Ponce Postcard Provenance

There’s a vintage postcard floating around that doesn’t actually have anything to do with Ponce Springs. It has been used in wayfaring signs and marketing materials from the fine folks at Ponce City Market.  Sadly the unscrupulous or simply misguided postcard publisher put the incorrect title on their product back 100-plus years ago.

Here is an image with the correct title:

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White City was a chain of amusement parks around the country.  Atlanta’s implementation was located south of today’s Interstate 20 just east of Boulevard in the Ormewood Park neighborhood between Berne and Confederate — right where you now find Parkside Elementary School. It was a modest sized amusement park with a ferris wheel in the foreground and in the background what was called a “circle swing” which is basically a series of open cabin cars suspended by wire and spun around a central spindle for the amusement of all who don’t become instantly nauseous!

A fire insurance related concern called the Sanborn Company put together maps that typically feature building-by-building images of towns with the height of various windows in structures, along with any water tanks, night watchman posts and any other details that would be important for fire-fighting and the resultant insurance implications. Here’s an image of our White City from 1911:

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You can clearly see that the postcard photo in question was taken from the top of the Waiting Room looking east at the ferris wheel and the park’s swing. You can see the curve of the buildings match exactly with the postcard. About three miles north of this in Atlanta, Ponce De Leon Park had many more facilities including dance halls, a large covered al fresco dining structure similar to Feltman’s Ocean Pavilion at Coney Island:

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They had skating, dancing, a huge merry-go-round, moving pictures and a tribute to the Johnstown Flood of all things. Including entertainment like the casino (1906)

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Here, you can see Ponce’s version of the circle swing, notice there is no curved building, just the casino and the streetcar waiting area to the right.

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Another view

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And another view

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I love this picture of the pleasure garden

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Here’s a general layout of the Ponce De Leon Amusement Park from 1911. You can see the circle swing near the casino and that the swing was not near a curved structure, ferris wheel or the lake at all

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As you can see, this oft-used postcard is not actually from the Ponce De Leon Amusement Park but rather the White City Amusement park near Grant Park. There are plenty of more accurate alternative historical views you can use. All of these images are in the public domain, so feel free to use them for whatever purpose.

And enjoy the amazing job they’ve done with Ponce City Market!! What a treasure. Go to the boardwalk on the roof, enjoy the restaurants on the first two floors and just take in the historical whimsy they have incorporated into every nook and cranny.

Here’s a shot of their roof-top amusement park. Love it!!

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Just setting the record straight, no animosity meant for anyone! Thanks, HistoryJoe

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