Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lakeside Amusement Park History

Originally named The White City, Lakeside Amusement Park opened in 1908. The current name is appropriate as it sits next to Lake Rhoda and for many years incorporated it in some of its rides. You used to be able to rent boats and take them out on the water but they no longer do that. The pier is still there though and looks a bit rickety. Whats great about Lakeside is that its like a time capsule with many different architectural styles represented. Theres the Exposition style of the original buildings; the Art Deco renovations of the 1940s; the Modern touches of the 50s; onto the more contemporary current rides that are popular today.

This post is going to be more about Lakesides rides and attractions that are no longer in use. The remnants of most of them can still be seen in the park, which makes them more interesting. There are buildings that still stand but you can't go inside. Its aggravating and mysterious at the same time.

Lakeside 1908. The Tower of Jewels is at the entrance and is covered in over 5000 lights. It also features the word Redit, whos meaning is a bit of a mystery. That main building used to be the Casino Theater, who's sign is still there.


The Casino Theater had a prison theme. Looks a bit too real IMO.
Shoot The Chutes water ride. The pool is now used in the Scoota Boats ride.


Another view of the Shoot the Chutes ride. This is a great view of the park!


The ghost of the Star Ride, which was the original Ferris Wheel, still stands in an overgrowth of trees.


Another ride that is now gone was the Funhouse.




Interior of the Funhouse.




Laughing Sal who stood outside the Funhouse laughing, obviously. I'm sure she was the cause of many childrens nightmares.

The pier still stands for the Scooter Boats, though it is not in use anymore.




The Lakeside Speedway still stands. It was a circular race track that was used through the 80s. After multiple deaths though it was closed for good.


The College Inn is now closed but is Art Deco in design. There was also an Olympic sized indoor pool that I can't find pictures of. Its still there but has been closed for some time.

My favorite closed attraction is the Riviera Ballroom, which was formerly the historic El Patio Ballroom. All the major big band acts played there. The interior was designed by Richard Crowther, who did all the Art Deco ticket booths throughout the park. You can just barely see into one of the windows. You can't see much but it does look like everything is still in there!

The White City at night, which is the best time to go!!

34 comments:

  1. Great pictures!
    Amusement parks make me SO HAPPY! Ever since I was a kid if I knew the carnival was in town I would not stop bugging my parents until they took me. When it came to the time I had my own money and was an adult I swear I SPENT so much on those places riding rides and winning giant stuffed animals. lol

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  2. I love them too! One time my cousin and I rode the roller coaster 20+ times in a row! Now if I did that I'd be sick. Lol!

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  3. Great page, Holly! It really takes me back, although I haven't lived in Colorado for 20 years. You're right about the creepy Laughing Sal too. "She" and the Funhouse (especially the slides) have been a rare but occurring element in my dreams over the years. Sometimes I wonder if I dreamt something or if it really happened! Your pics help me remember that it was real. :-) Thanks for the memories and for posting this... I'm glad I found it!

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  4. Not to lurk but I'm still web surfing and saw this: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/26803253
    Picture of the front of the Funhouse. Too funny!

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  5. An anonymous comment. The theater is still there and is now a store room for all the old rides, almost a ride graveyard. The pool is gone, either filled in or removed. As far as the ball room the floor is beautiful cherry wood but most everything is covered up in it. It has a few old cars like Dick Tracy style, very cool. I got to share a lot of the behind the scenes there and it was an amazing experience.

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  6. Anon-thanks for the inside percpective!!I'd love to see it all, especially the ball room. I really wish they'd reopen it. And its too bad about the pool. I saw a post card of it ages ago and it was amazing!

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  7. I went to lakeside yesterday. I've lived in Colorado for a few years now but it was my first time visiting.
    I was in awe! The tower is amazing!! But something about the park feels so....off.
    There were hardly any lines for anything. It felt like a ghost town but we got to ride everything. Some of the older rides are a bit rickety. I was a little nervous around them and there's so many closed buildings, I wanted to go in them soo bad!
    I rode the Scoota boats ride and I remember thinking that it looked like it had been a pool at one time. The water is green and disgusting but part of me wishes they would restore it to the original ride/pool again. And I remember asking my friend about the original ferris wheel. It just sits there dead. It's so mysterious....
    I wanted to get a brochure but I couldn't find one :'(
    I also remember seeing the word "Redit" while I was walking out. I thought maybe it at one time said "credit" and the c was gone but I'm not really sure.
    Hopefully lakeside doesn't lose the history that makes it so famous. Alot of the older rides are closing and being replaced with newer ones.

