After my blog about Tulsa’s old Amusement parks, I had some inquiries about Lakeview- namely: did I have any photos of it “back in the day” that I could share? Ironically, just last month I scanned some photos of the old park for the Historical Society’s newest exhibit on Tulsa in the 1940s (which is now open!). Realizing that not everyone lives here in Tulsa to go by and visit the exhibit, THS was kind enough to let me post some of them for your amusement (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
A Little History
An announcement in Billboard Magazine (June 1947) stated “Tulsa, OK: Cliff Wilson, head of Wilson Distributors and Cecil Elifritz, local restaurant owner, are opening a new amusement park which is scheduled to begin operating July 1.” The article went on to say that the partners were investing $500,000 in the park that would cover 15 of the 40 acre tract with the remaining 25 acres to be used for parking and picnic areas. Cecil patterned the park after the famous Fairy Land Amusement Park in Kansas City and hired architect Joe Koberling to design it. He devoted 1/3 of the park to kiddie rides.
A native of Bartlesville and owner of the Ritz Grill that was downtown, Elifritz got into the amusement park business mainly because he liked working with children, delighting in their laughter.
There were, however, a few roadblocks along the way. The recent WWII had caused a shortage in materials for construction of major buildings and new rides were few and far between. When the park was finished, it opened in July of 1947 for a 6-week run. There were 6 kiddie rides, 2 major thrillers and a ferris wheel. “We were lucky to have what we did!” Cecil stated in an interview.
Elifritz headed to Hollywood to purchase more equipment. While there he acquired a ride called the Lindy Loop from a man who leased rides to movie companies. The Lindy Loop appeared in Will Rogers’ movie “State Fair”.
When the park officially opened for it’s first of many 8-month runs in April of 1948, the offerings were much more. Lined along the 200 by 600 foot midway were such devices as a Whip, Scooter, Dodgem, Spitfire, Pretzel ride, the Lindy Loop, a standard sized merry-go-round and Ferris Wheel. For the kiddies, there were miniature versions of the merry-go-round and Ferris Wheel along with a stream-lined train, boats, airplanes and car rides.
When the Crystal City Amusement Park closed in the mid 1950’s, Elifritz bought many of their rides to add to the fun.
Lakeview Amusement Park was located at 4200 North Harvard, across the street from the entrance to Mohawk Park. Poor health forced Elifritz to close the park in 1976. This park touched many Tulsa families. Businesses held company picnics there and there was always Dollar Weekends where kids could ride all of the rides for $1.00. There are many memories of people walking shoulder to shoulder along the midways, with a hot dog in one hand and a snowcone in the other.For photos taken in 1989 and 1993 of the remnants of the park click here.