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Colonial Park Amusement Park Near Southmore Blvd.


sinister1

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Does anyone know where the park in the picture below was? it says Colonial Park Houston Texas. I know there is a Colonial Park in West U (Bellaire) but I found out that area was outside of the Houston City limits until some time around the 1940's, this picture looks like way before that time frame so It can't be that park or am I missing something.

 

 

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t118/Vago_Pachuquero/1012398_1397846847134865_884869356_n_zps168be647.jpg

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I wouldn't rule out the possibility that the park in the photo was Colonial Park in West U. The clothes the men are wearing look very 1920s, and West U came into existence in the early 20s.

 

It is also true that West U has always been a very upscale white collar neighborhood, so it's very possible that it could have built a nice public park like the one in the photo.

 

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The picture I linked to had a comment that one photo had "Colonial park written on the back". perhaps that photo, taken from the opposite perspective, was used as the basis for the post card, and the person doing the card, not knowing better, labelled it Colonial Park.

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The picture I linked to had a comment that one photo had "Colonial park written on the back". perhaps that photo, taken from the opposite perspective, was used as the basis for the post card, and the person doing the card, not knowing better, labelled it Colonial Park.

 

You may be right, kind of like people now calling First Ward and other parts of Houston the Heights.

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Colonial Park was a privately owned amusement park near the south end of Fannin.  It opened in 1915.  It wasn't successful, however, and the land was sold for redevelopment. 

 

Thanks Subdude, do you happen to have an address by any chance? I would like to see where on Google maps it use to be ;)

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Thanks Subdude, do you happen to have an address by any chance? I would like to see where on Google maps it use to be ;)

 

Sorry, I don't have an address.  I did read that it was south of the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio railroad tracks, so that would but it on Fannin north of Hermann Park, perhaps around the Southmore area. 

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Okay, I got curious and looked it up in the 1915 city directory in the online digital archives:

 

http://digital.houstonlibrary.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/citydir/id/9424/rec/7

 

Go to page 164.

 

Here is the citation:

 

Colonial Amusement Park Co. (Inc)

Edward Paggi (Sarasota, Tex), pres

Wm F Ames, vice pres

Wm Paggi, sec

George J Breinig, treas

e s Fannin 1/2 mi s GH&SA

 

And just to note, i could not find the listing in the 1917 city directory (already closed?).

 

So the description seems to put it near Southmore - as Subdude noted.

a half mile s of the railroad, makes it near Calumet and Binz, close to the MFA.

Maybe the parking lot across from St. Pauls was part of it?

 

topographic maps from 1915 and 1921 show a winding path (driveway?) and two "houses" at the end.

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/topo/texas/txu-pclmaps-topo-tx-bellaire-1915.jpg

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/houston_sw21.jpg

 

The closest Sanborn maps to 1915 (1925 edition) already show the area platted in the street grid but with only a few houses. The areas north of Calumet have many more houses. However, there doesn't seem to be any obvious remnants of the park left that Sanborn wanted to show.  (pg 575)

 

 

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Okay, I got curious and looked it up in the 1915 city directory in the online digital archives:

 

http://digital.houstonlibrary.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/citydir/id/9424/rec/7

 

Go to page 164.

 

Here is the citation:

 

Colonial Amusement Park Co. (Inc)

Edward Paggi (Sarasota, Tex), pres

Wm F Ames, vice pres

Wm Paggi, sec

George J Breinig, treas

e s Fannin 1/2 mi s GH&SA

 

And just to note, i could not find the listing in the 1917 city directory (already closed?).

 

So the description seems to put it near Southmore - as Subdude noted.

a half mile s of the railroad, makes it near Calumet and Binz, close to the MFA.

Maybe the parking lot across from St. Pauls was part of it?

 

topographic maps from 1915 and 1921 show a winding path (driveway?) and two "houses" at the end.

