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
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
(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
Dance Hall - Dances – Saturday nights
Thursday – Friday - Saturday
Various bands –
and his Navy Dance Orchestra,
and his Black and Gold Orchestra,
Bredenberg and his Metropolitans,
Trubadours (an 8 piece band from Lincoln),
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
Blacks in WWII (they were not allowed in Harmon Park pool)
Motion pictures--“Three Wise Crooks”,
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
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
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
The long shed-like building enclosed 6 rooms for the sleeping quarters of
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
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.