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Former Amusement Park on Riverside Drive


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#1 Bill Sievers

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 04:51 AM

Does anyone recall the small amusement park on Riverside Drive south of Berry Street?  As I recall it was in business in the late '50's and had a small live-steam locomotive which pulled a small train inside the park.  Traveling up and down on Riverside Dr. via Google Street View does not reveal any traces of the facility.  I believe I have the general location correct though.



#2 Doohickie

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 07:58 AM

You might try Historic Aerials to see if you could find it on an old aerial map.  They go back to 1952 in that part of town.

 

I'm not from Ft Worth originally, but there is the Forest Park Railroad that runs between the Zoo and Trinity Park; that's not the train you're thinking of, is it?  (It still runs today.)


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#3 gdvanc

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 09:12 AM

Your location seems accurate. According to Mike Nichols on his Hometown by Handlebar blog, there "yoostabe a modest amusement park, Southside Play Grounds & Miniature Golf" at 3121 S Riverside Dr, which is just south of Berry. He doesn't mention the locomotive, but does say it had a cigarette-smoking monkey.

 

The whole article (published just 4 months ago) is worth a read if you're into local history:

 

Cowtown Yoostabes, Sycamore Edition: Movies, Mobsters, and the Marlboro Monkey



#4 Bill Sievers

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 06:20 PM

Thanks GDVANC for the link.  It was interesting reading!  I guess that's where that park was on Riverside Dr., but now there's no trace of it ever having been there.  That was essentially 60 years ago now, so that's not surprising.  Across the road (looking west) from where it was located is a large concrete slab, which I'm assuming was the floor of some large building. I wonder what was located there and when?

 

Doohickie, I haven't had good luck with Historical Aerials at all.  I check it out about once a year to see if the quality has improved, but all of the photos I've looked at are very "muddy" looking when you zoom in to a useful level.  It also looks like they've increased the number of watermarks too.  Originally I thought they intentionally degraded the quality of the photos, and sharpened them up for better resolution when you became a paying subscriber.  When I traded e-mails with them about that, I was told "what you see is what you get but without the watermarks".  This site could be a spectacular resource, but for me the aerial photos are just too low resolution, especially back in the '50's and '60's time frame.  I hear that a lot of people really like it though.



#5 Bill Sievers

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 06:25 PM

Doohickie, I forgot to mention about your question concerning the Trinity Park / Zoo RR.  No, I'm familiar with that ride.  This amusement park had a miniature real live-steam locomotive, which is something you don't see much anymore in amusement parks.  Probably due to the potential liability issues (boiler mishaps, etc.).



#6 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 08:06 PM

Thanks GDVANC for the link.  It was interesting reading!  I guess that's where that park was on Riverside Dr., but now there's no trace of it ever having been there.  That was essentially 60 years ago now, so that's not surprising.  Across the road (looking west) from where it was located is a large concrete slab, which I'm assuming was the floor of some large building. I wonder what was located there and when?

 

Doohickie, I haven't had good luck with Historical Aerials at all.  I check it out about once a year to see if the quality has improved, but all of the photos I've looked at are very "muddy" looking when you zoom in to a useful level.  It also looks like they've increased the number of watermarks too.  Originally I thought they intentionally degraded the quality of the photos, and sharpened them up for better resolution when you became a paying subscriber.  When I traded e-mails with them about that, I was told "what you see is what you get but without the watermarks".  This site could be a spectacular resource, but for me the aerial photos are just too low resolution, especially back in the '50's and '60's time frame.  I hear that a lot of people really like it though.

 

That's probably the resolution the pictures were taken at many decades ago. The resolution might be lower if the pictures degraded over time in storage. You can't just go back and add resolution (pixels) to old pictures.

 

Looking at 1956 imagery, I see something that looks like it might be an amusement park southeast of Riverside & Berry.


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#7 Phil Phillips

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 10:13 AM

The slab across Riverside to the west is probably a strip shopping center that was demolished.  Although I grew up in Handley, we would come to that strip center to race slot cars in the mid-60s.  We also had a slot car track in the Motts/Piggly Wiggly shopping center at Handley and Meadowbrook.  It was the large scale cars, not small ones you find in toy stores today.






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