Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Blast From The Past - Robison Park's Blue Streak

Built in 1912, Robison Park was a beautiful park, located about seven miles northeast of Fort Wayne Indiana, along the St. Joseph River. owned by the Fort Wayne Traction Company, the park was, as many in the day, built primarily to make money hauling passengers on the electric line to and from the park.

Before the automobile, it wasn't easy for people to travel outside the city and the double-track trolley line offered the opportunity for large crowds to enjoy riding the open cars out to the park. Open through the summer months the park soon became famous and people were coming from far away places to enjoy it. So many horse conveyances came from around the countryside, and Fort Wayne too, that the management put up sheds for stalling and feeding the horses.

The entrance was on Leo Road and an admission fee was charged. The park was large and the land was rolling, wooded and picturesque. The amusement park was just a sharp left to the left off river road. There was a a circle swing, a chute-the-chute, merry-go-round and a roller coaster.

The Blue Streak, a Fred Ingersoll wooden coaster was the most popular concession of all. When the park had a large crowd, the cars ran continually. Some just rode once, but others most stayed on and on. Trying to get on the roller coaster on a busy night wasn't easy. Riders with fistfuls of tickets would refuse to exit. The roar of the cars, the shouts of males and the squeals of girls could be heard for a half mile.

Robison Park was a park for young and old. A person could spend lots of money or very little, whichever they chose. World War I, and the automobile brought many changes and Robison Park became the victim of “progress.” By 1920 the trolley was in disrepair and the roadbed would have to be rebuilt.

People liked the convenience of driving their own automobiles and the traction company wasn’t in the automobile business. So it was decided to abandon the park. No one came forth to save it, and by 1920 is was dismantled and torn down.