Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 Memories in the burbs. Previous Next
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Johnlodge
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Username: Johnlodge

Post Number: 17
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.246.96.250
Posted on Monday, May 08, 2006 - 8:10 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was thinking about a memory I never had. I grew up in the northwestern most corner of Novi, and where, at that time, Novi road crossed 13 Mile, right next to Walled Lake, there was a scary looking round building sitting in a large field. My parents told me it used to be an amusement park at one time, before the hazardous nature of rides back then caused one injury too many. Most of it was torn down, and the building that remained was used as a flea market for some time before that eventually closed. For some reason I suddenly decided to look into this a little and found this fantastic web page:

http://www.waterwinterwonderla nd.com/walledlakeamusementpark .asp

I am truly nostalgiac for a thing I never saw.
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The_rock
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Username: The_rock

Post Number: 1227
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.42.251.225
Posted on Monday, May 08, 2006 - 9:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I can remember taking Pontiac Trail from Maple (15 Mile Road) and going over with my folks to the Michigan football games and passing by the old Walled Lake Amusement Park. That old wooden roller-coaster looked pretty awesome from ground level.
I never got to ride it, but my brother did.
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Mikem
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Username: Mikem

Post Number: 2495
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.43.15.105
Posted on Monday, May 08, 2006 - 10:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What caused the demise of the close-in amusement parks? Walled Lake, Eastwood, Jefferson Beach, Electric Park, Edgewood, etc. Land values, liability issues, age, lack of interest, changing tastes, competition?
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Jjaba
Member
Username: Jjaba

Post Number: 3784
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 67.160.138.107
Posted on Monday, May 08, 2006 - 11:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Remember, Michigan's weather means the places aren't open all year. They were big tracts of land for developers. Just like drive-ins, the land was worth more than the customers.

TV and air conditioning were also competition.
The affordability of the automobile made it easier for families to get out of town farther and farther. The interstates and expressways helped empty the city too.

jjaba can compare it to House of David and Jews at South Haven, Mich. in summertime. Times changed, transportation changed, people could go farther away.

And for Brightmoor, this was before Branson, Mo., Micky Gilly, and the Oak Ridge Boys.

jjaba. (Oom papa Oom Papa Oom Papa Mau Mau)
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56packman
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Username: 56packman

Post Number: 263
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 129.9.163.234
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 9:38 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

MikeM--all of those parks listed were built by the streetcar companies (they were privately owned, not municipal in the teens, twenties) as destinations for streetcar riders apart from the mon-fri 6:00 AM-6:00 PM (business week) traffic. This gave riders someplace to go on Sunday, and the streetcar company made that money, too. There is a large old red brick building at Orchard Lake road and Grand river, with a huge smokestack. For most baby boomers who grew up near that, it was a winery. It was built as the power house for the street railway, and the terminal point for a loop that extended all the way up Orchard lake road, ending at the Walled lake amusement park.
My friend Brian Golden can tell much history about this. Folks from the city could take the Grand River street car to Orchard lake road, then transfer to that line up to the park. The parks died when they did because the operators kept them small, did nothing to stem the decline caused by the "punks" who did not behave as previous generations had, and got themselves caught up in a downward spiral of disinvestment that fed itself.
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Rustic
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Username: Rustic

Post Number: 2413
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 130.132.177.245
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 10:57 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Another factor: baby boomers grew up. Although the peak of the baby boom was ~57, there were 11 years of baby boom births prior to that peak. Some of these amusement parks pooped out at about the time that the early to mid baby boomers grew out of the amusement park age range (e.g. Edgewater park).
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Rustic
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Username: Rustic

Post Number: 2414
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 130.132.177.245
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 11:02 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

boom boom boom
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Wash_man
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Username: Wash_man

Post Number: 2
Registered: 05-2006
Posted From: 69.221.80.238
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 11:23 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I grew up in a small town in northern Macomb County. In 1973 our eight grade class trip was to Edgewater Park. It seemed like it was so far, far away. I remember the place as being run down. I remember there was moss growing in the roller coaster cars. It must have closed not long after that.
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Jjaba
Member
Username: Jjaba

Post Number: 3787
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 67.160.138.107
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 2:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wash_man, welcome to Forum. Yes, that Westside destination would have been far away. The onliest reason you were there is because your teacher grew up on the Westside no doubt. She had to tell the bus driver how to get there.

56packman tells it like it tis. They were called "Electric Parks" because they were owned by electric utilities or transit systems. They were destinations on the electric inter-urbans.
The Walled Lake Park would have seemed way far away from the city if you lived on 12th and Grand River for example. Take the drive out Grand River or bus out there and see what jjaba means.