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/topo/texas/txu-pclmaps-topo-tx-bellaire-1915.jpg

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/houston_sw21.jpg

 

The closest Sanborn maps to 1915 (1925 edition) already show the area platted in the street grid but with only a few houses. The areas north of Calumet have many more houses. However, there doesn't seem to be any obvious remnants of the park left that Sanborn wanted to show.  (pg 575)

 

Wow!  Thanks for the research!  My guess would be Fannin-Binz-Caroline-Southmore.  Even now the street grid does not fully extend through that plot, so I can see how it might have housed the park.

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  • 10 months later...

I have found and article(http://blog.chron.com/bayoucityhistory/2011/01/one-mans-look-at-luna-park/) and it says that the picture below is the actual entrance to Luna Park. Looks nothing like the entrances to Colonial Park.

 

lunaparkentrance_zps657825cb.jpg

so, the link shows that Luna Park sat in the valley directly south of White Oak Bayou. I-10 cuts through the area now, around the merge with I-45N, right before downtown. Look at all those parks on the map. Map from UH digital archives. Not sure of date.

post-5666-0-53788800-1419630243_thumb.jp

Edited by NenaE
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Sorry, I don't have an address.  I did read that it was south of the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio railroad tracks, so that would but it on Fannin north of Hermann Park, perhaps around the Southmore area. 

 

Here is a visual reference of the proposed Colonial Park location...  first map, no exact date, early 1900's, second image is GoogleEarth-Aerial from 1944. Note: It is not lined up, correctly. If you glance at it, you can see development was slow to fill in, on the south end of the area. The postcard in post #14 shows many trees, reminds me of Hermann Park. They may help to match up the exact location of Colonial. 

 

Have you noticed those small RR tracks in the early maps? see 2nd map link... post #12. They look to be smaller gauge than the normal RR lines. They run up to around Southmore, down to Bissonnet. Another runs from Rice University to where the Sears dept. store sits, around S.Main and Eagle St., maybe.

 

And, would it have been plausible for the coaster to have been dismantled and moved farther out on S. Main, to Playland Park, instead of demolished? Just a thought. 

 

 

 

 

post-5666-0-42784300-1419635000_thumb.jp

post-5666-0-37777200-1419635031_thumb.jp

Edited by NenaE
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so, the link shows that Luna Park sat in the valley directly south of White Oak Bayou. I-10 cuts through the area now, around the merge with I-45N, right before downtown. Look at all those parks on the map. Map from UH digital archives. Not sure of date.

 

 

pertaining to the other parks... specifically Woodland Park... it was called Highland Park before that, per Wikipedia...

On July 5, 1903, the Houston Electric Company developed and opened a park named "Highland Park" to encourage ridership on its Houston Avenue line.[11] The park property was leased to property managers who would then operate the facility. It was sold to the city to become a municipal park in 1911, and its name was changed to Woodland Park in 1914. Woodland Park is still in existence in Woodland Heights.

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  • The title was changed to Colonial Park Amusement Park

I researched this amusement park this week.  While HAIF does not know the exact location, two newspaper articles have slightly different locations. One said Main Street Road near the Rice Institute. The other says South Fannin Street.  One of the article contains more technical information, so I'm going with that. Definitely somewhere around the medical center.  South Main in between Rice and Hermann Park?

From the newspaper The Houston Post dated  January 1, 1913:

Electric Amusement Park Soon To Open
Land for New Park has been obtained- Will open this Spring.

An electric amusement park, costing approximately $30,000, will be thrown open to the public in Houston by Easter Sunday, according to the information given out Tuesday by Adolph Bolt, sectary of the Houston Chamber of Commerce.

The new resort, which will be known as "Colonial Amusement Park", will be located on Main Street Road, near the Rice Institute, south of the city where 10 acres of land has been procured for the purpose.

The architecture will be strictly colonial in design throughout all the structural work and will be painted snow white. All the latest and most approved classes of amusement will be included in the attractions, sch as are found at Coney Island and other favorite reports, all highly illuminated by electricity.

