LAKE CONTRARY AMUSEMENT PARK
& LAKE CONTRARY LAKE


index sitemap advanced
site search by freefind



Click on a thumbnail to view a photo
NOTE:Some photos may require an extra click to view a larger photo

LAKE CONTRARY AMUSEMENT PARK


LAKE CONTRARY & AMUSEMENT PARK FACTS
  • 1878 - It was known as a resort area with some boating
  • 1890 - A Horse Race Track was constructed
  • 1900 - It had a horse stable that held 250 horses
  • 1900 - Large Grandstand was added
  • 190? - Figure 8 Roller Coaster was added
  • 190? - The Old Mill was added (Like the Tunnel of Love)
  • 190? - 52 animal carousel was added - the horses had real horsehair tails
  • 1908 - Fire started in an illusion show-north half of the park destroyed
  • 19?? - Airplane Ride was added
  • 1910 - Shoot The Chutes - Pull boat up then plunge into water below
  • 19?? - Dodgem bumper cars added
  • 1924 - Lotus Club & 3 cottages burned
  • 193? - Giant Dipper roller coaster added - one of the tallest at the time
  • 1949 - The park flooded - 4 feet of water but amusement park recovered
  • 1952 - The park flooded - 9 feet of water - several rides destroyed
  • 1962 - Storm blew tree into Giant Dipper, causing $15,000 in damage
  • 1964 - Auctioning the park items began on May 16, 1964
  • 1964 - The park closed permanently on May 17, 1964




  • 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

    Circa 1889
    Lake Contrary Amusement Park
    Advertisements, Events & Media

    Photo #1 - Sept 9,1889 Newspaper horse racing advertisement
    Photo #4 - Artist conception of the Amusement Park
    Photo #5 - 1925 Newspaper Advertisement
    Photo #6 - 1921 Newspaper Advertisement
    Photo #7 - 1954 Newspaper ad for riding the bus to Lake Contrary
    Photo #8 - 1916 notice of the park's formal opening
    Photo #9 - Old postcard showing 3 Lake Contrary attractions
    Photo #10 - 1914 Homecoming Jubilee
    Photo #11 - 1912 Sante Fe Employees Picnic




    1 2 3 4 5

    Circa 1896
    Lake Contrary Streetcars (also called trolleys)

    Before the automobile replaced the horse and buggy, streetcars were a popular way to get to Lake Contrary
    I have not been able to locate any rubber tired buses that went to Lake Contrary
    In later years, when automobiles became popular, the streetcar lines were discontinued

    Photo #1 - This streetcar stopped at Union Depot, Stockyards and Lake Contrary
    Photo #2 - This streetcar stopped at Union Depot, Stockyards and Lake Contrary
    Photo #3 - 1896 streetcar stopped at Krug Park, Stockyards & Lake Contrary
    Photo #4 - 1918 streetcar stopped at Krug Park, Stockyards & Lake Contrary
    Photo #5 - streetcar stopped at Krug Park, Stockyards & Lake Contrary




    1 2

    Circa 1899
    Lake Contrary Streetcar Terminal

    This is the Lake Contrary terminal building where the Lake Contrary streetcar route stopped
    From here people would walk to the amusement park or to Lake Contrary

    Photo #1 - 1899 photo of the Lake Contrary Streetcar terminal
    Photo #2 - 1899 photo of the Lake Contrary Streetcar terminal




    1 2 3 4 5

    Circa 1910
    Lake Contrary & Amusement Park
    Layouts & Maps

    Photo #1 - 1950's attraction layout
    Photo #2 - A very old layout when the casino was present
    Photo #3 - 1911 area map including the horse racing track
    Photo #4 - 1911 layout of area
    Photo #5 - 1910 Lake Contrary map





    1 2

    Lake Contrary Amusement Park Entrance

    Photo #1 - An old postcard showing the main entrance to Lake Contrary
    Photo #2 - Main Midway entrance photo




    1 2

    Lake Contrary Amusement Park Entrance

    Photo #1 - An old postcard showing the main entrance to Lake Contrary
    Photo #2 - Main Midway entrance photo




    1 2

    Lake Contrary Amusement Park Entrance

    Photo #1 - An old postcard showing the main entrance to Lake Contrary
    Photo #2 - Main Midway entrance photo






    Lake Contrary Amusement Park Ticket

    Photo - An old Lake Contrary Amusement ride ticket




    1 2 3

    Lake Contrary Amusement Park's
    Concessions & the Pavilion

    Mary Ingersol's Popcorn Stand a concession in the Amusement Park's Pavilion




    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

    Circa 1910
    Lake Contrary Amusement Park's
    Shoot the Chutes

    Shoot the Chutes was one of the main and favorite attractions at the Lake Contrary Amusement Park
    Thousands of visitors a day, many traveling by streetcar, came to have a good time on the rides
    There was also dancing, horse racing, restaurants and boat rides

