The Pike History


Photographs taken in 1967 by Luijt Postma, from Holland, while visiting Long Beach on a Dutch cargo vessel

“The Pike” amusement center in Long Beach, California, operated by
Charles I.D. Looff. He is best known for building the first carousel at Coney Island in 1875. A Looff hand-carved horse sells for $10,000 to $50,000 today.

Charles I.D. Looff is considered to be the first of the great American carousel manufacturers, building 17 carousels for himself and 40 rides in total – only 11 survive.

Early view around 1911 of the Pike with the first roller coaster extending over water, band shell, and the Bath House (the white building on the far right later called the Plunge).

Stan Cochan of Newport Beach, CA sent this photo taken by his father in 1936¬† (that’s Stan – the boy looking at the camera).

“The Pike”

at the1904 St. Louis World Fair:

“The Pike was a street a mile long, solidly lined with amusements, more varied, more elaborate and more costly than any previous exposition had ever contained.”

“When night came, and the exhibit palaces were closed, the throng was on the Pike. Everyone on the grounds, took a stroll down the Pike, to see the life and motion and color and light, to hear the bands and listen to the ingenious gentlemen whose wits were sharpened in the competition for patronage, and whose vocal powers, assisted by megaphones, vied successfully with the brass bands. It was an inspiring spectacle — fifty or a hundred thousand people ceaselessly moving, the wise and the simple, the great and the humble, all pleased and happy, care-free and safe.”

Webmaster’s Note: I think it is safe to say that Charles I.D. Looff, being in the amusement business from 1875, was at the 1904 World’s Fair or may have even had a exhibit there. Perhaps he created his own “Pike” in Long Beach.