Rides and Attractions

Theater, Vaudeville, and Stunt Performances

Olentangy Park Theater

Main Article: Olentangy Park Casino and Theater

William W. Prosser returned as the theater manager for the 1906 season. J. K. Burke, of New York and formerly the manager at Minerva Park, booked the attractions.[1] All matinees, except Sundays and holidays, were reduced to 10 cents ($3.46 in 2023) per ticket.[2]

The opening performance was initially supposed to be at the High Street Theater but was moved to Olentangy Park's theater after a mail mishap.[12]

The price for a matinee was reduced to 10 cents ($3.39 in 2023) starting May 13.[29]

The theater was almost closed in August due to the lack of asbestos curtains. Sheriff George J. Karb and J.W. Dusenbury discussed whether the asbestos law also applied to summer theaters. George W. Bope of the Musicians' union filed the complaint against the theater. Dusenbury agreed to install asbestos curtains by August 17.[30][31]

Advertising ended around August 19, but there were mentions of shows into September.

Performances

April 29-May 2 (opening week): "When We Were Twenty-One," presented by Nat C. Goodwin and Maxine Elliot. Nestor Lennon and Corinne Frances performed the leading parts. Other cast included Jacques Martin.[32][5] Five stagehands went on strike due to manager Brandon Courtney not meeting the union's staffing requirements and only one stagehand had to manipulate the scenery and lights.[11] There was also no orchestra provided, making the production cut musical numbers by C. O. Wolfe, W. A. Mason, and Frances.[12] The performance shut down Wednesday night and for the rest of the week due to poor turnout.[13] Theatrical Stage Employees' Local No. 12 met with park management Thursday, May 10 to negotiate staffing and park meals for stagehands.[33]

The regular season began May 13 and featured vaudeville.[34]

The Vaughan Glaser Stock Company performed for three weeks starting July 15. Members included Vaughan Glaser; Frank E. Camp; Fay Courtney; Harrison Steadman; Frank Willis; Emille Melville; Laura Pierpont; James Hester, comedian; Duncan Harris, juvenile; Laura Pierpont, ingenue; Emily Melville, character; Nina Tessa, juvenile; J.B. Wilson, character; Isabelle Goodwin, juvenile and character. Charles A. Marvin was the new manager of the company.[35][36]The performances were twice per day at 5 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. and were of "Prince Karl" and "What Happened to Jones."[37] Originally planned for two weeks, the stock company returned for an additional two weeks to perform "Niobe"[38] and "The Man from Mexico."[39]

Vaudeville

The theater had a 40-piece orchestra providing free open-air concerts and Vaudeville performed twice daily throughout the season.[3]

Week of May 13

Acts and performances:[29]

  • Melnotte-La-Nolo Trio, European wire artists
  • The Tossing Austins, comedy juggling and dancing
  • Louise Arnott and Tom Gunn, in their Irish comedy sketch, "Regan's Luck"
  • The Maxsmith Duo, entertainers
  • Edison and his musical dog, "Doc"
  • Will Dockery, blackface monologist and singing comedian

The Vitascope showed a new picture.

Week of May 20

Acts and performances:[40][41]

  • Post and Russell, comedy singing and dancing
  • Clark's Performing Dogs and Ponies
  • Ziska and King, magicians
  • Florence Saunders, soprano singer
  • Musical Burke's Comedy Piano Players
  • Harvey and Devura, a "kid" act

The Vitascope showed the latest motion pictures.

Week of May 27

Acts and performances:[42]

  • Zinnell and Boutelle, refined singing and comedy act
  • Alfred Anderson, the "Man of Melba," female impersonator
  • Zena Keife, a 10-year-old dancer and singer[43]
  • Dunbar's Educated Goats
  • Harry Botter and Co., in a comedy sketch, "A Matrimonial Blizzard," written by Edward McWade
  • Levine and Leonard, comedy autoists

The Vitascope showed new motion pictures.

Week of June 3

Acts and performances:[44]

  • Lyndale Allison, of Columbus, singer, claimed to have the largest singing range in the world with the ability to sing "from G below the staff to G above high C"[45]
  • Levine and Leonard, comedy automobilist
  • Harry Elverton, of Columbus, object spinner
  • Herbert Deveau, comedian and cartoonist
  • Florence Reeves, violinist
  • Carr and Lind, comedians and talkists
  • Mr. and Mrs. Hayman, comedy sketch

The Vitascope showed the latest motion pictures.