    4 CATASTROPHES THAT EFFECTED THE AMUSEMENT PARK

    1) In 1908, a fire broke out in the "Purgatory & Paradise" area causing extensive damage
    2) In 1949, the Missouri River flooded the park with 4 feet of water but the park survived
    3) The 1952 Missouri River Flood ravaged the park and efforts to restore it to it's former glory failed
    4) In the 1960's, a major wind storm caused much damage
    The park was torn down in the mid to late 1960's






    Circa Early 1900's
    Lake Contrary Amusement Park's
    Lagoon

    The Shoot the Chutes ride ended with a plunge into this lagoon






    Circa Early 1900's
    Lake Contrary Amusement Park's
    THERMOMETER

    Artifact thermometer from the park




    1 2

    Lake Contrary Amusement Park
    Flooding of the park





    1 2 3 4

    Circa 1904
    Lake Contrary Amusement Park's
    Venetican Dance Hall & Band Stand

    There was a dance hall and a band stand that supplied music




    1 2 3 4 5 6 7


    Circa 1908
    Lake Contrary Amusement Park
    The Midway

    Photo #1 - Lake Contrary Amusement Park Midway in 1908
    Photo #2 - Lake Contrary Amusement Park Midway in 1908
    Photo #3 - Lake Contrary Amusement Park Midway in 1940's
    Photo #4 - Lake Contrary Amusement Park Midway
    Photo #5 - 1962 a family relaxing near the rides
    Photo #6 - 1939 children's picnic
    Photo #7 - Early Midway entrance




    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

    Lake Contrary Amusement Park's
    Dentzel Carousel or Merry-go-Round Ride

    The Dentzel Merry-go-round ride at the Amusement Park featured 52 hand-carved animals for people to ride
    The horse's tails were made from real horse hair
    The floods of 1949 & 1952 devastated the Carousel ride

    Photo #1 - The carousel building loaded with people
    Photo #2 - Night view, you can see a figure of an elephant outlined with lights on top
    Photo #3 - The Dentzel carousel is shown here engulfed in flood water
    Photo #4 - A carousel horse
    Photo #5 - Some of the animals on the Dentzel Carousel
    Photo #6 - Children riding on some of the animals
    Photo #7 - Close up of a child on one of the horses
    Photo #8 - A good photo of people riding the carousel




    1 2

    Circa 1914
    Lake Contrary Amusement Park
    Candy Wheel Booth

    Rick Stafford's grandfather, James Byrne, selling items at
    the Candy Wheel Booth
    Photos circa 1914
    Photos submitted by Rick Stafford






    Lake Contrary Amusement Park
    Old Mill Ride

    The Old Mill ride was a ride similar to a Tunnel Of Love boat ride
    St Joseph News-Press newspaper photo
    Park items were being auctioned off when the park closed down
    The gentleman in the photo purchased the water wheel for $25






    Circa 1910
    Lake Contrary Amusement Park
    Mac's Penny Arcade

    There was a Penny Arcade in the park
    It was called Mac's Penny Arcade






    Lake Contrary Amusement Park's
    Swing Plane ride







    Lake Contrary Amusement Park's Jail

    The amusement park had temporary jail for those who got too rowdy during their visit to the amusement park




    Lake Contrary Amusement Park's
    The Whip





    1 2 3

    Lake Contrary Amusement Park's
    The Tumble Bug

    This ride was like a Tilt N' Whirl, it spun around and went up and down




    1 2 3

    Lake Contrary Amusement Park's
    Kiddie Land

    Kiddie Land was a section containing rides especially designed for small children

    Photo #1 - Airplane ride for the smaller children
    Photo #2 - Entrance to Kiddie Land
    Photo #3 - 1954 newspaper photo, a mini ferris wheel for the children




    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    Circa 1931
    Lake Contrary Amusement Park's
    Giant Dipper Roller Coaster

    The Giant Dipper suffered from 2 floods and a windstorm which blew a tree into the ride causing extensive damage

    Photo #1 - Lake Contrary Giant Dipper Roller Coaster in action
    Photo #2 - 1952 flood photo
    Photo #3 - Entrance to the Giant Dipper
    Photo #4 - The Giant Dipper was sold to William Burgess for $100 in 1964
    Photo #5 - Heading down
    Photo #6 - Giant Dipper ride in action
    Photo #7 - newspaper photo
    Photo #8 - June 1962 newspaper photo of destruction caused by high winds
    Photo #9 - 1931 newspaper advertisement
    Photo #10 - 1948 A couple is standing near the Giant Dipper




    1 2 3

    Lake Contrary Amusement Park's
    Figure 8 Roller Coaster

    The Figure 8 Roller Coaster was named so because the track was laid out in the shape of a figure eight. It wasn't that big but it was one wild ride

    Photo #1 - Heading up the 1st incline
    Photo #2 - Figure 8 advertisement
    Photo #3 - Great photo submitted by David George - Estimated circa 1910




