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Old Houston Amusement Places


belmontdrew

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Sorry - don't mean to cut in on the Red Bluff discussion, but I only just saw the posts re Hot Wells.

Also, there's a recent Houstorian post about Highland Park, an amusement park located on the property that is now Woodland Park in the Heights.

Does anyone remember a public swimming facility out Hempstead Hwy in the late 50's and early 60's? It seems like it was on the South side of the highway and could have been anywhere between 1960 (Jackrabbit Rd) and Waller. I remember it being real BIG but I have been trying to remember it's name and where it was. Our church youth group used to go there a lot.
My grandmother used to go to a place called Hot Wells. I think it was in that area, but can't find any evidence of it anywhere.

If either of y'all have any information I could add to the Houstorian post, please let me know. Even just informal memories from you (LeeinMT) or your grandmother (Alpha), would be fun to add.

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If either of y'all have any information I could add to the Houstorian post, please let me know. Even just informal memories from you (LeeinMT) or your grandmother (Alpha), would be fun to add.

Well, my grandmother died in 1959 and my mother has Alzheimer's, so there's no way I can find out anything. I seem to remember going there once and I have a picture of my grandmother in a swimming pool, which is probably at Hot Wells. I'll have to look for it and see if there are any identifying buildings around it. If I find it, I'll scan and post it.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Herring Burl Bailey was born Nov. 15, 1936 and lived most of his life in Houston. Surviving are his wife Michelle and six children. Son Joe Dan Bailey, who worked with several Cup teams as a tire specialist in the 1990s, now works at NASCAR's R&D center. Likeable Bailey, whose bearded visage was easily recognizable, never attempted more than six or eight Winston Cup (Grand National) races in a season, and his best finishes were two fifth-places.

Bailey also competed in NASCAR's lower-dollar Grand American division in the 1960s and 1970s, winning the GA pole at Daytona in 1972 and finishing second in the class standings.

Bailey was one of a group of persistent small operators who lasted in NASCAR well into the 1980s, although Bailey seemed more to race for fun than for a career. He ran his last Winston Cup race in 1990. H.B. Bailey, part-time NASCAR independent and operator of a group of Houston-area auto parts businesses, died 4/17/2003 of heart failure at the age of 66.

This is a short Grand National history of the H.B. Bailey NASCAR Grand American Firebird. This car and several others were part of a trial by NASCAR to mix the Pony cars (GT or Grand-American) with the Grand National (now known as Winston Cup) cars. That experiment was to be tried for the first time on September 19, 1971 at North Wilkesboro, NC. That race was to be the first to mix the smaller cars with the Grand National cars. Unfortunately the race was postponed by rain. It was later run in October. Prior to the rain, Charlie Glotzbzch in Junior Johnson

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Nena, I never knew of rodeo grounds in Pasadena, must have been before our time!

I wonder where on Red Bluff they were.

think you are right, I dunno where it was, tried to locate it on the historic aeriel maps, but haven't yet. Check out the thread about Foleys Pasadena, though. It was built on a neighborhood, those maps showed me that.

That Highlands Park is a beautiful piece of land, I love those pines. Just think what it would have looked like years ago, from the look of those recent posted pics, it was very wooded. Does anyone know where the Woodland Heights entrance arches would have been? I'm straying now.

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  • 3 months later...

Changing gears. Does anyone have pics of the Canada Dry little league baseball field off of the Gulf Fwy. and Dumble. It was behind the Canada Dry Beverage Co. I played there the first year we had little league in Houston.

Thanks,

Jim

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  • 3 weeks later...

West U,

Is there any possibility he was Marvin Fillip? He was simply known as Fillip, a lot of people didn't really know him as anything but Fillip. I have one old photo of Marvin Fillip in his super modified @ Meyerland Speedway. I will post it, and see if it rings any bells.

MarvinFillip.jpg

That's my grandpa! I love that picture, I think we have another one like it around the house somewhere. He has two sons that are in the racing business now: my uncle, Chet Fillip, and my dad, Corey Fillip. I guess it kind of runs in the family :) I wish I could have been there at Meyerland!

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  • 2 weeks later...

West U,

Is there any possibility he was Marvin Fillip? He was simply known as Fillip, a lot of people didn't really know him as anything but Fillip. I have one old photo of Marvin Fillip in his super modified @ Meyerland Speedway. I will post it, and see if it rings any bells.

MarvinFillip.jpg

Hey Mark, Was that an Olds J-2 engine that Marvin had in the 1 car?

