William T. Tracy was born July 16, 1916 in Toledo, Ohio to Newton and Juanita Tracy. His boyhood years remain void of any factual material up until he landed in Sarasota, Florida where he was a ceramic sculptor. I also discovered that he taught navigation for the Army while at Marianna Air Base in Jackson County, Florida. Following through on this information brought only more mystery. Marianna Air Base only operated from 1942 through 1946, reopening for a time after the end of the war from approximately 1951 to 1961. Little remains of the original base with the exception of a few buildings and the base chapel - no information whatsoever could be found there.
I next conducted an extensive search to verify his military service. I first contacted the Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, only to discover that a major portion of records from the period of 1912 through 1959 were destroyed by fire on July 12, 1973. Again, the Tracy trail had run cold. He then reportedly opened a parade float business and was hired to design and construct floats for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade division, located in New Jersey. This is what may have led Tracy to New Jersey. Fortunately for us, it was in the Garden State that he "made his bones" in the amusement industry.


While working in New Jersey, Tracy became involved with New York’s Messmore and Damon Company, a famous manufacturer of props for stage and film productions as well as fair exhibits. M&D established a business relationship with Tracy as a subcontractor for
dark rides once he began to break into the amusement  ride field on his own, first opening Outdoor Dimensional Displays in Secaucus then North Bergen and ultimately settling in my neck of the woods, Cape May County, located on the southern-most tip of New Jersey. It was here that Amusement Display Associates was born.

Bill, along with his wife Irene and their daughter Willow appear to have resided in a few different locations, the earliest known being Maryland Avenue in Cape May in 1965. Tracy lived on Shellbay Avenue in Mayville (considered Cape May Court House) from 1966 until 1971, then on Wilson Drive at the foot of the Cape May Bridge from 1972 until his death - a period of only two years.