Tuesday, February 5, 2008

POSTCARD HISTORY LESSON - Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts

By 1907, the US had seen gondola in many places. Fairs and expos in places like Chicago and St. Louis had brought gondolas to the continent. Established operations in places like New York's Central Park contributed to the popularity of gondolas. Not surprisingly, there were folks who got caught up in the excitement but either didn't have access to Venetian boats or just figured they could make do with something similar.

In 1905, someone set up a sort of permanent "mini-fair" called Paragon Park in Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts for people who might want to visit an expo or world's fair without travelling far or fighting the crowds. These vessels were part of the attraction, and appear to have been modified canoes or other double-ended boats, with enhancements on both bow and stern (notice them in white). It also appears that the gondoliers wore uniforms reminiscent of Navy dress whites. I wonder if they sang to their passengers.

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