Good ol’ Summertime

Roanoke, VA

Roller Coaster at Mountain Park in Roanoke, VA Early twentieth century

Where did Isabel and her friends go to ride a roller coaster in the 1920’s? They went to Mountain Park in Roanoke, Virginia. There were amusement park rides as well as a pavilion and a grandstand where music was played.

Where did I go to ride a roller coaster when I was a kid?

We went to the Lakeside Park in Salem, Va. It was wonderful!

I can still feel the joy at hearing the words, “We’re going to Lakeside today!” We could hear the happy crowds before we arrived. Laughter, screams as the Shooting Star roller coaster plunged quickly, click, click, click of the cars climbing a steep hill and more screams as it quickly rounded a sharp curve – and I couldn’t wait for my turn!

As soon as one entered the park, the smells were wonderful. Candy apples, popcorn, sticky cotton candy but my first stop was the Ferris Wheel. From the top, one could practically see the entire park. Oh, what fun!

When my husband speaks of Lakeside, he remembers Cactus Joe and his wife, “Sweetie”.

  • If you have Lakeside memories, we would love to hear them.
  • What were summer activities you looked forward to as a child?
  • What or who stands out in your memories?
  • What was your best summer ever?

Please feel free to share!

History of Lakeside

Lakeside was first opened around 1920 as a pool with a sandy beach. So Isabel may have spent time here as well. I have a picture of her and my grandfather taken at Lakeside around 1936.  It was a wonderful place to go and was a big part of Roanoke and Salem’s history. We enjoyed hot summer days at lakeside until it closed in 1986.

For more information on Lakeside, go to http://salemmuseum.org/lakeside.aspx

We also had the Mill Mountain Zoo but that’s another story!

(Old photographs borrowed from http://www.oldroanoke.com Go to the site for fantastic pictures of time gone by.)

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