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Old 01-28-2010, 09:46 AM
 
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I'm curious to know if this place sounds familiar or if anyone remembers it.

In the latter half of the 1950s, I remember going to a place a couple of times that I think was called Riverside Amusement Park. It was somewhere in the area of Churchill Downs, although I don't think it was right next to it. I don't know much about the history of this particular family amusement park, but it seemed pretty old when I went there. I wouldn't be surprised if it had been around from the 1930s or before.

My own memory about it is pretty vague, but I do recall a few things about it. It seems like it was fairly shaded by trees. The midway contained the usual assortment of games like the sit-down horse races, ring toss, pop the balloons, coin pitch, etc.

There were also a few walk-in amusements that stand out in my mind. One was an excellent mirror maze. In one part of the maze, there was a tempting wallet laying on the ground with several dollars sticking out of it. Of course, it was contained behind glass and mirrors so you could never actually get to it. I think, although I'm not sure, there was a dark walk-through fun house.

Of course there were the typical amusement park rides, like roller coasters, at least one dark rides, merry-go-round, scrambler, ferris wheel, rides for the kiddies, etc.

There was also a building that would've been about 2 or 3 stories in height. Inside this building were three wooden slides, a short path of spinning floor disks to walk over, a walkway of wooden slats that would shuffle back and forth making it hard to walk on, and a rolling barrel near the entry. Two of the slides were fairly tall and required sitting on burlap bags to slide down. One of those had a number of humps as you slid down. The other was closed, but looked like an almost sheer drop. The 3rd one wasn't nearly as tall and had a number of carpet-covered logs or pipes that would roll you down to a short wooden slide. There was also a large, slightly conical spinning disk that people would crowd toward the middle to try to stay on by holding hands or whatever, but would end up sliding off it as the disc spun slightly faster. Below is a photo of such a disk. I'm not sure when or where this one is located, but it gives an idea of what it looked like.







I'm guessing the old amusement park is long gone, but it sure provided a lot of fun at the time. Anyway, I'm just kind of wondering if this description happen to jog the memories of any C-D members here. I've looked on the Internet to try to find any information about it, and come up with nothing. I'd love to see some old photos of it, maybe even a video, and just hearing anyone else's memory about it, just for the sake of nostalgia.
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:23 PM
 
Location: City - Prefer the country. People shouldn't have to live where they can't see the stars.
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Well, the dates don't match, but your description sounds alot like Fountaine Ferry to me. I mean, the tall slides, the turning barrel, the spinning circles on the floor. Are you a native? I honestly can't think of anything like you describe in the actual Churchill neighborhood.

Fountaine Ferry has a pretty rich history. After the civil rights issues in 1969, the park did a brief stint as River Glen Park. But that only lasted about a year, and that would have been mid-seventies...
Memories of Fontaine Ferry Park

It's not really close to Churchill, but it's only minutes away if you take Algonquin Parkway. It made lots of good memories for me.
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DerbyCityDiva View Post
Well, the dates don't match, but your description sounds alot like Fountaine Ferry to me. I mean, the tall slides, the turning barrel, the spinning circles on the floor. Are you a native? I honestly can't think of anything like you describe in the actual Churchill neighborhood.

Fountaine Ferry has a pretty rich history. After the civil rights issues in 1969, the park did a brief stint as River Glen Park. But that only lasted about a year, and that would have been mid-seventies...
Memories of Fontaine Ferry Park

It's not really close to Churchill, but it's only minutes away if you take Algonquin Parkway. It made lots of good memories for me.

Thank you for the interesting link. The only reason I mentioned Churchill Downs, is because we were able to see it on the way to the park, which wasn't too far away. The link mentions that a number of other amusement parks sprung up around Louisville after the success of Fountaine Ferry. I can't swear to it, but I'm pretty sure the place we went to wasn't that one. And you mentioned that it was only briefly called River Glen Park for about a year in the mid-70s. The park we went to was in the latter-half of the 50s. None of the names of the other parks match. I'm kind of wondering if Fountaine Ferry Park might have been called Riverside Amusement Park (possibly Riverview) at the time we were there. Or was the name of River Glen Park the only name change?

We lived in Cincinnati at the time, and made a couple of trips to Lousiville, just to go to the amusement park there. We went there one summer, then again the following summer. As I recall, it wasn't a particularly large place, but is was very nice and clean, but appeared to be pretty old, even in the late-50s. I was so impressed with it that the name has always seemed to have stuck with me.