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  8. @Anon:
    The pool is not gone.
    It's being used for a bumper boats ride called Scoota Boats.
    But it's really sad. I wish it was a pool again :'(
    It must've been amazing!

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    1. The pool was indoors, not out where the Scoota Boats are. It was located in the building right inside the entrance.

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  9. I grew up in Wheat Ridge and spent a lot of time at Lakeside from the late 1950's into the 1960's. I have lots of fond memories of it, it was a great place at a great time. There were always big crowds, lots of rides and plenty of food and fun. I rode in the Speed Boats over Lake Rhoda, rode in the ferris wheel (it had large "buckets" for seating, each holding 4-6 people), went to a lot of races at the Speedway on Sunday nights, even went to the indoor pool once. I remember it was beautiful, everything in white tile. The pool building is still there but I've heard the pool itself has been torn out and the building is used as storage. We spent a lot of time in the Fun House, running through the rolling barrels, spinning on the pancake ride (pictured above), sliding down the long steep wooden slides, and reaching for the pole in the spinning cage. And yes, there was something very malevolent about the Laughing Lady. Lakeside also had one of the best 4th of July fireworks displays in Denver. It would be great to see the amusement park come back to life some day.

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  10. I too grew up in Colorado but in the 70's and we spent a lot of time at this place! It was so busy back then, it's kinda hard to see how run down it has become....but that's not why I am posting...I actually own one of the old speed boats that they rented out on Lake Rhoda! it's a 1969 Neuman. It has really taken a beating over the years but I am restoring it and hope to have it done within the next year. I was wondering if anyone has any old pictures of the speed boats? I want to make it as original as possible...it still has the plate inside explaining the rules and conditions of the rental :) Anyway, it would be great if someone has a picture or two :) if so, I can be emailed at sk8.mob@live.com! Thanks!!!

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    1. I just saw your post from 5 years ago, Lyle Mclaughlin took care and drove the boats in the 50s till his death, he loved those boats, he lived in one of houses that Lakeside owned for their employees, I have seen pictures of him with the boats but I am not sure what happened to them his daughter has them I think that is cool you have one or had one

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  11. remit means return in latin. i havent been to lakeside since i was a kid but im hoping to take the kids this summer. Maybe ill take the time to appreciate the lakeside charm. Does any1 know why the staride was closed down?

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  12. so ive found a bunch of things trying to convince me this is scp-823,the tragedy filled theme park from hell thats abandoned...is it? please let me know...prestonb51@yahoo.com

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    1. No..the park is still there...and so is the track, but the track was shut down in 1988 after a tragic accident involving a car into the the stands. One woman was killed...and she was the only death that ever happened there. It still stands, but the pavement has been overgrown, the bleachers and the stands remain empty and deteriorated...Time has taken its toll, it's decrepit but it still stands...where massive engines once roared, all that be heard there now are birds chirping...

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  13. I saw your post on temperamental broads website & im sorry to say that lakeside isnt what your looking for. Althought there are rumors about several deaths & hauntings this isnt the carnival of horrors but this is what i think your looking for,
    Takakanonuma Greenland

    http://www.tofugu.com/2011/08/17/japans-abandoned-amusement-parks-creepy/

    it has the same photos as the scp-823 website. Hope this helps

    It tried emailing you personally but it wouldnt go through

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  14. I must correct you on the speedway issue. The Speedway closed after ONE death. According to the Denver Post, the "first and only death in the track's 50-year history." Not "multiple"...just one. A 26-year-old woman from Arvada. Read up on the history of Lakeside Speedway...it's rich! My buddies and I used to go there during the 70s. A lotta history happened there...That's why I think nobody has had the heart to tear it down yet. I think it can be refurbished and brought back to life, and I think many people agree... It's not NASCAR, that's for sure! But it still is one of the few remaining race tracks of it's kind...

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    1. memories!!! my pops (Dan Pierce) owned and built a super modified #70 that raced at Lakeside Speedway, driven by Billy Ager who had the track record in 1980. Such sweet memories.. thanks for the blog.

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    2. My dad took me swimming at the pool in the 50-60's. I remember that there were port hole windows in the pool house.. I grew up with Lakeside, lived in Westminster and could see the fireworks from my backyard..so many memories... I go there at least once a year and ride the Cyclone and the Chipmunk. DO NOT DRINK they will bust you. Been kicked out a few times, but oh well..

