By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
October 24, 2012
Electric Park once boasted over 100,000 electric light bulbs that outlined buildings and rides; then after dark they turned night into day. Writers of the day referred to it as “the great white city of Brush Creek valley.”
City maps of 1908 show Electric Park located at what was then the southern city limits, near 46th Street and The Paseo, extending east to Woodland Avenue. The original park, however, was located at the foot of Chestnut Avenue, near the present day Guinotte Ramp in the city’s East Bottoms area.
Admittance to the park was 10 cents. After that, you were on your own. Following its move from the East Bottoms, the Heim Brothers of the Heim Brewing company opened the new Electric Park May 19, 1907, to a crowd of 53,000. No beer was served in the park as the city fathers refused a license to the brothers for the park. Soon there proved to be such good returns from popcorn, hot dogs, peanuts, ice cream, roller coasters, shooting galleries, swimming pool and the dance pavilion, that nobody worried about beer.
There was a slight retaliatory action by the bothers, however, when they made a one-cent charge on each glass of water. There was a charge for swimming, but none for the famous night spectacle of “Living Statuary” at the fountain in the lake. Here, beautiful, young women on a pedestal emerged from the fountain every hour of the evening, as if by magic. They held the crowd spellbound with their graceful poses, all the while flooded with colored lights that merged, blended and changed shades over their lovely forms. Much of the park burned on May 28, 1925, and was not rebuilt. Part of the park continued to operate for years after the fire, but the spell was broken. Times were changing and the radio, motor car and movies were all competing for one’s leisure hours. In 1923, Fairyland Park near 75th and Troost had just opened with flashy new rides and attractions. In 1945, the remainder of the park and the skeleton of the old, burned coaster was demolished to make way for The Village Green Apartments and a shopping center.
Today there is no hint that Brush Creek’s great white way even existed.