Thursday, January 2, 2020

Riverside (Amusement) Park, aka Old Homer Park, Homer, Illinois. (1905-1928)

W. B. Mckinley bought the ground for Homer Park in 1904 and C. B. Burkhardt leased & started Homer Park in 1905 (for a short time the park was called "Riverside Park," finally being referred to as "Homer Park.").
The Illinois Traction System interurban line put the amusement park in on the banks of the Salt Fork River to encourage the use of the interurban line. The park recreation included pocket billiards, boxing, swimming, a bathhouse, bathing pool, steel boat rentals and fishing, toboggan slide, and a skating rink. A new pavilion with white maple floors and wide verandas were perfect for dancing along with the free use of their piano.
Today, it is referred to as the "Old Homer Park." The acreage today is just trees, bushes, etc., and still floods along the river after large amounts of rain. In the beginning, featured within the park was an old covered bridge that served as a bridge across the Salt Fork River, eventually, it collapsed. 
The "Old Homer Park" land was later purchased by Mr. & Mrs. William Edwards, local residents. The Edwards donated the site to the present Homer Forest Preserve, part of the Champaign County Forest Preserve.

Compiled by Neil Gale. Ph.D.
Special Thanks to the Homer Historical Society.

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