I looked at some of the photos of Fountaine Ferry Park, and the park entrance just doesn't look like anything I remember. It's possible I may have just forgotten what the entrance looked like, but I can clearly recall what some of entrances to park in Ohio looked like, such as Coney Island (by the Ohio River) and LeSourdesvelle Lake (north of Cincy). LeSourdsville Lake Park no longer exists, and Coney Island is a mere shell of what it once was. I understand there was an attempt to sort of revive Coney Island, but it's just too difficult to compete with Kings Island theme park.

Nevertheless, I still appreciate the link. Fountaine Ferry Park looks like it has (or had?) a lot of fascinating charm and history.
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Old 01-28-2010, 04:39 PM
 
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There used to be another horse track in Louisville called Miles Park. Wonder if this may be the track you remember?

It seems like I saw a tv show about the history of the Ky State Fair and it was held at the horse track before the fairgrounds were built (I think).

Or...

Could it be the state fair you remember? It's not too far from Churchill Downs.

You've got me curious now
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Gimme3steps View Post
There used to be another horse track in Louisville called Miles Park. Wonder if this may be the track you remember?

It seems like I saw a tv show about the history of the Ky State Fair and it was held at the horse track before the fairgrounds were built (I think).

Or...

Could it be the state fair you remember? It's not too far from Churchill Downs.

You've got me curious now
Miles Park would be an easy name to remember. It definitely wasn't the Ky State Fair, unless the State Fair has a permanent amusement park. One of the reasons I assume it was called "Riverside" because it wasn't too far from the Ohio River, although I don't actually recall seeing the river, except when we crossed the bridge which I think was from Indiana. You know how kids can be with chattering about getting there and later about all the fun stuff you did.

Feeling a bit nostalgic, I've been trying every which way possible to get some information about the place, but keep coming up empty-handed. It's like it never existed. The only thing I can tell you about it, is that it was located not very far from Churchill Downs (we passed it on the way although it wasn't extremely close to it either), that it was a permanent amusement park, it looked like it had been there for quite a long time but it was clean, well maintained and very attractive. Sizewise, I'd say it was a medium sized park, at least for those days. I don't know if you're familiar with LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park in Ohio (near Cincy), but I'd guess it was similar in size. I suppose the amusements and rides I described earlier could probably fit most any of the amusement parks at that time.

Maybe I'll try to check with some of the historical societies and see if they can come up with something. It's been driving me nuts trying to track the thing down.
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Dayton, OH
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Miles Park was on the former KY State Fairgrounds, on the West End. Fountain Ferry would have been nearby. It was also called "Ghost Town on the River" for a bit, too.
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Old 01-29-2010, 06:21 AM
 
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The only other places I can think of are Beech Bend Park but that's in Bowling Green and Holiday World (Santa Claus Land) but that's in Indiana.

Good luck with your search. Let us know if you come up with anything.
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:50 PM
 
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Yes, there was Riverside Amusement Park in Louisville; it had an old wooden Roller Coaster that went way out over the Ohio River. I want to say it was west of Down Town Louisville on the Banks of the Ohio, thus, Riverside, maybe 18th Street area. I was just a kid in the early fifties and went there once with my aunt/uncle and their kids when we were passing through Louisville. Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green was also on the Banks of the Barren River at a bend in the river, but it was named for the Beech Trees on the river not a sand beach.The park rides etc. were built away from the river because the river bottom lands that were part of the park would often flood.
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Old 04-12-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Panapada View Post
Yes, there was Riverside Amusement Park in Louisville; it had an old wooden Roller Coaster that went way out over the Ohio River. I want to say it was west of Down Town Louisville on the Banks of the Ohio, thus, Riverside, maybe 18th Street area. I was just a kid in the early fifties and went there once with my aunt/uncle and their kids when we were passing through Louisville.

Bingo! That sounds like it. Thank you very much. I was beginning to think my memory was flawed. Maybe it's not so bad after all. LOL! I can't remember the orientation to get into it, but I also seem to recall it was located west of downtown. I never rode the roller coaster, so I don't know if it went out over the river or not. I went there a couple of times in the latter 50s. It seemed like a pretty old amusement park even then, but it was a lot of fun.
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Old 04-13-2010, 10:48 AM
 
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This may interest you. Go to page 32 and scroll down to Amusement Parks

The encyclopedia of Louisville - Google Books
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