    1 2 3 4 5

    Circa 1964
    Lake Contrary Amusement Park
    Closes On March 17, 1964

    This was the last day of the Amusement Park

    Photo #1 - The auction begins auctioning off items
    Photo #2 - St Joseph News-Press photo showing some ride animals auctioned off
    Photo #3 - Announcement of the auction May 16, 1964
    Photo #4 - 1964 photo of the terminal prior to razing
    Photo #5 - The owners waving goodbye to the crowd



    LAKE CONTRARY AND SURROUNDING AREA


    FACTS ABOUT LAKE CONTRARY
    Lake Contrary is a recreational boating and swimming area with a beach
    Lake Contrary got it's name from Contrary Creek which was the original water source for the lake
    Contrary Creek was named so because it's waters flow North, which is "contrary" to other creeks & rivers in the area that run South






    Lake Contrary Creek

    Postcard showing Lake Contrary Creek






    2 Ladies standing next to Lake Contrary







    Circa 1889
    Lake Contrary Promenade

    1889 photo of the Promenade






    Circa 1890
    Lake Contrary
    Horse Racing Track

    A horse track was constructed around 1890. The track later included the large grandstand pictured in the background and stable space for 250 horses
    Photo #2 is a 1909 photo




    1 2

    Circa 1890
    Lake Contrary Budweiser Home







    Circa 1899
    Lake Contrary Anderson Hotel

    1899 photo of the Anderson hotel at Lake Contrary




    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

    Circa 1906
    Lake Contrary Lotus Club

    The Lotus Club was the social center at Lake Contrary
    The Lotus Club and 3 cottages burned to the ground on April 23, 1924
    The building featured a large dining room, dance floor and hotel rooms

    Photo #1 - taken in 1906
    Photo #7 - St Joseph Gazette newspaper article
    Photo #8 - Postcard showing the Lotus Club boat house




    Circa 1907
    Lake Contrary Brochure

    In 1907, Lake Contrary offered a 64 page booklet that sold for 10 cents containing details & photos of Lake Contrary and St Joseph




    1 2 3

    Circa 1909
    Lake Contrary

    In 1909 Ringling Brothers Circus was in town on a Sunday
    They did not have a show until Monday, so Ringling let their elephants bathe in Lake Contrary
    They had a hard time getting the elephants out of the water




    1 2 3 4 5


    Circa 1900
    Lake Contrary Casino
    The Lake Casino Theatre

    Circa 1909, Divers would dive off the Casino Theater & boathouse
    Photo #5, circa Sept 1900, advertisement for a theatre play
    The theatre was on the second floor and seated 1,800 people




    1 2

    Circa 1912
    Lake Contrary Scenic Postcard

    Photos are a 1912 postcard




    Circa 1914
    Lake Contrary
    Casino Silent Movie Theater

    Casino Theater was located in the Lake Contrary Park
    Grand Opening Sunday June 14,1914
    Miss Myrtle Howard and her International Trio
    Worlds Great Society Dancers and Entertainers
    High Class Motion Pictures
    Afternoon and Night
    Admission: FREE--FREE--FREE






    Circa 1918
    Lake Contrary German Beer Garden







    Circa 1918
    Lake Contrary German Day Celebration

    United German Society of St Joseph 1935 advertisement






    Circa 2011
    Lake Contrary Welcome Sign







    Circa 2011
    Lake Contrary Aerial View





    1 2

    Lake Contrary Sunset





    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

    Circa 2014
    Lake Contrary's Current Condition

    Lake Contrary was once a vibrant & popular lake filled with swimmers, boats and fishermen
    As of May 2014, the lake is in total dispair having a water depth of about 3 inches
    Due to a lack of water, the lake is drying up, fish are dying, the lake has shrunk a great deal in size as can be seen in the above photos
    The Corp of Engineers have lowered the river level which also effects Lake Contrary
    It would cost over $2,000 a month to pump water from the river into the lake
    The city will not annex the lake and the county will not help take care of it
    Photos #1-6 were taken by Randall Huston in late May 2014 with his radio controlled quadcopter




    1 2

    Lake Contrary Maples Nightclub

    Maples Nightclub located near Lake Contrary during the years when the Amusement park was a hot spot




    1 2 3 4 5 6

    Lake Contrary
    Swimming, Sail Boating & Canoeing

    Boating and swimming was once very popular at Lake Contrary




    1 2 3 4 5 6

    Lake Contrary Dancing & Bath House Pavillion





    1 2 3 4 5 6

    Lake Contrary Cottages

    Numerous cottages lined the lake area
    In June of 2015, the last cottage was torn down (Photos 2-6)





    PLEASE SIGN MY GUESTBOOK



    Feel free to email me with any comments or questions
    Rick Drozd - rickdrozd@gmail.com



    Return To Main Menu