Mar. 6: Joy Zones & Nickel Empires: From Midway to Theme Park

Essay draft is due Tuesday.  In addition, please read the following:

Nasaw, “The City as Playground: The World’s Fair Midways” (ECR)
Note: I see that the Sterngass chapter is not on ECR, so we will omit that from our reading for class.

Avatar of Mark Souther

About Mark Souther

I am an associate professor of history at Cleveland State University and director of the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities. I'm the author of New Orleans on Parade: Tourism and the Transformation of the Crescent City, editor of American Tourism: Constructing a National Tradition, and am writing a new book on perceptions of decline in postwar Cleveland. Apart from my involvement in CPHDH, I authored a recent successful National Register of Historic Places nomination and serve on the Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission. My history interests include urban and suburban history, 20th-century U.S. political and cultural history, leisure and tourism, and architecture and historic preservation.
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2 Responses to Mar. 6: Joy Zones & Nickel Empires: From Midway to Theme Park

  1. Avatar of ysaleh ysaleh says:

    As time progressed and vacations became not just for the self employed, professionals and white collar workers, the cities became hot vacation spots. People who wanted to go to the countryside and the seashores, but couldn’t afford it, began flocking to the cities for a cheaper vacation. With this change came worlds fairs and midways. The amusement rides of the fair and the unusual free spirited displays of the midways gave people a vacation to remember all in one spot. The midways became a place to wander from stall to stall and feel as if you had experienced the events of the world without even leaving your feet. The world fair and midways brought a relaxing, fun vacation to many who may never have vacationed otherwise.

  2. Janelle Daling says:

    The dawn of expositions, the inevitable side shows they brought with them and the perspective shift of cities as a “place of play” rather than a place of filth and moral ambiguity brought with it the shortening of the consumers attention span. The wide variety of attractions that the expositions displayed allowed for constant amusement that consumers began to expect. Exhibitor were quick to realize that by shortening show times, and providing an entertainment that no other show could (i.e. trained pigs, fat woman, strong men, etc.) that profits could be made much more readily.

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