Month: September 2015

Disasters as Entertainment at Coney Island

In 1904, Coney Island’s opening day attracted 250,000 to ride the coasters, take a dip in the ocean, and watch the fiery end of the world. Apocalyptic entertainment had a long history in the area. The perfectly named James Pain

Posted in disasters, New York

The Bungled Execution

Cowboy Thomas “Black Jack” Ketchum was a cowboy most of his life. Then he joined the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang and started robbing trains. And murdering people. In August 1899, he attempted to single-handedly rob a train that his brother Sam had

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The Massacre during the Wilmington Insurrection

There is no way to know how many died in Wilmington, North Carolina on that terrible day. On November 10, 1898, a white mob was driven to violence over a controversial black newspaper article, as well as the growing black

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Medical Rejects of Ellis Island

Between 1892 and 1954, more than twelve million immigrants came through Ellis Island. Yet for the unlucky few, that is as close as they got to America. Two percent of those who arrived were deported, giving Ellis Island the nickname

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