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The Cabin John Bridge Amusement Park


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The Cabin John Hotel, on whose grounds the amusement park was located
The Cabin John Bridge Amusement Park
  The Cabin John Bridge Hotel owners realized early that a variety of entertainments would attract a larger cross section of visitors to the hotel grounds. The ride out from the city was long and hot in the summer, so visitors would probably stop in for a drink or a meal. In 1876, the Bobingers allowed Gustav Dentzel to erect a carrousel on the hotel grounds. Dentzel operated the machine and undoubtedly leased the land from the Bobingers.


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The "iron bridge" built by the Bobingers to bring trolly riders directly onto the hotel grounds.
The Cabin John Bridge Amusement Park
Around 1900, the Bobingers built a cast iron bridge across the creek ravine to allow guests to get off the trolley and walk directly onto the hotel grounds, rather than having to cross the Cabin John Bridge. The view of the old stone bridge from the "iron bridge" was spectacular.

Around the same time the Bobingers let out more land to expand the amusement area. A scenic railway was added in 1901. A Scenic Railway was an early version of a roller coaster; the tracks ran through real scenery, and then through a building where pastoral scenes were diaplayed as paintings or dioramas as the cars passed by.


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A cartoon view of the Hotel grounds showing the amusement area
The Cabin John Bridge Amusement Park
The grounds used for amusements ran along crest of the hill near the creek ravine. The tracks of the Scenic Railway paralleled the creek for most of the ride.



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A rustic wooden gazebo with the carrousel building in the background
The Cabin John Bridge Amusement Park
  The Bobingers changed the landscape around the hotel as well. A number of rustic cedar gazebos were built along winding paths through the beautiful grounds. Trees along the back of the property were kept at bay to allow views of the Potomac River, and park benches dotted the grounds to provide resting spots on hot days.

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The scenic railway building can be seen at the far left of this image
The Cabin John Bridge Amusement Park
  In the images to either side of this text one of the cedar gazebos can be seen. In the image to the left the gazebo is in process of being built. Behind the gazebo and slightly to the left is the carrousel building. In the left hand image the scenic railway station is seen at the very left of the image.

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Look in the trees at the top right and you can see the scenic railway tracks
The Cabin John Bridge Amusement Park
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A bit better view of the scenic railway building, 'Thompson Scenic Railway' can be read on the original
The Cabin John Bridge Amusement Park
  The Cabin John Bridge drew many amature and professional photographers, in the image to the left is a photographer setting up to take a photo of the bridge - the person who snapped his photo caught a rare view of the scenic railway tracks among the trees int he top right of the image.

  Few images are known to exist that show the amusement area at Cabin John, the amusement area operated at least sporatically until somewhere between 1912 and 1915, after which no records of amusement rides are know at the hotel.

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The scenic railway showing stopped cars in the station and one running on the tracks
The Cabin John Bridge Amusement Park

  The final image of the Cabin John amusement area shows the scenic railway tracks and cars. The cars were lavishly decorated with tassled canpoies and ornate carved lion heads on the seat ends. The ride was built by La Marcus Thompson, the originator of the scenic railway.




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