take Boston's Blue Line to its northern end, you'll reach the
Wonderland stop. Few realize that a 23-acre amusement park once sat
nearby - the largest in New England, and grander than any of the
Coney Island parks that inspired it. Opened in Revere on Memorial
Day in 1906 to great fanfare, Wonderland offered hundreds of
thousands of visitors recreation by the sea, just a short distance
from downtown Boston.
The story of the park's creation and wild, but brief, success is
full of larger-than-life characters who hoped to thrill attendees
and rake in profits. Stephen R. Wilk describes the planning and
history of the park, which featured early roller coasters, a scenic
railway, a central lagoon in which a Shoot-the-Chutes boat plunged,
an aerial swing, a funhouse, and more.
Performances ran throughout the day,
including a daring Fires and Flames show; a Wild West show; a
children's theatre; and numerous circus acts. While nothing remains
of what was once called "Boston's Regal Home of Pleasure" and the
park would close in 1910, this book resurrects Wonderland by
transporting readers through its magical gates.