Week of June 10

Acts and performances:[46]

  • Robert Rogers and Louise Mackintosh, in their sketch, "Out of Sight"
  • Delmore and Darrell, acrobatic comedy
  • Annette Duvall, singing comedienne
  • Kates Brothers, comedy acrobats
  • Will and Edith Hart, singing and dancing
  • J.K. Hutchinson & Co., entertainers, in "The Idol Smasher"

The Vitascope showed the latest motion pictures.

Week of June 17

Acts and performances:[47]

  • Estelle Wordette & Co., in a comedy sketch called "A Honeymoon in the Catskills"
  • Lillian Ashley, singing comedienne
  • Ed and Dave Klein, known as Klein and Klein, eccentric novelty clowns with a juggling and magic act
  • George Klein, 4, and Sam Klein, 6, dancing
  • Four Dancing Harrises
  • De Onzo and McDonald, acrobatic and barrel act
  • William La Belle, the "tramp juggler"

The Vitascope showed the latest motion pictures.

Week of June 24

Acts and performances:[48]

  • Niblo and Riley, acrobats and grotesque dancing
  • Coates, Sunflower, and Company, in a singing comedy sketch, "Wanted--An Errand Boy"
  • Mr. and Mrs. Fred Lucier, in a sketch, "Mirth and Music"
  • Arminta and James M. Burke, comedy acrobatic act
  • Don and Mae Gordon, comedy bicycle act
  • The Three Hillyers, in a novelty act called "A Study in Rags," where they create pictures of old rags and wearing apparel
  • Alfred Anderson, the "Malo Melba," soprano singing and female impersonator

Week of July 1

Acts and performances:[28][49]

  • Bootblack Quartet, composed of Eli Beroullette, Arthur Carlton, Charles Weber, and Max Hayes, singing, comedy, and dancing
  • Walter Daniels, impersonator
  • Musical Bennetts, featuring a musical act with electrical effects and illusions
  • D.J. Harrington, ventriloquist
  • Salmon and Chester, London Coster act
  • Sa-Van and McBrien, comedy acrobats
  • Texarkana and Walby, singing and dancing
  • Alfred Anderson, the "Malo Melba," soprano singing and female impersonator

The Vitascope showed the latest motion pictures.

Week of July 8

Acts and performances:[50][51]

  • Shubert Quartet, consisting of two women and two men, singing
  • Al Lawrence, mimic
  • Rhodes and Carter, comedy acrobatic act
  • Schrock and Rice, a comedy bicycle act
  • Wallace Truman, comedy juggler
  • St. John and La Fevre, singing and dancing
  • Louis and Harr, in "A Down South Plantation," act with singing, banjo, and guitar playing (starting July 10)

The Vitascope showed the latest motion pictures.

Week of August 12

Acts and performances:[52]

  • Harold Square Quartet, composed of Fisher, Herbert, DeBruin, and Marx, singing
  • D.J. Harrington, ventriloquist
  • Joseph J. and Myra Dowling, comedy playet
  • Cadieaux, wire walker
  • Bertina and Brockway, singing and dancing
  • Belle Viola, comedienne and contortionist
  • Archer and Croker, tumbling act

The Vitascope showed the latest motion pictures.

Gertrude Gebest, of Columbus, was to sing but failed to appear. Belle Viola took her spot.[53]

Week of September 9

Acts and performances:[54]

  • Adolph Poliers, actor

Stunts

G. Fred Matthiessen played the "Dare-Devil Diavolo" doing the "Loop-the-Loop" bicycle stunt for three weeks starting the week of July 29.[55] He had been "Looping-the-Loop" for five years and was touted to be the stunt's only survivor.[56]

While Diavolo Looped-the-Loop, Dare Devil Doherty the Vaulting Cyclist performed Leap-the-Gap starting August 12.[52] He lept a gap of 25 feet.[10]

Music

Women and children could dance for free in the afternoons except for Sundays and holidays.[2]

Powell's Military Band performed free concerts twice daily during the opening week.[5]

Signior Vincent Rosati's Naval Reserve Band started performing the week of May 13,[57] attracting a large crowd. The band had 84 members and gave free concerts twice per week.[58]

