If you’ve ever driven Interstate 70 west of Denver, you’ve seen the tall stucco tower and white wooden roller coaster that are the distinctive landmarks of Lakeside Amusement Park.
The attraction is more than 100 years old and sits in the town of Lakeside, adjacent to Denver.
I recently visited Lakeside Amusement Park to hear about its past and present from several people who know it very well. Here's what they told me:
Brenda Fishman, who works in operations at Lakeside:
"The reaction I get the most from who've lived in the area, or have been around, or seen the park from the outside but have never actually been in Lakeside -- the first comment I get is 'Oh my goodness. I didn't realize it was so big. And I didn't realize it was so nice and so pretty. I think a lot of people from the outside see the chain-link fence and the old, big, white building and things like that and don't have any concept of the lakes and the trees and the flowers and everything that's inside."
Rhoda Krasner, general manager of Lakeside:
"My father came to Lakeside Amusement Park from Union Station. He operated the newsstands and heard that Lakeside was looking for someone to run food service. So in the late 19-teens, he arrived at Lakeside Park. During the Depression, the originating company of Lakeside went into bankruptcy. My father made a bid for the park and all of a sudden in the middle of the 1930s found that he was operating an amusement park."
Denver City Auditor Dennis Gallagher, who's visited the park for 65 years:
"The reason they put the park here rather than in Denver is because Denver was anti-drink, especially in north Denver. The owners of Lakeside were sort of Germanic background and they wanted to be able to serve beer and have a German beer garden."
"Lakeside is Salt of the Earth, as the Bible says. Lakeside is for the working people. The carpenters, the laborers, and the firemen like my dad, and the policemen's kids."
Listen to the audio player above to hear more about Lakeside Amusement Park.