Comment of the Day

Reader: Lakeside Amusement Park Could Use a New Coat of Paint

Closed for the season.
Closed for the season. Brandon Johnson
This weekend, during Doors Open Denver, you can visit famous places all around the city. One that won't be open: Lakeside Amusement Park, which closed for the season last Sunday.

But then, Lakeside is not actually part of Denver. Robert Speer, who was elected mayor of Denver in 1904, got together with brewer Adolph Zang to create Lakeside at the edge of Lake Sylvan, at West 46th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard, to lift Denver from its dirty, bar-brawling roots into a dream city that Speer envisioned as “Paris on the Platte.”

As part of Zang’s master plan, and to avoid Denver’s blue laws prohibiting the sale of liquor on Sundays, the home of the future amusement park was incorporated as the town of Lakeside in 1907, which would allow the brewer-owned facility to serve liquor daily once it opened. Although Zang envisioned the land surrounding the park becoming an upscale housing development, that idea never took hold. The park, however, did. An estimated 50,000 people attended its opening in 1908.

While the days when Lakeside was known as the White City for its 100,000 lights (many long gone), the amusement park still has its fans...and foes.

Says Peter: 
Lakeside is a blast! We love riding the Cyclone!
Responds Rodney: 
Shut it down already.
Asks Factotum:
 When's that "new" coaster going to open? I also wish they would slap a coat of paint on that place, change some burnt-out bulbs, trim some hedges, and not have such odd hours. The potential of that place is endless but the owners are happy to let it decay, apparently.
Concludes Stephanie: 
We love you, Lakeside!
For over 110 years, Lakeside Amusement Park has been a landmark on the edge of Denver, first as a testament to boosters’ desire to add beauty to the young city, then as one family’s determination to offer affordable family fun to residents of the aging city. It’s a beloved institution that’s made the transition from Beaux Arts grandeur to Art Deco design to what today often looks like nostalgic kitsch.

Ben Krasner, head of concessions at the park, acquired ownership of Lakeside Amusement Park from its founders in 1935. Rather than the highfalutin’ White City, Krasner envisioned Lakeside as a park for the people. His daughter, Rhoda, is now in charge, and installed that new Zyklon model steel roller coaster last season, but it has yet to give the classic 1940 wooden Cyclone a run for its money.

What do you think of Lakeside Amusement Park? Did you visit this year? Will you go next summer? Post a comment or share your thoughts at [email protected]

Ken Hamblin III
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