Activities

List of Activities

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "William Prosser Chosen Manager." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 11 April 1905. Pg. 2.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 "Olentangy Park Opens on April 29." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 15 April 1905. Pg. 7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 "New Attractions at Olentangy." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 15 April 1905. Pg. 15.
  4. "Olentangy Park Opening." The Union County Journal (Marysville, Ohio). 17 May 1906. Pg. 3. Accessed through Newspapers.com. [1]
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 28 April 1906. Pg. 4.
  6. "Olentangy Park Pleasing Summer Resort." The Marion Star (Marion, Ohio). 16 June 1906. Pg. 16.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "Olentangy Park." The Democrat-Sentinel (Logan, OH). 14 June 1906. Pg. 2. Clip 1 | Clip 2
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Improvements in Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 18 March 1906. Pg. 7.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 9 May 1905. Pg. 4.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Olentangy Park." The Union County Journal (Marysville, Ohio). 16 August 1906. Pg. 8.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Stage Hands are Out on a Strike." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 30 April 1906. Pg. 2.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 30 April 1906. Pg. 4.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 4 May 1906. Pg. 4.
  14. "First Wireless Message in Columbus." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 17 May 1906. Pg. 1.
  15. "Piece of Glass in Hand Three Years." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 22 July 1906. Pg. 14.
  16. "Plea for Minerva Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 29 September 1906. Letters to the Editor. Pg. 4.
  17. "Olentangy." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 21 June 1906. Pg. 4.
  18. "Famous Cornetist Called by Death." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 24 June 1906. First Section. Pg. 12.
  19. "Peculiar Accident." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 20 May 1906. Pg. 6.
  20. "Sue for Royalties." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 2 February 1906. Pg. 10.
  21. "Large Number of Cases Dropped." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 17 September 1906. Pg. 2.
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Striker Cripples Scenic Railway by Taking Lens." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch." 2 September 1906. Pg. 1.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 "Auspicious Day for Park Opening." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 30 April 1906. Pg. 6.
  24. "At Work on Pavilion." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 29 April 1906. Pg. 13.
  25. Ad. Columbus Evening Dispatch. 13 May 1906. Pg. 7.
  26. "'Fair Japan at Olentangy Park'." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch." 17 June 1906. Pg. 7.
  27. The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 17 June 1906. Third Section. Pg. 1.
  28. 28.0 28.1 "Specialties at Olentangy Park.The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 1 July 1906. Pg. 7.
  29. 29.0 29.1 "Olentangy Opening." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 13 May 1906. Pg. 6.
  30. "Theater Will Not Be Closed Up." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 11 August 1906. Pg. 7.
  31. "Olentangy's Asbestos Curtain." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 17 August 1906. Pg. 7.
  32. Ad. Columbus Evening Dispatch. 27 April 1906. Pg. 4.
  33. "Want to Board the Hands." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 10 May 1906. Pg. 13.
  34. "Olentangy." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 10 May 1906. Pg. 4.
  35. "Stock Company at Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 29 June 1906. Pg. 2.
  36. "Vaughan Glaser Contract Signed." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 1 July 1906. Pg. 11.
  37. "Vaughan Glaser Stock at Olentangy." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 15 July 1906. Pg. 6.
  38. Ad. Columbus Evening Dispatch. 27 July 1906. Pg. 4.
  39. "Olentangy." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 6 August 1906. Pg. 4.
  40. "Vaudeville at Olentangy." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch." 20 May 1906. Pg. 6.
  41. "Olenttangy." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch." 21 May 1906. Pg. 4.
  42. "Vaudeville at Olentangy." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch." 27 May 1906. Pg. 7.
  43. "She's a Star on Stage at 10 Years, and Has Had Six Years' Experience." Columbus Evening Dispatch." 28 May 1906. Pg. 1.
  44. "Vaudeville at Olentangy." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch." 3 June 1906. Pg. 6.
  45. "Olentangy." Columbus Evening Dispatch." 4 June 1906. Pg. 4.
  46. "Vaudeville at Olentangy." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch." 10 June 1906. Pg. 6.
  47. "Vaudeville at Olentangy." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch." 17 June 1906. Third Section. Pg. 6.
  48. "Vaudeville at Olentangy." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch." 24 June 1906. Third Section. Pg. 6.
  49. Ad. Columbus Evening Dispatch. 2 July 1906. Pg. 4.
  50. "Vaudeville at Olentangy." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch." 8 July 1906. At the Theaters. Pg. 6.
  51. "Olentangy." Columbus Evening Dispatch." 10 July 1906. Pg. 4.
  52. 52.0 52.1 "Vaudeville at Olentangy." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch." 12 August 1906. At the Theaters. Pg. 6-7.
  53. "Olentangy." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 13 August 1906. Pg. 4.
  54. "Actor is Arrested." Columbus Evening Dispatch." 10 September 1906. Pg. 8.
  55. "Olentangy." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 29 July 1906. Pg. 4.
  56. "Looped-the-Loop Though His Shoulder Was Dislocated." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 30 July 1906. Pg. 2.
  57. Ad, The Columbus Evening Dispatch. May 8, 1906. Pg. 4.
  58. "Attracted Large Crowd." Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 13 May 1906. Pg. 7.