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Here is a list of the Kiddie Amusement Parks I grew up with:

Peppermint Park :*1st (Original) location - Reveille & Arnim (Gulfgate Shopping City) - 1960's (bldg. gone)

2nd location - Hwy 59 South (Southwest Frwy @ Beltway) - mechanics shop now?

3rd location - 610 North Loop (@ where it meets Hwy 290) - now a plant store

*It had a carousel, train, small roller coaster, helicopters,hand-petal cars,...don't remember live ponies.

The "original" location was in Pasadena, but I can't remember exactly where. I went to work at the park in 1960, shortly after they moved to the Reveille & Arnim location. Many of the guys who I knew had worked at the Pasadena location. Everybody made a whopping 65 cents an hour.

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The "original" location was in Pasadena, but I can't remember exactly where. I went to work at the park in 1960, shortly after they moved to the Reveille & Arnim location. Many of the guys who I knew had worked at the Pasadena location. Everybody made a whopping 65 cents an hour.

I didn't know that...I'd like to know where it was, exactly. The Pasadena Library would probably have it listed somewhere, in their archives.

I loved the Peppermint Park at Arnim. Man, that place lasted a long time, survived several moves. I also went to a small kiddie park/ pony rides place that was close to the Pasadena Sears in the 1960's.

Edited by NenaE
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  • 1 month later...

Does anyone remember these old amusement places in Houston? what they were called? where there may be pictures of them?

The ski slope at the intersection of 610 West Loop and Southwest Freeway which later became...

The waterslide at the intersection of 610 West Loop and Southwest Freeway which finally became...

Lone Star Amphitheatre at the intersection of 610 West Loop and Southwest Freeway

OR HOW ABOUT...

Malibu go-cart raceway and arcade at the Southwest Freeway

Games-People-Play...I believe it was on Fondren....big 80's hangout with arcade, waterslides and go carts..

The little go cart place off westpark (Southwest Freeway ran in front of it)..the track was lined with red and white tires...

B)

WILL ALL THESE PLACES THAT YOU MENTIONED YOU CANT BE VERY OLD......ON SOUTH MAIN, BETWEEN BRAESWOOD AND 610 THERE STILL IS OR WAS A PLACE CALLED KIDDIE LAND--IT HAD RIDES OF ALL KINDS, PEDAL CARS THAT YOU PROPELLED WITH YOUR HANDS, PONIES TO RIDE, ETC.............WAY BEFORE ASTRO WORLD, THERE WAS PLAYLAND PARK--IN IT'S HEYDAY IT WAS THE ONLY PLAY TO GO--IT WAS LOCATED JUST WEST OF WHERE ASTRO WORLD WAS--RIGHT BEHIND PLAYLAND PARK THERE WAS A RACE TRACK FOR DIRT TRACKERS CALLED MEYER SPEEDWAY, OH THOSE GOOD OLD CARS COULD RUN--THEN CAME COLT 45'S STADIUM (AN OUTSIDE STADIUM) FOR BASEBALL, SOMEWHERE AROUND 61/62--THEN THEY BUILD ASTROWORLD, A PRETTY DECENT PART OF TOWN THEN--THE BASEBALL GAMES WERE ABOUT $3 AND I THINK ASTROWORLD AROUND $5, YOU COULD DO TICKETS BY YOUR WEIGHT, COKE CANS,ETC--AN ALL OF THE OLD DRIVE IN THEATERS HAD PLAYGROUNDS RIGHT UNDER THE SCREENS FOR THE KIDS SO THE PARENTS COULD WATCH THE MOVIES--$1 DOLLAR A CAR LOAD OR YOU COULD SNEAK PEOPLE IN BY PUTTING THEM IN THE TRUNK OF YOUR CARS OR DRIVING THROUGH THE EXIT--THE OWNERS FIXED THAT PROBLEM WITH THE SPIKES, WHEN YOU WENT OVER THEM BACKWARDS KAPOW WENT YOUR TIRES--THEY HAD THE OLD BUSCH STADIUM ON CULLEN (MLK) AT I-45, TICKETS WERE CHEAP--HOT WELLS WAS A RPIVATELY RUN CLUB, HORSEBACK RIDING, SWIMMING AND THE SUCH--WE EITHER WENT SWIMMING AT CRYSTAL POOL ON SOUTH MAIN...IT HAD 3 DIVING BOARDS, A WATER SLIDE, A BUBBLE IN THE DEEP END WHERE YOU COULD GO ABOUT 12FT DOWN AND BREATH AIR, HOCKEY, TRAMPOLINES AND THE SUCH--IF ME AND GUYS WERE OUT FOR FUN WE USUALLY TRIED ALL THE WATER HAZARDS AT GOLFCREST COUNTRY CLUB...WE GOT TONS OF GOLFBALLS LIKE THAT--OR WE WOULD HIT ALL THE POOLS AT THE MOTELS FROM PARKPLACE TO COLLEGE AVE. AND PRETEND WE WERE VISITING, THAT IS UNTIL THEY CAUGHT ON--AND THERE WAS ALWAYS PUTT PUTT GOLF (MINATURE) --OR CRUISE THROUGH PRINCE DRIVE INS---IN OUR DAY WE COULD ALWAYS FIND SOMETHING TO DO

