Love your page Jen...keep up the good work. My mother used to work at Sample's restaurant in the park which was located next to the skeeball. I have many fond memories of the park. My favorite was the Whip. Many thanks for the page.
My name is Shannon, I am 38 years old, and I have many fond memories of the place. My aunt lived just a block away and my father used to visit her a lot, so I would beg to go see her. (just to see the park) There's only two places I ever liked as a child, CAUFIELDS & FONTAINE FERRY. Both of which my father turned me onto. My father met my mother there and thats why they knew about it. My mom talked about the Racing Derby and when I was little they forced me to ride the Comet. I was scared to death. I remember it when it was Ghost Town on the River too. It was a great park & a great time. I shall always remember it. Thanks for the website. Now my wife can see what I've been talking about. By the way, I love roller coasters now and I've got Fontaine Ferry to thank for that.
I live in Gatlinburg now & I just called my mother to tell her about your site. She was tickled and she told me that my dad bought his first pony there back in 37. The pony's name was King. It was one that belonged to the park & they used it for rides. I asked mom if she remembers White City Park and she doesn't. She does however remember Rose Island. Ive been looking around for info on another KY park; Beech Bend in Bowling Green. I've only found a small bit on it; do you have any Info? I've herd there's not a lot about it but I think my mom does have some pictures that I took of it in the 70s. It was another fun place. By the way, on a recent trip back to KY I stopped into a flea market on 7th & Berry and in one of the booths I found some really old pictures of Fontaine Ferry that you might want to check out.
I went to your web site on Fountaine Ferry Park. WOW what memories!!!! As a child I would visit my grandparents in Louisville and would go to the park every summer (1960's.) I remember Hilarity Hall very well! The hall of mirrors????!!!!! With the money behind a glass wall! I read the history section and boy did it bring back memories. My Grandmother would always tell us of all the injured people from the rollercoaster and would never let us ride it! Funny....... one year when we went down to visit, and asked if we could go to the park we learned of the "rioting" and never visited again........
I was delighted to come across your site while researching my favorite subjects of Louisville in the 1940's and 1950's plus Fontaine Ferry Park. My husband and I have wonderful memories of that park. I was born in 1947 and my husband, in 1945; so we can remember back quite far. We also heard stories of the park from our parents and grandparents. Here are some of the things we remember and some of the things that our relatives remember:
The Merry-Go-Round and it's wonderful music. The carousel had gorgeous horses and animals. Some of the horses went up and down and others didn't. Besides horses, there was also a lion, giraffe, panther and carousel carts. The carts looked like ornately carved wooden sleighs. The Comet, which was called the Racing Derby by our grandparents. I can still hear the clickety-clack of the cars being pulled up the huge incline. There was always lots of screaming on that ride. Our parents remember the Lindy Planes. Named after the aviator, Charles Lindbergh. The Tilt-A-Whirl, which was always my favorite. The rounded cars were painted red with a picture of a clown on the back. The wooden walkway to get into the cars were painted gray. Round and round we went in fits of giggles. The Rockets, were a great ride to cool off in, on a hot summer's day. They were silver and red back in my time. You'd climb some stairs to get to the platform, from which, you got into one of the rockets. They would go round and round, while swinging further and further out. You could see that you were gliding over some of the rooftops and trees in that part of the park. The caterpillar was canopied. The ride would go round and round, faster and faster and then the dome of canvas would come up and cover the riders up. The canvas was green with orange stripes.
The Ferris Wheel, was a wonderful way to get over the treetops and get a wonderful view of the park. The Whip was quite a ride. You would get into the card and they would take you round and round and then butt you into a stationary abutment. The Whip was under a wooden gazebo-type cover, which was later removed. In the Rock-O-Planes, you were locked in a cage-type structure. The cages would go upside down and round and round, as the whole ride, itself was going around like a Ferris wheel. The Bubble Bounce, was great fun and made a sound you would never forget. It was painted pink with different colored bubbles painted on it. The Olde Mill, later called The Tunnel of Love was always fun. There were always the rumors of snakes (water moccasins) in there. Our parents told us not to stick our hands out of the boats and into the water. Many a young teenager got their first kiss in The Olde Mill. It was later torn down and The Turnpike was put in. The Skooters, later called The Dodge-em Cars, were always a big hit. I can remember seeing sparks come out of the top of the rides. There was wire mesh at the underside of a covered pavilion.
