Sunday, July 2, 2023

Starlight (Amusement) Park, (1952-1960); Star-Lite (Amusement) Park, (1961-1966), East Moline, Illinois.

Starlight Park's first location was at 23rd Avenue and 41st Street, East Moline, from 1952-1959. Spot Mason, the Mason Trailer Sales & Service owner, owned the Starlight (Amusement) Park.
This photo shows the first location of Starlight Park, which was located at 23rd Avenue and 41st Street in East Moline. The amusement park operated for 8 seasons, from 1952 through 1959. The photo was taken from the top of the Ferris wheel.

Michael Fix bought Starlight Park in 1960 and changed the name to Star-Lite Park. The Grand Opening was held on Sunday, May 15, 1960, at a new location, 14th Street and Colona Road, in the Rock Island County Fairgrounds in East Moline.

Star-Lite Park featured a variety of carnival rides (quickly movable) for young children, including a 3-across Merry-Go-Round, a Ferris wheel, and a miniature 8-inch Gauge train. I found several online mentions of people fondly remembering these rides as a cherished part of their childhood.
A Starlight Park Ticket Booth, 1958
The park featured a variety of carnival rides (quickly movable) for young children, including a 3-across Merry-Go-Round, A Ferris wheel, and a miniature 8-inch Gauge train.
An 8-Inch Gauge Track

The smallest size trains that amusement parks could use for toddler passengers are those with a track gauge of  5 inches. However, most amusement park trains have a track gauge of 12  to 15 inches.

Unfortunately, Star-Lite Park faced challenges securing a lease renewal with the Rock Island County Fairgrounds. Michael Fix ultimately relocated the amusement park along Illinois Route 2 at Route.92, about two miles from Silvis, for the 1965 season.

Star-Lite Park closed at the end of a slow 1966 season. The changing entertainment preferences of the time contributed to the park's decline. Michael Fix sold what rides he could, with the remaining rides donated to the Rock Island County Historical Society.

Though the rides have halted and the lights dimmed, Starlight and Star-Lite Amusement Parks continue illuminating our hearts' corners with a warm, nostalgic glow. Through the collective memories shared within our vibrant online community of Defunct Illinois Amusement Parks, these cherished havens of joy live on. They remain a testament to the indelible mark left on countless Illinois kids, teens, and families, a beacon of the laughter and magic that once was.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

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