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I don't think I have ever read anyone talk about it on HAIF but I really got my push into motorcycling from a minibike track that was very close to a major mall if not on the outerskirts of the mall property. I can't remember the exact area. I think for about a buck you could rent a minibike and follow a long serpentine path around the park. I think I must have been their best customer. This was around 1967-68ish.

I got pumped as a kid on a bright red Honda 305 in 63 and that ride never left my memory. Since then I have gone through a ton of bikes. The ol 74 RD350 tweaked, ported and piped to the max was one of my all time favorites. They just don't make them like that anymore. 53 horsepower and a hair over 300 pounds. That thing was like a bat out of hell. I used to put 750s to shame. When we came to the curves it was hasta la vista baby!! No matter what they were riding.

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  • 2 months later...

This sure doesn't look like the track set-up I remember at Playland Park on South Main in Houston. With all due respect, this may be a Playland race track, but it's somewhere else other than Houston.

The only thing it has in common with the Houston Playland layout is some carnival rides in the background.

I went to dozens of races there between 1950 and when it closed down in the early 60's, so the memories are pretty well etched in what gray matter I have left. I saw just about everything there...modifieds, midgets, powder-puff derbies, figure-8 races, demolition derbies. I don't remember any sprint-car races though, like the cars shown in these photos. I think the track might have been too short for them. There could have been some, though. I do remember lots of sprint-car races at Meyer on the half-mile track there.

First...There were no trees in the area. The track ran east to west. The start-finish line was on the north side with a small press box at the top of the stands. I always sat in the south side stands. The parking area was behind these stands, with not much to the south except open land and some motels. To the north, there was the U-turn of the roller coaster and then a few motels and other small structures over to OST where Prince's Drive-In was located at the intersection of Main and OST. The entrance to the raceway was on the west side of the track at the far east end of the amusement park area. At the east end of the track was the pit area. Beyond the pit area were open fields and no trees. The parking area for the amusement area was between the park and South Main. I think Gaido's was on the other side of Main from Playland.

Second... There was no white picket fence around the pit area; nor was there any grass in the pit area. There were well-worn horizontal boards about 3'-4' high that encircled the track. Behind that track barrier was a tall chain-link fence...maybe 8-10' tall that was in front of the stands on both the north and south sides. At the west end of the track, outside the wooden barrier, was a corrogated metal fence/wall about 8' tall. Just outside this was the entrance to the raceway for the spectators. I mentioned in another thread about Playland that I was standing in the entrance area when Blackie Lothringer's came flying over the wall during warm-ups and killed a couple of people not more than 50' from me. It's amazing that no one else was killed during the races there, over the years. I remember several times when cars would hurdle over the barrier and into the chain-link fence, almost into the people sitting down in front. Safety regulations today would never allow a set-up like they had back then. The entrance to the pits was through a gate at turn 3. The exit was back through another gate at turn 4. The pit area was asphalt and no grass.

Third...There is a blue tent and a white house in the upper left background of one of the photos. Nothing like that at Playland in Houston.

Fourth... I showed these photos to some contemporaries of mine who attended races at Playland, and they concurred that those pictures were not from the Playland we know.

So...I don't know where the description of these photos came from, but I'm sure they are not of Playland-Houston.

I love the pictures and hope you post more of them.

Hi T-Bird,

Those are not Sprints. They are Midgets. I was told that the fellow all crossed up in the pic is A.J. Foyt. My best guess is that the man in the 9 car is Billy Griswold. You have to remember that the old fences changed a few times over the years. Anyway, great discussion. Maybe Mark can shed some light on this.

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  • 4 weeks later...