Mr. Bolt stated Tuesday that the lumber has been purchased and the contract for the contraction of the park award to a contractor of Terre Haute, Ind., who had 20 years' experience in thus sort of work and is interested in the park at Jacksonville, FLA, included the alligator farm of that place.

nZsD5wC.png

From The Houston Post dated January 30, 1913:

Work to Commence Immediately on Colonial Amusement Park.

Arrangements have been made to commence work on the new Colonial Amusement Park which is to be built on South Fannin Street by local and foreign capital. Lumber and other materials are being hauled to the site and active construction work will be started within the next few days.

An outdoor amusement resort of the highest class is something Houston has needed for some time. The Colonial Amusement Park is planned to be one that will be as fine as any in the country, and it will be equipped with all of the latest devices.

H.L. Breining of Parkersburg, W.VA., is the man who will build the park.

YEdBZLD.png

From The Houston Post dated January 1, 1913:

Charters Field.

-- Colonial Amusement Park Company, Houston; capital stock, $30,000. Incorporators: Z.Z. Brandon, George J. Breining, F.L. Burdick.

pMKt3U0.png

 

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  • The title was changed to Colonial Park Amusement Park On South Main St.

I can confirm this amusement park is located on South Main Street across, or near, Rice Institute.

I found a map online that shows "Main St. Park." that is located on, or near, the corner of South Main Street & Bellaire Road.

The date on the map (1913) and the date of the news articles containing Colonial Park stories is also dated 1913. They match!

Very cool!!

qi3hU1c.png

QOcolVl.png

 

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An ad in The Houston Post newspaper dated August 7, 1914:

Colonial Park.
Today 4 p.m. And 8:30 p.m.
Also Sunday.
Creatore and his wonderful band an attraction everyone should see and hear.
Gate 25c - - - - Seats 35c.
Season Passes Not Good These Days.

Midsummer Carnival.
August 17, 22-- Nights Only.

Fireworks Tuesday-- Friday.
Wednesday Prize Dance Masquerade.
Prof. Nutty and his Nutty Band.
5c—Gate Admission—5c.
The Zoo Is Free.

gEZI5NM.png

The Houston Post newspaper had a city amusement section.  It also lists the different activities that Colonial Park had.

Amusements:
Dixie Theatre- "A Million Bid."
Gem Theater- "A Good Little Devil."
Pearce Theater- "A Wayward Daughter."
Isis Theater- "The Isle of Abandoned Hope."
Rex Theater- "The Great Python Robbery."
Top o' Houston- Pictures, songs, and music.
Colonial Park- Dancing, skating, music and pictures.
Queen Theatre- Home Run Baker in "Homo Run Baker's Double."

CGAM3vV.png

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2 hours ago, Highrise Tower said:

I can confirm this amusement park is located on South Main Street across, or near, Rice Institute.

I found a map online that shows "Main St. Park." that is located on, or near, the corner of South Main Street & Bellaire Road.

The date on the map (1913) and the date of the news articles containing Colonial Park stories is also dated 1913. They match!

Very cool!!

qi3hU1c.png

QOcolVl.png

 

The post where Colonial Park was 1/2 mile south of the intersection of the GH&SA railroad would put it East of the Mecom Fountain.

Using this map https://www.harriscountyarchives.com/Maps/imgZ.html?img=houston1913_4 and this 1913 directory listing

image.png.70f3eb00baa97d38715a836ebca3d804.png

it appears that the park was just South of Southmore. I think the Main Street Park item was the predecessor to Hermann Park, since that land was owned by George Hermann.

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I've done some research on Colonial Park, as well. It was located south of Southmore (as stated above) on land owned by George Hermann. The park sat close to the trolley line that ran parallel to S.Main.

One newspaper article in the Summer/ Early Fall of 1914 stated that a Labor Day celebration had to be moved to another park following storm damage at Colonial Park. Another article in November 1914 described the amusement park lease termination and auction of all park items. This last date correlated with the death of George Hermann (Oct. 1914) and was when he left the land to the city for Hermann Park.

I wonder if the failure of the park had something to due with the start of WW1.

Edited by NenaE
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  • The title was changed to Colonial Park Amusement Park Near Southmore Blvd.

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