The History of Lakeside Amusement Park in Photos
Since 1908, Denverites have been flocking to Lakeside Amusement Park in the town (yes, town! Population: 8 persons) of Lakeside, Colorado.
Lakeside Amusement Park (sometimes referred to as "White City," as in this Colorado Transcript newspaper article) opened on May 30, 1908, to a crowd of 50,000. Amazingly, the park has only changed ownership twice during its long history. The Lakeside Realty and Amusement Company, originally led by brewery magnate Adolph Zang, sold the park to Benjamin Krasner in 1935. Mr. Krasner's daughter, Rhoda, owns the park today.
Why was Lakeside Amusement Park once referred to as "White City?" During the early part of the 20th century, there were several White City amusement parks scattered throughout the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. The name "White City" originated at Chicago's Columbian Exposition of 1893, which featured amusement rides nestled among the exposition's neoclassical buildings awash in white Plaster of Paris.
Today, a trip to Lakeside is a stroll through a bygone era. Although the swimming beach, casino, theatre, race track, and public pool are no longer in operation, many classic rides survive, including the Cyclone coaster, the Wild Chipmunk, and the miniature train that circles Lake Rhoda.
Click HERE to view a gallery of historic Lakeside Amusement Park images from our photo collection. Be sure to view this gallery the next time you visit Lakeside—and prepare to be amazed by how many of the park's 20th-century buildings and rides live on.
[Want to learn more? We recommend David Forsyth's Denver's Lakeside Amusement Park: From the White City Beautiful to a Century of Fun]
Fond memories indeed! Thanks for sharing, Dan!
Used to come here when I was younger, I brought my grandsons this year. Thank you for a trip back to the past. It was great to be able to tell my son and bit of my history. I love this place!
Thank you for reading and commenting, Patsy! I bet your grandsons had a blast!
Born in 1950 in Denver, and still live here, I remember when my sis and I would get on a bus - we were about 12 or 13 years old - and spend the day at Lakeside for less than $2. Two kids on a city bus. Obviously, the good old days. Too bad there isn't more pictorial history about the fun house. I remember the rolling barrels, and the slides which had to be about 3 stories tall, the spinning wooden pie plate which threw you off into the outer perimeter wooden wall (a dentists best friend) and the random air jets everywhere that the strange looking guy in the booth was expert at operating. I remember riding on a boat around the lake and thinking how cool that was. You kids, Keep your hands in the boat. I remember the scary swimming pool. Remember when the coal fired train was running, and playing golf on the miniature course back in about 1968 and whacking a ball into the lake and into Sheridan traffic with a putter when no one was looking, we thought, and being a mechanic for my neighbor when he ran stock cars on the track, etc. But now, Whew. There must be an edict from Rhoda or her daughter that says we spend as little money as possible on maintenance, anywhere. The tower of jewels has 90 percent of the bulbs burned out. Kind or like asking a still attractive elderly lady to dance and half her teeth are missing. One train running, or is it. All of the amusement machines are worn out junk, sometimes bought from Asia, since you need to read Japanese to figure out how they work. Out of order everywhere, in the prime of the summer. The College Inn is disgusting, cleaned somewhat at the start of the season, or not, as is the wall display which has some cool stuff in it along with loads of fossilized bugs. The abandoned houses in front of the park. The police force which outnumbers town residents. The junk car with 4 flat tires which is featured prominently to the left as you pull into the parking lot off of Sheridan Boulevard. And has been there for five years by the way. The Skoota cars which have tires so worn out the majority of cars just barely move. The Cyclone which is guaranteed to wreck someone's spine as it flips 20 degrees just before it goes into the tunnel, since the ground below has shifted somewhat in the last 100 years. Being next to the lake and all. The trailer junkyard just to the west of the park. The reflecting mirrors which are cleaned once per year whether they need it or not. The sadly abandoned starride. The Chipmunk that I swear will launch someone off into the adjacent ride. The mini golf course which peeks out underneath a few rides and weeds. Etc. etc. Benjamin has got to be rolling in his grave. Suggestion: Buy a ticket to get in, don't ride or eat anything, and simply enjoy the fabulous art deco. At night. Even though most of those bulbs are burned out. Ah, the heck with all the bad. Imagine what was. And what is even more ridiculous, I way way prefer this rundown mess to Elitch's corporate whatever it is.
Thanks for sharing your memories with us, Chuck! You'll enjoy Brian's post about the Lakeside funhouse!
Lakeside was my first job. We would spend all of our time off just riding the train and coaster. Much better days back then.
Sounds like a wonderful first job with thrilling perks! Thanks for sharing, Jackie!
Yep, the Fun House was always my favorite. As a kid, I always idolized the super cool teen-aged boys who worked in the 'barrels' - multi-colored rings that turned in opposite directions that you would walk through. Not only would these boys save damsels in distress who were having trouble getting through the barrels, sometimes they would even reach up to the top and let the barrels carry them all the way around.
One year when I was 7 or 8, my mother gave me the option of a traditional birthday party at home with several guests, or an excursion to Lakeside with just one special friend. I chose the latter. Over the course of several hours, My friend, Mike and I ate one of everything and rode on everything - all for just a few dollars.
Sounds like a wise choice, Barry. What a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday! Thanks for sharing your memories!!
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