could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

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Amusement Parks

We go from ice skating to amusement park, another form of entertainment in the days before TV and video games

Kearney Lake Amusement Park

        1913 – Kearney Lake amusement park rights sold to 2 Fremont men
        1914 – New manager, Earl Bell

                Also connected with Krug Park in Omaha,

                Brighten Beach in New York,

                amusement park in San Bernardino, CA

                and had a large traveling carnival.

He proposed to install a “Parker three abreast jumping horse carry-us-all.”
        It was to be on the hill to the left of the pavilion.

Also a contract had been let to provide for electric lighting.

The dance pavilion was to be remodeled and a canopy placed over the dance floor so they could dance even if it was raining.

Confusion because there were two amusement parks west of Kearney
1. Kearney Amusement Park – 1919-20-21 at Cottonmill site
        2. 1733 Amusement Park – ca. 1925-50’s? At Watson Ranch site

Kearney Amusement Park
        Cotton mill site purchased by Denison, owner of the Midway Hotel

        Plans for park announced in May 1919
        Opened July 2 with dance featuring a 7-piece jazz band
                Not finished, construction went on all summer
        August – traffic problems with speeding [mph not given]
                Special problem west of Kearney when there was congested traffic because of events at the Amusement park.
                Glare of headlights led to accidents. People were not using their dimmer switches.

        Operated summers of 1920 and 1921
                Swimming pool, dance floor, roller coaster, concession stands, an ornate entrance. A “mecca for outers”

        Burned March 19, 1922 - never reopened

            (Owners had filed bankruptcy the previous November)

1733 Amusement Park
Open in summer of 1925 – no mention earlier

Location – west of 62nd Ave, south of highway, Watson Ranch marker

Recreational facilities
        Dance Hall - Dances – Saturday nights
                                Thursday – Friday - Saturday
        Various bands
            Peck’s Bad Boys,
            Collegians of Lincoln,
            The Arcadians,
            Russ Nichols and his Navy Dance Orchestra,
            Karl Bartz and his Black and Gold Orchestra,
            Ray Bredenberg and his Metropolitans,
            The Trubadours (an 8 piece band from Lincoln),
            Guy Hite’s Midway Hotel Orchestra,
            George Belshaw & his Brunswick Recording Orchestra, of 11 instruments.
            A colored orchestra, the Bostonians, for BPO Does Charity Ball

        Swimming pool – Red Cross Swimming instruction summer 1927
            Used by Blacks in WWII  (they were not allowed in Harmon Park pool)

        Motion pictures--“Three Wise Crooks”, --“Uneasy Payments,”

Traffic – July 1925
        Resolution by county –
            No parking on highway half mile beginning at the corner of now 62nd Ave and Highway 30 going west
            For any “longer than necessary to discharge or take on passengers”
            Vehicles should be driven at a speed no greater than is “reasonable and proper”

        An added problem –
            because of the excellent condition of the road from the end of Watson Boulevard [the seedling mile] to the amusement park, motorists were tempted to “see what the car will do.”

            “Frequent curves in the road, the passing of several culverts and a small bridge along the route is not sufficient to deter some drivers from making the attempt."

         Several accidents – people have sustained bruises, cars have been smashed, fortunately no fatal accidents. It is not necessary for anyone to park outside the Amusement Park limits.

        April 27, 1927 – Tourist Houses at Park –
            Half a dozen small houses for the use of tourist[s] who do not have tents.
            Placed just west of the large dance hall,
            One long house, extends west with the opening on the south facing a large field.
                The long shed-like building enclosed 6 rooms for the sleeping quarters of the tourists

                and a garage for each car.

        May 1929 – More entertainment
            The dance hall overhauled and greatly improved
            Miniature railway, operated by steam,
            The mixup swing
            Other items not specifically named or described.
            The pool opened in June

And Also....

New Mode of transportation – air travel
Sept. 20, 1919 – A plane flew over Kearney from west to east. Unknown where it came from or where it was going but the fact that it flew over the city was such a rarity it warrented putting it in the paper.

June 1929 "--Word has been received here that at least part of the orchestra, the Collegians, who play here for a dance tonight, will arrive by airplane."

Things we take for granted today were once a cause for wonder and amazement.


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Revised: 02/08/2018