A history of Denver's Lakeside Amusement Park is one of the newest additions to our collection. David Forsyth's Lakeside Amusement Park: From the White City Beautiful to a Century of Fun, published by University Press of Colorado, tells the story of this long-surviving Northwest Denver venue. Forsyth has also written several articles on Denver's amusement park history for Colorado Heritage magazine, which is available from our library. Articles include histories of Celebrity Sports Center, a favorite memory of Gen-X-ers (Autumn 2007), and Arlington Park (May-June 2015).
|A Rocky Mountain News illustration of the Diving Elks.|
Other amusement parks such as Elitch's are gone but not forgotten. The original Elitch's on 38th and Tennyson entertained generations of Denverites from 1890 to 1995, when it closed and a new park was built in the Platte Valley using the Elitch's name. The story of Elitch's can be found in Rediscovering Northwest Denver: Its History, Its People, Its Landmarks by Ruth Wiberg, published by the University Press of Colorado and available for checkout from our library.
Circuses were another important part of Denver's entertainment history. In fact, the Barnum neighborhood is so named because P.T. Barnum purchased land there in 1878, allegedly as a winter home for his circus, but that never materialized. Denver's most colorful circus, however, was the Sells-Floto, owned by Denver Post publishers Harry Tammen and Fred Bonfils in the 1910s and twenties. They used the circus -- and its animals -- to promote the paper. Tammen was especially fond of the elephants; you can read the story of one of them in Dick Kreck's article "The Day Little Miracle Died," found in the Summer 1998 issue of Colorado Heritage.
Denver has had many other well-known entertainments and amusements through the years. Check out Colorado Heritage and its predecessor Colorado Magazine for more stories on Denver's favorite pastimes, including the Denver Broncos (Nov/Dec 2012, Winter 1997), theaters (various issues), museums (various issues), the Denver Performing Arts Complex (Summer 2007), brewpubs (Winter 2000), baseball (Winter 2000, Spring 1995), opera (Spring 1999), symphony orchestras (Autumn 1992), bicycling (spring 1991, November 1933), nickelodeons (issue 3, 1984), saloons (Spring 1975), Denver Mountain Parks (January 1932), and more.