Thanks. There are still some extant, such as Oaks Park, Portland, Oregon; Coney Island; or Santa Cruz, Calif.

jjaba, on the Tilt-a-Whirl.
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The_rock
Member
Username: The_rock

Post Number: 1228
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.42.251.225
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 2:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Electric Park was owned by a family member, (Gaukler). AIW previously posted some neat pictures of the place, down by the MacArthur Bridge.Quite impressive for its time.
Jefferson Beach had a bad fire that took it all down.Late 50's I think. It's now the site of Jefferson Beach Marina in SCS.
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Bongman
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Username: Bongman

Post Number: 1078
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 198.111.56.128
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 3:35 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Does anyone have any pics of the race track that existed on 8 mile somewhere on the East side ?
Maybe Schoennherr ? Any old timers ever go there ?
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Udmphikapbob
Member
Username: Udmphikapbob

Post Number: 147
Registered: 07-2004
Posted From: 206.81.45.34
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 4:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There was a shoddy little amusement park on Van Dyke called "Riverland" too...south of Clinton River Road in what I assume is NW Sterling Heights. Any connection to these other parks, or was that just a private venture?
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Super_d
Member
Username: Super_d

Post Number: 870
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 70.88.106.173
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 4:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

ooooh no! a 'sub-urban' love-fest! yiks!


super d(motordetroit)
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The_rock
Member
Username: The_rock

Post Number: 1229
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.42.251.225
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 6:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bongman---perhaps you are thinking of (8 Mile Race Track)---"Motor City Speedway:---Fred Wolf ( WXYZ) calling the stock car races on radio ( and later tv)---Iggy Gatona, driver, a crowd pleaser, vowed he would not shave til he won a race. Had quite a beard before he finally crossed the finish line in first place. Then there was Wild Bill Nyaday or was he a boxer? I think he was a driver.--"dem were the days."

I also saw a boxing match or two there---No one but me remembers Baltimore's own "Sonny Boy West", who eventually lost his life in a later boxing match. I saw his one bout at MCS.
Boy, that had to be a good 50 years ago!
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Jjaba
Member
Username: Jjaba

Post Number: 3790
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 67.160.138.107
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 7:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Rock has a memory. Wow.
But what was for supper last night?

jjaba.
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Ray1936
Member
Username: Ray1936

Post Number: 546
Registered: 01-2005
Posted From: 207.200.116.139
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 7:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Rock's memory ain't perfect. It was Iggy Katona, not Gatona. When he wasn't racing at Motor City Speedway, he ran a garage at Orchard Lake road and Maple Road. It was practically farmland then; cripes, it's the middle of Farmington Hills now.
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Mikeg
Member
Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 60
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 69.136.155.244
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 7:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The now-defunct Riverland Amusement Park was situated on the east side of Van Dyke, along the south bank of the Clinton River. It began life in the 1920's as one of the numerous picnic groves in that area which were established by various ethnic and fraternal groups in Detroit whose members wanted their own place in the country for summertime fun. A "Sunday Drive", coupled with bands, beer, pop and games for the kids in a shady picnic grove was very popular with families back in the 1920's and 30's.
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Jjaba
Member
Username: Jjaba

Post Number: 3793
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 67.160.138.107
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 8:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Even guys on the Westside knew Iggy Katona. jjaba spoke too soon about the Rock. Thanks Ray1936.

jjaba.
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Jimg
Member
Username: Jimg

Post Number: 593
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 205.188.116.137
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 8:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Electric Park hosted dance bands in the 'teens. LeRoy Smith, among other bands.
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Pam
Member
Username: Pam

Post Number: 186
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 4.229.90.154
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 8:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

he ran a garage at Orchard Lake road and Maple Road. It was practically farmland then; cripes, it's the middle of Farmington Hills now.




Actually that is West Bloomfield Twp.
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The_rock
Member
Username: The_rock

Post Number: 1230
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.42.251.225
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 9:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Love a duck---I type a g instead of a k after 50 years and all hell breaks loose. Jump all over the rock.

Anyway, I don't remember the garage at Orchard Lake and Maple, but I do remember a Cities Service gas station that was on the south side of Maple west of the Orchard Lake intersection. Actually it was a stone structure and there were very few Cities Services gas stations around then. Wasn't there Paul Levoy and his Cities Services house band that played (live) on WJR in the 40's?
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Jjaba
Member
Username: Jjaba

Post Number: 3798
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 67.160.138.107
Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 3:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Rock remembers the 19 cent gas at Cities Service, eh? now it costs more than that for chewing gum.

Rock, type your posts in pencil, then when you have to erase it won't sting so badly.

This Forum is about truth, like the absence of socks on anybody from Grosse Pointe at ballgames.
Lawyer slip-ons without socks are just plain stupid. Bad enough, the cigars!

jjaba.
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The_rock
Member
Username: The_rock

Post Number: 1235
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.42.251.225
Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 4:41 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

wise ass.
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The_rock
Member
Username: The_rock

Post Number: 1236
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.42.251.225
Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 4:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I mean wise guy.
And you just wait til you are .00002 off the mark on something. Of course, you have so many posts going, it takes three grown men and a boy just to keep up with you.

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