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brucesw

Luna Park

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Does anyone know where the old Houston neighborhood known as Luna Park was/is? (In the mid-20s). Was it a neighborhood or a park?

Alternatively, has Houston Ave. always been known as that? Or did there used to be another Houston Ave.?

I have 2 references, one to Luna Park the other to an address on Houston Ave., but I don't know if it's the same place being referenced. If so then it's basically between Downtown and Woodland Heights, north of Washington Ave.

I'm new at this and I have no idea where to go to find this sort of info.

Thanks.

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I do believe that Luna Park was on Houston Ave. I could have sworn it was shown on one of my maps, but I cannot find it. I may be wrong, but there may have been another park somewhere off Allen Parkway, possibly around Taft.

I first heard about Luna on one of the

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Yes, it was the KUHT series and can be purchased at the Channel 8 Store online. However, it appears that Vol 3 is not available. It is the one about "Holiday Memories". Segments from that tape include the annual Wheatley-Yates Thanksgiving football game. That was one of the biggest sporting events in Houston back then.

Also included is Foley's downtown store with its Christmas decorated windows, and Mrs. Baird's bakery on W Gray with a live Santa in his sleigh. What was strange about that display is that Santa looked an awful lot like Vernon Baird.

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As far as I know Luna Park was on Houston Ave near Woodland Heights. The only photo of it that I've seen is on the cover of "Houston: Then and Now", where you can see the roller coaster.

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Thanks for the info. That book is on my list but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I have a couple of the KUHT shows on tape; I'll have to review them. I hadn't even thought about that.

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Here is the information I now have about Luna Park. It was opened in June of 1924 on 36 acres of land. The parking lot was right along the bayou on a somewhat precipitous slope. It was stated that the park was on the south side of Buffalo Bayou at Houston Avenue, but that cannot be as that is the location of Sam Houston Park. I am sure they meant to say White Oak Bayou.

The roller coaster may have been called the Scenic Railway. Another of the most thrilling rides was the Mechanical Caterpillar, a ride still found in many traveling carnivals. The cars went around in a circle on an up and down track, and a canopy was extended over the cars to make it dark.

A big attraction at Luna was

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Thanks, H2B,

I saw it was episode 3 of the Houston Remembers When tapes and there's a good bit on the KUHT website describing the program; unfortunately the tape is out of stock and it's one I don't have.

The two references I have: one referred just to Luna Park, the other to 1406 Houston Ave, which is about 3 blocks north of Washington as I recall (drove the area a couple of weeks ago looking for a school or something 'Luna'). I'm proceeding on the assumption they are references to the same place.

Thanks for all your info; I'll be trying to find a copy of the tape.

Do you have the tape? Does it make any mention of Bay Shore Park in La Porte, same time era, apparently a competitor of Sylvan Beach Park? -- a dance pavilion, band stand, pier into the bay, even an inn on the grounds.

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Nope, no mention of Bay Shore Park in La Porte. However, there was a segment on the

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Here is the information I now have about Luna Park. It was opened in June of 1924 on 36 acres of land. The parking lot was right along the bayou on a somewhat precipitous slope. It was stated that the park was on the south side of Buffalo Bayou at Houston Avenue, but that cannot be as that is the location of Sam Houston Park. I am sure they meant to say White Oak Bayou.

The roller coaster may have been called the Scenic Railway. Another of the most thrilling rides was the Mechanical Caterpillar, a ride still found in many traveling carnivals. The cars went around in a circle on an up and down track, and a canopy was extended over the cars to make it dark.

A big attraction at Luna was

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There is a thread of Luna Park (also known as Venice Park) and a discussion about Harris County Smokehouse having a panoramic photo of Luna Park on the wall of the restraunt. I decided to go by and eat dinner, and take a look at this photo. Not having a professional camera with me, I dedcided to take 15 photos of it with my cell phone camera and use Photoshop to piece it together into a "viewable" photo. It's not perfect, so sue me... This will at least show us all a good up close photo of what the entire park looked like. The photo had a label under it that said 1923 under it and the photo says Venice Park, formerly Luna Park. By the way, the address of Luna Park was 2212 Houston Avenue.

Here's the photo...

Panoramic photo of Luna Park (Venice Park) in 1923

that's really cool! i think it looks great.

thanks for doing it even it was your cellphone camera :lol:

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As far as I know Luna Park was on Houston Ave near Woodland Heights. The only photo of it that I've seen is on the cover of "Houston: Then and Now", where you can see the roller coaster.

My newly purchased Historic Photos of Houston by Betty Chapman shows Luna Park, near Woodland Heights, with a huge wooden roller coaster in the background; says it was Houston's first, in 1925. I am surprised at how huge it is. As mentioned in the amusement park thread, I can see how it could have been moved to Playland Park.

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Luna Park has always fascinated me - partly because I live in the Heights, but also because it seems so hard to find information and photos. (One small obstacle in researching the topic is that "Luna Park" seems to have been a very popular name for amusement parks for a while.) The Houstorian write-up covers what I'd seen elsewhere and what I was able to find in old Texas (but not Houston) newspapers available on an online subscription service. But I don't think I found any images I hadn't already seen. I'm so glad that the panoramic that Kevin Jackson posted for us above exists, and that he posted it. I'm hoping to get to the restaurant myself to see if I can get some detail shots from it. Still don't know what to make of the fact that it is dated 1923 and titled "Venice Park" - it's almost certainly Luna Park or a precursor.