WILL ALL THESE PLACES THAT YOU MENTIONED YOU CANT BE VERY OLD......ON SOUTH MAIN, BETWEEN BRAESWOOD AND 610 THERE STILL IS OR WAS A PLACE CALLED KIDDIE LAND--IT HAD RIDES OF ALL KINDS, PEDAL CARS THAT YOU PROPELLED WITH YOUR HANDS, PONIES TO RIDE, ETC.............WAY BEFORE ASTRO WORLD, THERE WAS PLAYLAND PARK--IN IT'S HEYDAY IT WAS THE ONLY PLAY TO GO--IT WAS LOCATED JUST WEST OF WHERE ASTRO WORLD WAS--RIGHT BEHIND PLAYLAND PARK THERE WAS A RACE TRACK FOR DIRT TRACKERS CALLED MEYER SPEEDWAY, OH THOSE GOOD OLD CARS COULD RUN--THEN CAME COLT 45'S STADIUM (AN OUTSIDE STADIUM) FOR BASEBALL, SOMEWHERE AROUND 61/62--THEN THEY BUILD ASTROWORLD, A PRETTY DECENT PART OF TOWN THEN--THE BASEBALL GAMES WERE ABOUT $3 AND I THINK ASTROWORLD AROUND $5, YOU COULD DO TICKETS BY YOUR WEIGHT, COKE CANS,ETC--AN ALL OF THE OLD DRIVE IN THEATERS HAD PLAYGROUNDS RIGHT UNDER THE SCREENS FOR THE KIDS SO THE PARENTS COULD WATCH THE MOVIES--$1 DOLLAR A CAR LOAD OR YOU COULD SNEAK PEOPLE IN BY PUTTING THEM IN THE TRUNK OF YOUR CARS OR DRIVING THROUGH THE EXIT--THE OWNERS FIXED THAT PROBLEM WITH THE SPIKES, WHEN YOU WENT OVER THEM BACKWARDS KAPOW WENT YOUR TIRES--THEY HAD THE OLD BUSCH STADIUM ON CULLEN (MLK) AT I-45, TICKETS WERE CHEAP--HOT WELLS WAS A RPIVATELY RUN CLUB, HORSEBACK RIDING, SWIMMING AND THE SUCH--WE EITHER WENT SWIMMING AT CRYSTAL POOL ON SOUTH MAIN...IT HAD 3 DIVING BOARDS, A WATER SLIDE, A BUBBLE IN THE DEEP END WHERE YOU COULD GO ABOUT 12FT DOWN AND BREATH AIR, HOCKEY, TRAMPOLINES AND THE SUCH--IF ME AND GUYS WERE OUT FOR FUN WE USUALLY TRIED ALL THE WATER HAZARDS AT GOLFCREST COUNTRY CLUB...WE GOT TONS OF GOLFBALLS LIKE THAT--OR WE WOULD HIT ALL THE POOLS AT THE MOTELS FROM PARKPLACE TO COLLEGE AVE. AND PRETEND WE WERE VISITING, THAT IS UNTIL THEY CAUGHT ON--AND THERE WAS ALWAYS PUTT PUTT GOLF (MINATURE) --OR CRUISE THROUGH PRINCE DRIVE INS---IN OUR DAY WE COULD ALWAYS FIND SOMETHING TO DO

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When you refer to Kiddie Land, are your referring to Kiddie Wonderland on South Main St. on the opposite side of the street from Playland Park? I loved and frequented this little amusement park during the 50's. The ponies all had their names tooled in contrasting leather on the back of their saddles. My favorite was "Calico" and a close second was "Blackie." You could ride like the wind around that track without a seat belt! They also had a carousel and these little pedal cars you mentioned that you propelled with your hands spinning the handles in a circular motion as you chugged down the metal track. You could build up some pretty good speed on those little machines! Seems like I also remember riding in little boats in the water with bells you could ring by tugging on a string. Loved the old white wooden roller coaster at Playland Park, and their Spook House was pretty scary, too! Was the swimming pool with the breathing bubble Gateway Pool on South Main? I used to swim there but never located that "bubble" everyone talked about. I remember Busch Stadium with the Buffalo logo on the front. Prince's for hamburgers and Valian's for pizza! Thanks for the memories!

Switch to the North side for a minute, and tell me the name of the kiddie park on North Shepherd, just North of the old Sears store. It was on the West side of North Shepherd, but I forget the cross street - it wasn't Lehman, but it was close to it. Now they had some great ponies, and did riding lessons in a big pen as well. lots of fun, and if memory serves me, they had a red & white striped big top tent. I always thought it was a branch of Peppermint Park. Anyone ever go there ?? Photos ??

