Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Cream City (Amusement) Park, Lyons, Illinois. (1905-1908)

Cream City Park at 7601 W. Ogden Ave, Lyons, Illinois was built in 1905, only 15 miles from Downtown Chicago, on property that was previously the Fred Schultz quarry. The 45 acre site along the Des Plaines River was financed and controlled by wealthy Bohemian businessmen and a group of investors as a competitor to Chicago's White City Amusement Park. Joseph F. Klapka was chosen as the park’s general manager and promoter.
Cream City Amusement Park Entrance.
The park’s name was derived from the fact that all its buildings and towers were painted with a crème tint. Its main feature covering 15 acres was a reproduction of “Old Bohemia” (Czechoslovakia), featuring a Bohemian village with its picturesque streets, shops, modes of transportation, churches, theaters, natives, dancers, acrobats, musicians and mountain backdrop. Its large music hall seated 4,500 people and its dance pavilion held up to 1000 people, where live bands performed on weekends.
Bird's Eye View of Cream City Park.
Its entrance had five Grecian towers nearly 100 feet high flanked by eight massive arches in the center. Beyond was a natural lagoon, beautifully illuminated at night. At the far end along the Des Plaines River were facilities for bathing and boating.

There is little known about the rides and game attractions, but an advertisement in "Amusement Business Billboard Publications: gives some hint. It wasn’t unusual for parks to seek independent concessionaires because only large well financed parks owned all their own rides and concessions. Cream City sported an Old Mill, Merry-Go-round, Roller Coaster, Circular swing, Cave of the Winds, Billiard and Pool Hall, Illusion Shows, Pony Track, Skating Rink, a Ferris Wheel, An Electric Theater, Penny Arcade, Gypsy Camp, Katzenjammer Castle, Photo Gallery, Shooting Gallery and Japanese Tea Garden. 
Cream City survived only a few years, thanks in part to intense competition from White City Amusement Park, and it is believed, the beginnings of sewer work on Ogden Avenue that made reaching the park difficult.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

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