They had a building called The Mirror Maze or The House of Mirrors or something like that. You had a hard time finding your way out, but had fun looking at yourself in all the distorting mirrors. Once you got out, there was a hole, where air would swoosh out and raise the ladies' skirts. People would stand outside that building and just laugh at the ladies. There was also The Ghost Train. You'd ride in a car that was pulled along some tracks. It was dark inside and you'd feel cobwebs and see all sorts of frightening figures. Witches and skeletons are what I remember. There was also loud bells and sounds in there.
The Dutch Shoes. It was a ride with 2 huge Dutch shoes. One swung higher and higher one way and one swung higher and higher the other way. There was also a Kiddieland part of the park, with rides little children could ride. I especially remember the boats that would go round and round in the water and you could pull a string and ring the bell on your boat. The Kiddieland part was later changed to Frontier Village. Fontaine Ferry had nickel days, where every ride was 5 cents. There was also Pepsi-Cola days, where every ride was a bottle cap plus 5 cents. There was also Grocery Days. The ladies would play the wheels. They put 5 cents down on a number and if the wheel stopped on their number, they'd win a small basket full of groceries. That was always a big hit with my great-grandmother, grandmother and great-aunts. Fontaine Ferry had big turnouts on grocery days. There were lots of picnic tables. Our family always packed a big picnic lunch. We'd sit under the shade of those marvelous trees and eat a wonderful lunch.
Hilarity Hall with the fat, laughing Sam and Sue. They were frightening to us when we were very young and as we grew older, we'd laugh right along with them. Inside Hilarity Hall was The Barrel of Fun, which went round and round and was hard to get through. The Angel Slide, The Devil Slide (it was very steep), a slide that had a bunch of rollers to get down--ouch!! Bump-Bump-Bump, you would go. The Sugar Bowl, The Bucking Broncos (carousel-type horses that went back and forth, instead of up and down), The Wheel of Joy, and numerous kinds of contraptions to walk up and down on. The Penny Arcade, where we went to vending machines to get pictures of glamorous movie stars, cowboy stars and even strippers. You could also play the nickelodeons, where your would turn a crank and look into a viewer and see short movie or western scenes. The most popular game with kids was Skee Ball. There was also: Test your strength. You'd hit a platform with a mallet and try to ring the bell. Target Practice, Fishing Pond, Play the Wheel, Ring Toss and Guess Your Weight, among others. Some of the prizes were: straw hats, chalkware statues, ashtrays, plastic rings, plastic insects, Chinese finger cuffs, monkeys on sticks, stuffed animals, pendants, caps, etc. I still have a small plastic man (about 8 inches high) that my husband won for me on our first date to Fontaine Ferry Park. It's been hanging in our den for over 32 years now.
Gypsy Village was wonderful for the teenage years. A local group was very big there. They were called Cosmo and the Counts until they change their name to The Sultans. This group also played some of the local teenage clubs, that were popular back then. Fontaine Ferry has a distinctive aroma to it. There was sawdust to keep down the dirt and mud. I assume that is what gave the park that wonderful odor. I'd give anything to smell that aroma again.
From the late 40's till the park closed, were wonder years for all of us Louisville kids. Going to the park would be an all-day affair. We'd go in the morning and stay till late at night. It was truly a time, when parents or grandparents could turn the children loose and not have to worry about them. Each and every summer of my life, I always think of those wonderfully innocent days of Fontaine Ferry Park and childhood summers filled with laughter.