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Switch to the North side for a minute, and tell me the name of the kiddie park on North Shepherd, just North of the old Sears store. It was on the West side of North Shepherd, but I forget the cross street - it wasn't Lehman, but it was close to it. Now they had some great ponies, and did riding lessons in a big pen as well. lots of fun, and if memory serves me, they had a red & white striped big top tent. I always thought it was a branch of Peppermint Park. Anyone ever go there ?? Photos ??

I was not aware of one north of the Sears on N. Shepherd. But I didn't grow up in the area. Anyone remember one there? I only know there was a later Peppermint Park on 610 Loop in a red & white topped open pavilion, now a plant store. Was a later location of pp, 3rd I knew of.

Kiddie parks were popular to have around shopping centers in the 50's-60's. There was one by the Sears I grew with, in Pasadena, in the 1960's.

DonnaM, I remember PPark at Gulfgate having hand-pedal cars, as well, with plywood painted service stations and other scenery to "drive" by. haha.

Edited by NenaE
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Peppermint Park moved from Pasadena (not sure of exact location) to Gulfgate location in late 1959 or early 1960. Initially, a lot of the same kids worked at Gulfgate. The owner of the park was a "Mr. Watson" - drove a '57 Ford Ranchero, painted up with red/white advertising. I worked there, after school, weekends, summers, for a couple years, beginning in 1960. I'm not aware of any other, later locations, but I left Houston in 1963.

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Peppermint Park moved from Pasadena (not sure of exact location) to Gulfgate location in late 1959 or early 1960. Initially, a lot of the same kids worked at Gulfgate. The owner of the park was a "Mr. Watson" - drove a '57 Ford Ranchero, painted up with red/white advertising. I worked there, after school, weekends, summers, for a couple years, beginning in 1960. I'm not aware of any other, later locations, but I left Houston in 1963.

Very interesting, I'll try to look up the address next time I am near the Pasadena library. They have very old phone books. Maybe the first location was the same one I visited with dad. But that's pure speculation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone remember a public swimming facility out Hempstead Hwy in the late 50's and early 60's? It seems like it was on the South side of the highway and could have been anywhere between 1960 (Jackrabbit Rd) and Waller. I remember it being real BIG but I have been trying to remember it's name and where it was. Our church youth group used to go there a lot.

I also think you refer to Hot Wells, and if I recall correctly, it was HUGE! I do remember something similar having been out on HWY 90 (now it's I 10 ) but that's been closed for at least 30 years.

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Hi T-Bird,

Those are not Sprints. They are Midgets. I was told that the fellow all crossed up in the pic is A.J. Foyt. My best guess is that the man in the 9 car is Billy Griswold. You have to remember that the old fences changed a few times over the years. Anyway, great discussion. Maybe Mark can shed some light on this.

Hey y'all, I think the photo might be of PLayland Park in Omaha…

However, I do have photos of Playland Park in Houston before the track was built- there were houses behind the park because my grandparents, Louis and Myrtle Gordon, raised my momma, aunt, and uncle there until buying a house over on Hatton Street (amazingly, this house is still right where it should be!). I'll try to get around to posting these photos, but I should tell you I have three ALBUMS of them- my grandmother owned the 'mug joint', which others may have calle the picture booth, at Playland Park.

My Mother and Grandmother were supposed to have worked the concessions at the track entrance the night Mr. Blackie's car went over the top… and Sam usually carried me around with him when both Momma and Nonnie were working. I still remember, although am not in touch with, a lot of the other concession owners. That Park was my family, and I sure miss it. If any of you remember me, or my family, please email. The family was 'Lefty' Lou and Myrtle Gordon, and their kids Judith, Bettie Jean, and David Gordon.

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To Mark Barnes -

WOW!! I found this site this morning (was looking up info on Kitirik - I was on the show once), and I am also just blown away by your photos and info - same for jakdad and the others…

Did anyone else have breakfast on the train with Santa and Cadet Don and Kitirik at Christmas time? BTW, I was on her show once also--as a 2-3 year old, hehe

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Never had breakfast on the train with KiTiRiK but went to 3 or 4 live broadcasts and sat in the bleachers while she sashayed by.

