From 1914 to 1972, this area was occupied by the popular amusement center known as Playland-at-the-Beach. Imagine how it must have looked and felt when as many as 65,000 people frolicked here on weekends while taking in sea air mingled with the aroma of popcorn and cotton candy.
Playland was four square blocks of classic amusement park entertainment and included the Big Dipper roller coaster, Dodge 'Em bumper cars, a Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, and the Fun House.
This very site was the home of Laff in the Dark, a hair-raising haunt that guided passengers in almost complete darkness through spiderwebs and past opening coffins on a small-gauge railroad train. In the 1960s, the attraction was replaced by Fun Tier Town, where visitors were greeted by a brightly colored roof-riding cowboy before embarking on a bumpy "Mad Mine" ride.
The Fun House, one of Playland's last attractions before its demolition in 1972, coaxed visitors through the entrance with a rolling "fun barrel," staggering staircase, and surprising blasts of air from the floorboards. Once inside, fun-seekers cavorted amidst "the world's longest indoor wooden slide," a "fun wheel," a dizzying mirror maze, wooden rocking horses, and wobbly moving bridges.
All Playland visitors were greeted by famous Fun House hostess Laughing
Sal. A mechanical woman created by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, Sal cackled incessantly at guests from a Fun House window. Known for frightening children with her loud laugh, missing front tooth, and enormous bobbing figure, Sal left an indelible impression on all who encountered her.
"I viewed Playland almost as a world unto itself... It was a huge theatre set where you became a character within its setting."