Long Gone: Electric Amusement Park, Detroit, Michigan: 1905-1928
One of Michigan's most unique amusement parks has been completely gone now for almost 100 years. It's the Electric Amusement Park along the Detroit River. It began operation in 1905 and was spread out over the east and west sides of the Belle Isle Bridge.
Those who search for info on this park may not realize it was known under quite a few other names: Granada Park, Luna Park, and Riverview Park.
While seemingly not as large as many other parks, over the years it was jam-packed with amusements: Aerial swings, Big Dipper, boardwalk, the Bobs, coliseum, concession stands, Dare Devil, Derby Race, Ferris Wheel, the Johnstown Flood simulator, live acrobats & entertainment, ostrich races, Palace Gardens ballroom (burned down in 1912), Palais de Danse ballroom, picnic area, Pier ballroom, Ramona dance hall, riverfront pier, Shoot-the Chutes, spook house, torture ship, "Trip Thru the Clouds - Detroit's Greatest Ride", the Whip, and more.
With another competing park closeby, Electric Park began struggling financially. Instead of cutting back, more attractions were added, putting the owners deeper in debt. After closing in 1909, half the park was demolished in 1911. Not ready to give up - and still owning the land - Arthur Gaukler began erecting a new two-mile roller coaster...but he died in 1912 before it was completed.
According to Historic Detroit, "The site and coaster opened as Pike’s Peak, which then became the Derby Racer and was eventually folded into the Riverview Park resort next door, on the east side of the bridge approach."
In the 1920s, someone in the city began causing a stink about legal ownership of the park, and stating it was an eyesore and shouldn't exist. By 1927, the City of Detroit ended up condemning the structures, claiming they were a blight to the city. The park finally shut down for good. Historic Detroit also says, "All of Riverview was demolished by the City in 1928 as a public nuisance and turned into Gabriel Richard Park."
The west side of the bridge eventually became MacArthur Bridge Park, which was the original site of Electric Park. It's a pretty place, but pretty boring compared to what it once was - almost 100 years ago. Take a look at some photos below...
Electric Amusement Park, Detroit: 1906-1928
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