Back then during the Jerry Lewis telethon channel 13 kept the studio doors open. Anyone could breeze in and grab yourself live photo ops that were broadcast all over the city. My friends and I used to be camera hogs to see who could get the most airtime with us looking busy in the background.

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Did anyone else have breakfast on the train with Santa and Cadet Don and Kitirik at Christmas time? BTW, I was on her show once also--as a 2-3 year old, hehe

I got kissed by Kitirick the day they broke ground for the Heights Savings and Loan @ 20th & Yale. They had hay bales all around, and broke them open all over the grass. Kitirick got in a cherry picker bucket, and was raised up in the air with several bags of change. She dropped all that money into the hay & they made us all wait until Sgt. Babe Seres of HPD, blew his whistle. We jumped all in that hay finding pennies, and dimes, and quarters! I never have washed my left cheek after that kiss .....Wow....

I went to P.P. a few times, but never met Cadet Don, or Santa on the train. I was always working as a kid, and never got to go many places like that. Please post some photos, and stories. Those were mighty good days.

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Hi T-Bird,

Those are not Sprints. They are Midgets. I was told that the fellow all crossed up in the pic is A.J. Foyt. My best guess is that the man in the 9 car is Billy Griswold. You have to remember that the old fences changed a few times over the years. Anyway, great discussion. Maybe Mark can shed some light on this.

jakdad,

I don't think you are referring to the same post that I referred to.

My reply to Mark's post was on July 31, 2006. Mark's post that I replied to and referenced in my post was dated July 29, 2006, 8:20 PM. I guess that post and accompanying pictures have been deleted by Mark, because I no longer see it. It had pictures of a race track and some sprint cars that Mark said was Playland Park in Houston. I investigated and found that it was a Playland Park in Coucil Bluffs, IA. Mark later responded and agreed. That post has been deleted also.

I think you are talking about a post dated August 1, 2006, 2:45 AM, that

shows a picture of AJ turned sideways at Playland. Of course, those are midgets.

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  • 3 months later...

>"arrow" never made it to the Bubble at Gateway swimming pool and wants to know how you could breath in it.

Gateway swimming pool, that's why I'm here. It was a large aquatic complex located on Main street near Kirby. Now there is a mini-storage facility built on the front part of that property, the back part and adjoining lot are overgrown and might still yield some Gateway artifacts.

*The Bubble: Gateway pool featured diving boards and a high dive, the deep end was 18 feet, that's about the deepest pool I've ever seen. At the bottom of the deep end was a "bubble," which was a clear dome made of fiberglass or plexiglass, rimmed with a metal band. Maybe 3 feet in diameter and about 1.5 feet from the rim of the dome to its highest point in the center...that is, just enough for you to stick your head up in it. It floated about 3 feet above the bottom of the pool, being chained to the bottom of the pool with 3 chains that were stiffend with metal sheathing. Directly below the dome the bottom of the pool was pierced with a hole from which air bubbled. The air rose toward the surface of the water and got trapped under the dome, forcing water out of the dome and creating an underwater air pocket. You swam down to the bottom and popped your head up into the dome. The water level stayed beneath your chin and you could then stay down there as long as you liked, breathing fresh air and watching surface action thru the clear dome. The bubbles kept the air fresh. Some kids told me about smoking down there, that would have taken some ingenuity with plastic baggies. 18' is a long way down, it took me several years to be able to make it. The first time I made it I was so surprised. I was afraid to go into the bubble, so I swam a circle around it, examining it warily. The next dive I went ahead and entered it and then enjoyed it from there on out. I've never seen nor heard of anything like this. It seems like it would carry a lot of risk. For one thing, there's no way the life guards can monitor people who are spending extended periods of time 18' down. For another, it seems like there would be a risk of surfacing too fast with a lung full of air under 18' of pressure. Anyway, I can tell you this, it was great fun and it made me a good deep water swimmer.

*The bobber: This was some sort of converted deep sea buoy. It was anchored by steel tethers in 5' of water. It was shaped like a ball with half of it submerged and half out of the water. On top, jutting towards the sky, was a pole with a ladder, rising up about 6' from the ball with a crow's nest on top. You climbed up into the crow's nest and tried to rock the bobber back and forth. The goal was to rock it 90 degrees and touch the water. I didn't even weigh 100 lbs at the time, so I never could rock it very much.

*There was a large, rectangular trampoline.

*There was a large table set with a maze, thru which I think you started tops spinning and they battled it out. I never saw this in operation so I'm not sure what it was.

*There was a seperate indoor facility that housed a large pool and was used for swim meets and training.

