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Sunday, August 7, 2011

“Daredevil” Holden Appeared at Rock Springs Park in 1910

“Free Acts” were often daily features at Rock Springs Park during the C.A. Smith Era of 1900-1925. Acrobats and daredevils like Arthur C. Holden performed high wire and high diving stunts to hundreds of gaping on-lookers. Holden appeared at Rock Springs Park on Labor Day 1910, but he was world renowned according to features in New York and New Jersey newspapers of the day.
The South Amboy Citizen of October 5, 1912, advertised Holden's appearance at the Trenton Fair, "Arthur C. Holden, well named "Daredevil" Holden, in a backward dive into a small tank. Words cannot describe it - it must be seen.

Regardless of the Citizen’s claim, The New York Tribune did describe Arthur C. Holden's high diving exploits in its February 28, 1909 edition. "The afternoon exhibition came about 5 o'clock, and, following the announcement, the crowd sought vantage points and waited while the daring youth was hoisted to the roof in a boatswain's chair. Then a hush settled over the big amphitheater, so that one might have heard a pin drop as Holden stood poised for a minute on his small platform. Then the crowd burst into a cheer as, turning somersaults, the diver struck the water with a splash and swam out to bow his thanks." Holden's daredevil act was seen in New York as part of a Sportsman's Show inside Madison Square Garden.

Get a feel for the thrill of the high dive from the platform looking down in this video of an arm-stand high dive in Belgium.

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