Park lit up the night and imaginations

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News


Electric Park View is the title of this postcard published in 1913 for Electric Park in Kansas City, Mo. Electric Park was named for the 100,000 electric light bulbs outlining the park’s buildings and rides, which turned night into day after dark. So bright were the lights, the park was dubbed by writers of the day as “the great white city of Brush Creek valley.”

City maps of 1908 show Electric Park at what was then the extreme south city limits at 46th Street and Paseo Boulevard, extending east to Woodland Avenue. The original park was located in the East Bottoms, at the foot of Chestnut Avenue, near the present-day Guinotte ramp.
Electric Park opened May 19, 1907, to a crowd of 53,000. No beer was served in the park, as the city fathers refused to grant a liquor permit 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 dance pavilion that nobody worried about beer. There was a slight retaliatory action by the owners, Michael and Fred Heim of the Heim Brewing Company, however, when they levied 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. Young women on a pedestal emerged from the fountain every hour of the evening, as if by magic, and held the crowd spellbound with their graceful poses, while flooded with colored lights that blended and changed shades.

Much of the park burned May 28, 1925, and was not rebuilt. The park continued to operate in its diminished capacity for years after the fire, but the spell was broken. Following a final fire in the early 1940s, the park finally closed for good. The rusted steel skeleton of the Coaster stood as an eerie testament of what once was.

The Village Green apartments and a shopping center were built on the site in 1948. Today there is no hint either of Kansas City’s Electric Parks ever existed.

The card was mailed to Mrs. S. W. Palmer, Route 1, Milo, Mo., just south of Nevada, on May 13, 1913. The message is typewritten. It reads, “Dear Mother, I must write you a card for I know you think I have forgotten you but that is not the case. I have so much work to do. I worked tonight and Edith came down and wrote letters. She got home alright. I guess you are all pretty busy now. When are you coming up? I am feeling fine, only a little tired. I would sure like to see you all. Give Lucille a kiss for me. I will try and write a letter soon. Tell Nell I will write another letter to her too. With much love, Harry.”

Comments are closed.

  • Delaware one of the city’s oldest streets

    October 18th, 2017

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Most of the buildings shown in this Southwest News Company postcard published in 1907 were demolished […]

    In the beginning, Northeast High School is newly constructed

    October 4th, 2017

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News According to the Nor’easter, Volume 1, Number 1, under the leadership of Editor Nathan Scarritt, the […]

    Racetrack’s legacy endures

    September 27th, 2017

    Michael Bushnell The Northeast News The Kansas City-Smithville Race Track grandstands and the first turn are pictured on this postcard […]

    Kansas City’s First Streetcars

    September 20th, 2017

    by Michael Bushnell Northeast News Kansas City’s street railway began humbly in 1869 with the advent of small, animal-drawn  cars […]

    Benton Circle: The Early Days

    September 13th, 2017

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News This week, we feature a card John Straley published between 1925-1930 titled “The Benton Circle,” […]

  • Community still served from stately edifice

    September 6th, 2017

    In January of 1885 a lot at the corner of 9th and Harrison was purchased by T.M. James for the […]

    A tribute to the American worker

    August 30th, 2017

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News The postcards shown this week are real photo postcards from the estate of long-time Northeast […]

    Memories of the 1908 flood

    August 23rd, 2017

    By M. Bushnell The Northeast News This week’s postcard shows the result of countless days of rain and the lack […]

    “One of the greatest playgrounds in America”

    August 16th, 2017

    by Michael Bushnell Northeast News The description inside this vintage 1930s Curt Teich linen postcard folder of the Lake of […]

    The Mother Of All Rallies

    August 9th, 2017

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News In honor of the 77th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the Black Hills of South […]

  • What’s Happening

    Probable cause statement reveals details of Sunday homicide on Ewing Ave.

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News Just after 5:00 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, October 15, a woman approached a […]

    KCAI students working on new mural project at Whittier Elementary

    By Melissa Wharton Northeast News Following last year’s completion of the Scarritt Elementary murals, artist Hector Casanova and his Kansas […]

    Shooting near Denver and Smart in Northeast KC

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News A shooting near the intersection of Denver and Smart Avenues in the Historic Northeast on […]

  • Local Weather