>Regarding the Playland park:

The one in Houston was Texas first amusement park. There was a sister park in San >Antonio from 1947 to 1980. The giant 2 humped rollercoaster that was the Houston landmark served as the logo of the corporation. There is a wikipedia articla and a book on the San Antonio park: http://www.playlandparkbook.com/index.html

>TexasCE "I can't believe so many people remember Kiddie Wonderland.

Kidde Wonderland on S. Main near Braeswood: I would be amazed if many people didn't remember it. That thing seemed to hang on and on and on. Someone here mentioned that it opened in the early 50s. I went to it as a kid in the early 60s. I was amazed that it continued to hang around in the late 70s, having most of it packed up in the early 70s and just the pony ride left. When it continued to hang around into the 80s, I was utterly shocked. I don't know when it finally closed down, but it was there for at least 30 years.

>"Norhill Dennis" asks about the baseball stadium formerly located on the site of Finger's: The Finger's Fabulous Furniture showroom near 45 and Cullen has a snackbar that doubles as a sports museum dedicated to the baseball stadium that was home to the Houston Colt 45s. There is a home plate there that is in the same location as the former stadiums home plate. Stop by and visit the museum anytime during business hours.

>Roym posts a picture of a 3 hump coaster.

That's a fabulous photo, but the one at the Playland here in Houston was only 2 humps.

>BigDukem69 wants to know where S.Main drive in was and kiddie park underneath the screen.

South Main drive-in was located at the Y intersection of S. Main and Stella Link. That lot is now occupied by a commercial warehouse strip center.

>hbcu mentions Peppermint park, and someone else mentions confusing Peppermint and Playland parks:

Both parks were instantly recognizeable Houston landmarks: Playland Park featured 2 giant rollercoaster humps, and Peppermint Park was an indoor park that was housed in a giant tin single-story building that was painted in vertical pink and white candy stripes. That tin building was moved and still stands, candy stripes and all, as an automotive body shop, visible from 59 but further south, down closer to highway 90. I don't see how anyone can confuse a candy stripe painted building called "Peppermint Park" with anything else.

>Someone mentions Westwood mall and its 2-story merry go round:

That same, or a similar, Merry Go Round is now housed in Memorial City mall.

>belmontdrew wants to know if anyone remembers Games People play.

Yeah, I remember that. That's actually still there and was still operating until recently (as of 2008). It's main attraction was batting cages for the next 20 years after its "games people play" heyday. It also feature the mini-golf course for many more years.

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Larry - I know your post was a couple of years ago, but I searched out Gateway swimming pool and found HAIF and you. I'm so glad to find someone who remembered it and the "bubble." I tell people about it and they think I'm crazy. It took me forever to get down that deep. My ears would never adjust. I finally did once and it was such a thrill. I don't think I've ever heard of another in any other pool. One other piece of trivia about the pool was the large sliding board. When you got to the top of it, the only street you could see through the trees from there was the street I lived on - Ashwood. That was the coolest thing. I remember as kids in the 50's, we would just walk to the pool without a care in the world - no parents or adults to protect us - we would just go for the day and walk home when we had enough. I also used to love to go to the place with the horses next to the Indian Chief motel. I don't remember the name unless that was Kiddie Country. Anyway, thanks for explaining the dynamics of the bubble. I was trying to explain it to my husband and you did a much better job. If anyone reads this post and went to Longfellow Elementary school during the years of 1956 to 1962, please let me know.

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Switch to the North side for a minute, and tell me the name of the kiddie park on North Shepherd, just North of the old Sears store. It was on the West side of North Shepherd, but I forget the cross street - it wasn't Lehman, but it was close to it. Now they had some great ponies, and did riding lessons in a big pen as well. lots of fun, and if memory serves me, they had a red & white striped big top tent. I always thought it was a branch of Peppermint Park. Anyone ever go there ?? Photos ??

I remember going there.

It had pony rides and also some trampolines set into the ground.

I remember the red/white tent and I think it was Playland Park... but I could be wrong on the name.

I think it was just north of Pinemont????....it had lots of trees if I remember correctly.

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  • 2 months later...

