Today in history, Steeplechase Park (1897-1964) closed forever. Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson described the closing ceremony in the chapter titled "The Death of Steeplechase Park" of his book Coney Island: Lost and Found:
"Steeplechase Park closed at the end of the season on September 20, 1964. Marie Tilyou, Bill Nicholson, and Jimmy Onorato were together at the traditional closing as the park's bells were slowly tolled once for every year of operation. The sound system played 'There's No Business Like Show Business' and then 'Auld Lang Syne.' Thousands of lights were switched off slowly, row after row, on each toll of the bell. As it turned out, the park went dark for the last time. Bill Nicholson left the closing ceremony with Tilyou and her friends and walked to the Clam Bar for drinks."
Marie Tilyou was the daughter of Steeplechase Park founder George C. Tilyou. Bill Nicholson was the executive secretary of the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce and Jimmy Onorato was the park's manager, and for a time, its president.
Photo courtesy of Dan Pisark.
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