Rise and Fall of the American Kiddie Ride - Coin-operated kiddie rides used to be ubiquitous outside grocery stores and shopping centers throughout America. In the age of the iPad, what happens to them, and do kids even care any more? [more inside]
Bloodletters and Bad Actors Mefi's Own Max Sparber looks at the early days of Omaha theater, back when it was a frontier town, its amusements were questionable, and vice was rampant, with occasional forays into more recent performing arts misbehavior. [via mefi projects]
Woodward realized that it was only a question of being pestered forever or quietly throwing open his place
"The What Cheer House catered to men only, permitted no liquor on the premises, and housed San Francisco's first free library and first museum." Opened in 1852 by Robert B. Woodward it became immensely popular. "[S]ailors enjoyed staying there... [he] was such a well-liked man that they would often bring him trinkets from around the world when they’d come to town. For Woodward, these gifts were the beginning of what would become a life-long obsession with collecting." He moved the collection and opened Woodward's Gardens in 1866 between Mission and Valencia at 13th-15th streets. Called the Central Park of the West, it was San Francisco's most famous public resort. [more inside]
An interesting take on galactic conquest for a Flash game, at least.
Skee-Ball! (warning: music) Perhaps the longest-running branded arcade game ever invented was created in 1909, originally with a rotator-cuff-injury-inducing 36-foot long alley. Once shortened to a more manageable 14' (10' for the Chuck E. Cheese kiddie model), the game's popularity took off, remaining largely unchanged except for the 1970s electrification of the scoreboard. It's both a nostalgic pastime and a present-day boardwalk staple, even enjoying some hipster revivalism in the form of BrewSkee-Ball. You can even try building your own game.