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    3. You are correct I was there that night a tire got airborne and flew over the high fence striking her, insurance got to high couldn't afford to keep the track open, a lot of people can't understand why it still stands, Mr Krasner is in heaven smiling down at his beloved race track that he loved and made sure as long as his family owned it that it could not be torn down

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  15. My boyfriend and I go to Lakeside every year for the 4th of July. Today was our 11th year! They have taken down my favorite Riviera sign. So glad to see the beautiful picture you've posted. Wouldn't it be cool to see the park restored? Not renovated - we asked about that one year and were told something like 'NO we like the park the way it is!' Me too, but a little restoration would be nice I think.

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  16. My deceased aunt used to dance to the Big Bands at Lakeside - She told us before she passed away that the band members actually stayed in the rooms up in the main entrance tower - They were small bedrooms for that purpose.

    Here is another one: The Old Band Box records Studio (now Freaky's) is very near by on Sheridan - Family members recently told me that when the original "Laughing Sal" recording wore out - they record a new one at the studio providing the new laughing lady voice for the park in 1960's probably up until the end. They can't recall the name of the woman who did the new recording version but she was local. Several years ago my daughter asked around the park about the whereabouts for the "Laughing Lady" (which is what many called her back in the day) and they only would say that she is in storage in Denver. I have heard rumors not long ago that she would be revived at the park!

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  17. I really want to thank you for digging into the history of Lakeside. I grew up in the neighborhood and I consider the amusement park part of my childhood. So many people frown on Lakeside but it really is a chunck of history that I would love to see come back alive. I never saw pictures of the fun house so that was really cool to see. Thanks again.

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  18. Is the Laughing Sal photo shown above the actual Lakeside Laughing Lady? I Must Know! Thanks

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    1. I'm almost certain that has to be a different one from the original one that was at Lakeside. I've done lots of research and am still searching for a good copy of the original one at Lakeside. (Chase)

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  19. Thank you so much for posting this forum! My father worked for the Public Service Company of Colorado (now Xcel Energy) and every summer they had a huge picnic for Public Service employees and their families at Lakeside! Those memories remain some of my most cherished memories of childhood. Regarding "Laughing Sal", my family and I recently took a trip to San Francisco. While visiting the retired submarine USS Pampanito we stumbled upon the Musee Mecanique (Mechanical Museum) and was blown away! It is a MUST SEE for anyone interested in old penny arcades! Anyway, on our way out low and behold I ran face to face into one of my oldest childhood nightmares ... Laughing Sal! Apparently hundreds of "Sals" were built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company of Germantown, PA in the early 1930’s. Below is the website. Be sure to spend some extra time checking out the rest of the Musee Mecanique site itself:
    http://www.museemechanique.org/3.html

    Thanks again!

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  20. found a photo of the pool at the Denver Library photo archive
    http://cdm15330.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15330coll22/id/41896/rec/9

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    1. here's the link for more old Lakeside photos
      http://cdm15330.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/search/searchterm/Lakeside

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  21. My grandparents both worked at a night club that was located on the Southwest corner of the park for many years. Rumor had it that the mob burned it down because owners would not pay extortion. My grandmother once told me that if any band played at Lakeside OR Elitch Gardens, they played at the club as well!!

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  22. Lakeside was a wonderful place.People used to take care of it but now they don't😣i hope they find a way to restore it.😊but they shouldn't have to do that because it should have been kept wonderful and beautiful. They have closed of some rides that they shouldn't have but I hope they open again somehow soon😊.

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  23. i live in Denver not to far from Lakeside Amusement Park. Me and my family are going there tomorrow. We always go around the time it opens and go on the kiddie rides till the bigger rides open. When ever we're on the way home and we pass by Berkeley Park, I start hearing the stories my dad tells about him and my uncle and aunt all swam there every summer and all the old rides.

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  24. Lakeside has many memories and deaths. I am trying to confirm this tragedy that took place at lakeside on the roller coaster. Stormy ( Leon Rottman weather man of 9 news ) sin was killed in freak accident correct? I remember it well Jst not the date and I am trying to verify that and can't find anything linked to " stormy " son killed. Anyone know any info on that or links that can help me.

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  25. Hello I am trying to write review of accidents that took place at lakeside. anyone remember the freak accident that know liked Leon ( stormy ) Rottman who was weather man at 9 news in late 70's-early 80's his son was tragically killed at lakeside amusement park cyclone roller coaster.

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I love reading your wonderful comments and opinions!! Feel free to ask questions and I will happily answer them as fast as I can! Any negative comments will be deleted.

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