If your crazy, I am too. See the pool bubble here!

http://www.historica....aspx?poi=10978

I know this post was awhile ago, but I was amazed at the description of the pool and the bubble. Could you tell me where this was located? I grew up in Spring Branch. I remember as a kid (8 or 9) going to my friends house and she had teenage brothers. I remember hearing them talking about going to the pool where you could breathe underwater! It was far away, so plans were discussed for days in advance. I rarely said a word to these boys, so I never asked questions. My friend lived two houses down, so when this "big trip" was being planned, I went every day to hear all I could about the adventure. I couldn't conceive of a pool where you could breathe underwater, and to my young mind, it seemed as far away and as magical as Disneyland. This just has to be the pool they were talking about and planning to go to.

Unfortunately, I only remember the planning. I don't remember them talking about it after, although I'm sure they did! I'm sure that they also got home long after dark, so my young self was home in bed.

That's just amazing. I can't believe that after all this time, I found out what those boys were talking about. It just has to be the Gateway Pool.

ETA: Main near Kirby. That was a looong way away from my house in Spring Branch when I was 8 years old!

Edited by Tigerjag
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Does anyone know what the maze-like thing is at the SW corner of Main and Braeswood? I am baffled.

I think that was a miniature golf course. Next question; What was the name? "Goofy Golf" maybe.

Thanks! That makes sense. I had no clue what that could be.

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A friend of mine mentioned a kiddie place called Wee Wild West. I went there as a kid (60's) but have no idea where it was. Anybody remember that one?

I remember it! It was off of 290 near Windfern I believe...I was just talking about it the other day!

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  • 9 months later...

Hi Friends. I have been away for quite a while. I stand corrected. There was a kiddie coaster at Playland. I talked to my brother and he reminded me where it was in the kiddie section of the park. If you look in the lower right section of the picture of Playland you can see it. Don't know why I didn't remember it.

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Hi Becky, Great to hear from you again. We look forward to some more of your park photos. I don't recall what years you lived at Playland, but have you seen the lastest Google Earth vintage shots. The 1944 view shows Playland before the race track was built. You may have been outside looking up for the plane taking the picture (Or wondering if Hilter was dropping a surprise on Houston!).

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  • 2 months later...

Looking for pictures of the Super Slide that was located on Telophone Rd. and Almeda Genoa Rd.

Went there as a kid. Slid down on burlap sacks. It was a ruin for many years and I wished I had taken pictures of it.

Thanks for any help!!!!!!!!!?????????????

I remember the one that sat on Telephone, east side of road, close to an old 1950's style burger place. Part of of Almeda-Genoa ran to the west of the super slide.

(By the way, I saw some Astroworld Ferris Wheel baskets on that road, they were sitting in a yard, was years ago).

I remember it becoming a scrap/ junk yard, with the slide slowly deteriorating around it. Sorry, I don;t have any pictures.

I was kinda scared of it, it was sooo big.

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  • 1 month later...

I remember both the Hockley Oil Ranch, and Physical Whimsical. I got to take a trip out to the oil ranch several times either through school field trips or Cub Scout outings. It was probably the single most awesome rope swing I had ever used. At the top of the barn with the rope swing was also a maze made from hay bails that kids could crawl in and out of.

The Physical Whimsical had two locations, the one on 1960 and 249, and another one inside Sharpstown Mall. I tended to visit the Sharpstown location more often, for birthdays and such, but I do recall the FM 1960 location quite well.

It had a lot of moonwalks, including one that resembled an old western saloon, and the place smelled like Wild Berry Skittles candy.

The Sharpstown location was much better in my opinion. More things to do. There were two stories, and you could climb a giant net to get to the top floor, and ride the spiral slide down. There was also a room that had glow-in-the-dark walls. While the light was on, you held a position, and then the lights would go out, and you could see your shadow still on the wall for a minute or two. There was also lots of jungle gyms, a ball pit, a maze of giant padded-vinyl blocks (that we used to hit eachother with), and those little roller racers you sat on and pivoted the steering handle back and forth to move around the floor. Ah, such fond memories. I think both locations were closed by the early 1990's.

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Looking for pictures of the Super Slide that was located on Telophone Rd. and Almeda Genoa Rd.

Went there as a kid. Slid down on burlap sacks. It was a ruin for many years and I wished I had taken pictures of it.

Thanks for any help!!!!!!!!!?????????????

Here's one like it. (Mi-Tee-Slide) Not sure where this one was.

post-3673-0-77179200-1315586806_thumb.jp

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Cool picture of the slide, groovy side panels, reminds me of the Laugh-In show.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-for-sale-giant-slide-at-state-fairgrounds-20110622,0,5315982.story

Here's a short article of the inventor of the giant slide. says there were 42 of them, at one time.

Edited by NenaE
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