Skip to main content

Tilyou, George C. (1862-1914)

George C. Tilyou (1862-1914)

Businessman

Source

Junior Entrepreneur. George C. Tilyou was born in New York City on 3 February 1862. His father was a hotel proprietor at Coney Island. The younger Tilyou began his business career at age fourteen when he sold little boxes of sifted beach sand and bottles of seawater as souvenirs to visitors on Coney Island. In one day Tilyou made enough money to finance his own trip to the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition (1876).

Coney Island Development. With an initial investment of only $2.50, Tilyou became one of the most successful businessmen on Coney Island. He laid out the famous Bowery, a carnival amusement street barred to wheeled vehicles, and built Tilyous Surf Theatre, the first important show house at the resort. In 1897 he built Steeplechase Park, which quickly expanded to fifteen acres. It was wrecked by fire in 1907, but Tilyou restored it on a grander scale. He originated most of the rides used in his amusement enterprises to give patrons nervous thrills as they were whirled, tumbled, and shot down various dark chambers and hilly surfaces. Tilyou patented such rides as the Human Roulette Wheel, Human Pool Table, Earthquake Floor, Eccentric Fountain, Electric Seat, Funny Stairway, Barrel of Love, Aerial Thrill, and the Razzle Dazzle. All were clean, family-oriented amusements because Tilyou was opposed to the rowdy elements that frequently came to Coney Island. He became a reformer in politics and in 1893 helped to overthrow John Y. McKane, the infamous political boss who allowed Coney Island to become a corrupt haven for the type of crowd Tilyou disliked.

More Successes. Besides Coney Island, Tilyou operated amusement parks in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Missouri, and California; many of these were also named Steeplechase Park. Tilyou is said to have been the inventor of the hot dog. He died on 30 November 1914, and his son Edward continued to manage his amusement empire.

Source

Judith A. Adams, The American Amusement Park Industry: A History of Technology and Thrills (Boston: Twayne, 1991).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tilyou, George C. (1862-1914)." American Eras. . Encyclopedia.com. 30 Mar. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Tilyou, George C. (1862-1914)." American Eras. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 30, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/tilyou-george-c-1862-1914

"Tilyou, George C. (1862-1914)." American Eras. . Retrieved March 30, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/tilyou-george-c-1862-1914

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.