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Tilyou, George Cornelius (03 February 1862–30 November 1914), amusement park entrepreneur and inventor, was born in New York City, the son of Peter Augustus Tilyou, a hotel proprietor, and Ellen Mahoney. Of Huguenot heritage, his father owned the Surf House, one of the first resort hotels at Coney Island. The family moved to Coney Island when George was three years old, and he subsequently attended the Gravesend and Brooklyn, New York, public schools. Even as a youth, the boy’s talents as an amusement genius and showman were evident. At the age of fourteen, inspired by publicity surrounding the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876, he set up a stand at Coney Island, selling bottles of seawater and boxes of beach sand for twenty-five cents each. At seventeen he began his professional career with his own Coney Island real estate business operating out of two bathhouses joined together, and he also began publishing his own newspaper, ...