"We are all of us living in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." ~Oscar Wilde
"Adventure is worthwhile in itself." ~Amelia Earhart

October 3, 2011

Wonderland, The Amusement Park of Lake Street

I was cycling down the Midtown Greenway today when I came across this display that gives little blurbs of info on the history of the area. I'm not going to transcribe the whole thing because this post would be huge if I did. But, if you click on the photos and make them full-size, it's easy to read.

My favorite blurb is the one on the very bottom of the second photo. It talks about Wonderland Park, an amusement park that used to be on Lake Street. If you traveled down the street today, you'd never have a clue that an amusement park used to be on the land. Lake Street is almost all small to medium-size retail businesses now.

I will copy the Wonderland blurb.

"Wonderland was a popular destination for thousands who came by streetcar from St. Paul and Minneapolis. In addition to its 120-foot illuminated tower, roller coaster, acrobats, Old Mill Boat Ride, and other standard amusement-park fare, the main attraction was an exhibit of the new technology of incubators for premature babies. The Infant Incubator Institute, operated by Martin Couney, M.D., was housed in a building that still stands at 3101 East 31st Street. After the 10-acre park closed, the property was soon developed for housing, with lots selling for about $450."

I also found a small blurb and some fantastic photos of Wonderland at Placeography (link) Supposedly, people would pay a fee to see the premature babies in their incubators. Which is kinda creepy and strange. And that just makes me want to visit Wonderland all the more.


Pat Micko said...

For having lived in Minneapolis all my life I had never heard of this (I'm 30). Any ideas when it closed down?

Berryvox said...

I know! I grew up around that area and never heard of Wonderland till I came across that marker. Granted, me and my childhood friends didn't sit around discussing local history. There's a Wikipedia article on it that says it closed down in 1911. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonderland_Amusement_Park_(Minneapolis)