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A Summer Day at Dreamland

By Cecily Dyer

Posted on July 9, 2020



Eugene L. Armbruster, Dreamland, 1904; V1972.1.771, Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection, ARC.201; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Eugene L. Armbruster’s dreamlike photograph shows a mother and daughter in Coney Island’s Dreamland amusement park in 1904, the year the park opened.

Dreamland was the last of Coney Island’s original three large amusement parks, along with Steeplechase Park and Luna Park, and sought to draw visitors with sophisticated architecture and its location right at the water’s edge, where the ocean breeze would cool the public during hot summer days. Dreamland operated only from 1904 until it was destroyed in a fire in 1911.

Armbruster was born in Germany and, after his immigration to the United States, lived most of his life in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. Following his retirement from the H. Henkel Cigar Box Manufacturing Company in 1920, Armbruster became an amateur local historian, writing for the “Old-Timer” column of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and publishing pamphlets about local history. In the column, he answered questions related to homes and properties throughout Brooklyn. Armbruster was particularly interested in infrastructure and preserving history during a period of rapid growth and change in Brooklyn.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. We look forward inviting you back to BHS is the future to research in our entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections. In the meantime, please visit our digital collections, available here. Our reference staff are still available to help with your research! You can reach us at [email protected].

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