Timeline of Coney Island (1609-1985)
The explorer Henry Hudson, commanding the "Half-Moon," puts in at Coney Island before continuing into what is now called New York Harbor. According to tradition, his right-hand man, John Coleman, is killed there by local Indians.
Coney Island House opens, marking the beginning of Coney Island's status as a seaside resort.
Samuel Colt erects a telegraph tower at Coney Island.
George C. Tilyou is born in New York City. His family moves to Coney Island three years later.
Mike "Thunderbolt" Norton opens a hotel at Norton's Point, on the eastern end of Coney Island, which caters to a corrupt clientele.
Charles Feltman invents the hot dog at Coney Island.
John Y. McKane is elected town commissioner of Gravesend, beginning his career as a Coney Island politician.
Andrew Culver completes the Prospect Park & Coney Island Railroad.
Andrew Culver opens the Oriental Hotel, inaugurating the era of opulent hotels at Coney Island.
Andrew Culver erects the 300-foot Steel Tower observatory at Coney Island.
Austin Corbin opens the Manhattan Beach Hotel.
The Camera Obscura Observatory, an import from the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, is installed at Coney Island.
William Engeman opens the Brighton Beach Hotel.
Austin Corbin goes on record with his intentions to ban Jews from his resort. Popular opinion runs against him, and his efforts fail.
The Elephant Hotel opens at Coney Island. It becomes associated with prostitution, which prompts the local expression, "seeing the elephant."
Peter and George C. Tilyou open Surf Theater, Coney Island's first theater, on an alley later named the Bowery.
La Marcus Thompson builds the Switchback Railway, arguably the first roller coaster in America, at Coney Island.
The Columbian Exposition is held in Chicago.
John Y. McKane is sentenced to six years hard labor at Sing Sing prison.
Captain Paul Boyton opens Sea-Lion Park, the first enclosed amusement park at Coney Island.
George C. Tilyou opens Steeplechase Park at Coney Island, and introduces the "Steeplechase Horses" ride there.
Frederic Thompson and Elmer "Skip" Dundy bring their "Trip to the Moon" ride to Steeplechase Park and operate it there for a season.
Frederic Thompson and Skip Dundy open Luna Park.
Senator William Reynolds and a group of local speculators open Dreamland.
Steeplechase Park burns to the ground. Efforts are immediately made to rebuild it.
Elmer "Skip" Dundy dies.
Samuel Gumpertz becomes general manager of Dreamland.
Dreamland burns. The Dreamland Circus Sideshow, run by Samuel Gumpertz, opens while ruins are still smoking.
George C. Tilyou dies.
Nathan Handwerker opens Nathan's Hot Dogs at Coney Island.
Frederic Thompson dies.
The Wonder Wheel, a 150 foot tall ferris wheel, opens at Coney Island.
A subway line running from Manhattan to Coney Island is completed.
The Riegelmann Boardwalk is built.
The Cyclone roller coaster begins operation.
The Parachute Tower is moved from the 1939 World's Fair to Steeplecase Park.
Luna Park closes.
Astroland USA opens at Coney Island. The amusement park is still in business today.
Steeplechase Park closes
Dick Zigun organizes Coney Island USA.
Coney Island holds the first annual Mermaid Parade on Riegelmann Boardwalk.
Coney Island USA opens Sideshows by the Seashore, now reportedly the only "10-in-1" sideshow operating in North America.