But there is sure to be more historical record available in old Houston newspapers and other places not easily searched online.

I've tried to get a copy of the PBS special that talked about the park, but it never seems to be available.

What would be really neat is if someone had a grandparent or great-grandparent in their 90's or late 80's who had actually been and could remember a detail or two. There just has to be a few long-time Houstonians out there who remember the place.

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Luna Park has always fascinated me - partly because I live in the Heights, but also because it seems so hard to find information and photos. (One small obstacle in researching the topic is that "Luna Park" seems to have been a very popular name for amusement parks for a while.) The Houstorian write-up covers what I'd seen elsewhere and what I was able to find in old Texas (but not Houston) newspapers available on an online subscription service. But I don't think I found any images I hadn't already seen. I'm so glad that the panoramic that Kevin Jackson posted for us above exists, and that he posted it. I'm hoping to get to the restaurant myself to see if I can get some detail shots from it. Still don't know what to make of the fact that it is dated 1923 and titled "Venice Park" - it's almost certainly Luna Park or a precursor.

But there is sure to be more historical record available in old Houston newspapers and other places not easily searched online.

I've tried to get a copy of the PBS special that talked about the park, but it never seems to be available.

What would be really neat is if someone had a grandparent or great-grandparent in their 90's or late 80's who had actually been and could remember a detail or two. There just has to be a few long-time Houstonians out there who remember the place.

The Houstorian pages are great, must have missed the Luna Park subject in my previous readings. Thanks Brucesw for the link tip. I've also seen the panoramic view at the HC Smokehouse, was confused about the two names. My recent discoveries of my great-grandmothers articles on her library have some errors in it, so newspaper mistakes are possible. I thought reporters deal with facts. I find it hard to believe they would get the park name wrong. Would like to know that one. I can picture the park being placed at or near the slope in the current park, next to the freeway, maybe to the right of it, where Woodland Heights is now. Most of that land is not flat, though, for a roller coaster. WH was developed at a later date, so that tells you something. My ggrand & grandparents never spoke of the park, but would have known of it. They have all past now. The joke was that my grandfather was dating a girl in the Heights, but stopped & dated my grandmother instead because the Heights was too far to travel to, from Magnolia Park. He probably rode the trolley rail. HaHa.

Edited by NenaE

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I've tried to get a copy of the PBS special that talked about the park, but it never seems to be available.

What would be really neat is if someone had a grandparent or great-grandparent in their 90's or late 80's who had actually been and could remember a detail or two. There just has to be a few long-time Houstonians out there who remember the place.

Try the Rosenberg Library. Wow, this is another major Houston mystery. :o

Time is of the essence in finding patrons that enjoyed this place. Most people that were born around 1922 are already approx 86 years of age, so yes it would be a miracle if any one "living person" a tad older could recount.

I have a real good feeling the name Venice Park was a hark on the already famous West Coast venue Venice Beach Amusement Park Pier. :P

http://www.westland.net/venicehistory/

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Luna Park has always fascinated me - partly because I live in the Heights, but also because it seems so hard to find information and photos. (One small obstacle in researching the topic is that "Luna Park" seems to have been a very popular name for amusement parks for a while.) The Houstorian write-up covers what I'd seen elsewhere and what I was able to find in old Texas (but not Houston) newspapers available on an online subscription service. But I don't think I found any images I hadn't already seen.

I wondered why you had been researching in the Galveston paper for stories about Luna Park.

I have done a lot of reading of Houston papers, all three of them, in the 1920s, and I saw only one mention of Luna Park - that's why I had to start this topic. That was in reference to an early Houston radio station, WSAV, licensed to the park in 1925 - according to the brief story in the Post-Dispatch "1406 Houston Avenue in Luna Park.' Of course, I was looking for stories about radio, not amusement parks, and it would have had to be a big headline or whatever to catch my attention. By contrast, I couldn't miss the frequent ads for Sylvan Beach Park and Bayshore Park but I never saw ads for Luna Park.

I've done some research in the Galveston Daily News, too, at the Library in Galveston. They have a rather complete index and it's amazing what you can find about Houston in that paper that would require hours of just skimming through old microfilms to find in the Houston papers.

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Here are some more notes for comparison, The Cinema Houston book briefly mentions Luna Park, a 20 acre park, located at the 2200 block of Houston St., says it was billed as the "Coney Island of Texas", opened June 1924, says it wasn't there for very long. Also gives June 1924 as opening date.

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The neighborhood is known as the First Ward, the Park it's self was Luna Park. :D

 

post-9910-0-46075100-1365864507_thumb.jp

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The neighborhood is known as the First Ward, the Park it's self was Luna Park. :D

 

You could ride the street car\trolley into First ward and it would drop you off at the very front entrance. If you go for a walk through White Oak Park's trails as soon as you go past the Houston Ave. bridge start looking to your right just across from the bayou where 10 & 45 sit, that is where the park use to sit.

 

Oh and the park trail is actually in almost the very same spot where the Old MKT rail road use to be. ;)

Edited by sinister1

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This is a view from downtown Houston near Washington Ave. looking North\Northeast at the First Ward Area. You can see the Crockett \ Hogan St. bridge, Grand Central Station, Jefferson Davis and Luna Park.

 

This is way before 10 or 45 ever existed. The construction of those two HYWS. really took up a huge chunk of the Old First Ward and it almost completely destroyed the Old German town

post-9910-0-65314900-1365865872_thumb.gi

Edited by sinister1

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