Photo by Walt Drissel
I've written about the old Lakeland amusement park before on these pages and in my regular "Ask Vance" column in Memphis magazine. And working with my pals Bonnie Kourvelas and Kip Cole, we produced an entire Southern Routes segment on the place for WKNO television. Did you see it?
Even so, despite all this work, I wouldn't consider myself an expert on the subject. I would give that honor to Walt Drissel, who has been roaming around the old property a few miles east of Memphis, and discovering that interesting parts of the old place have survived, if you just know where to look for them.
His latest discovery: A big chunk of land sticks out into the southwest corner of the lake. It's just about the only part of the former park site that's not covered with nice homes, though on a recent visit Walt says he discovered flags and things stuck in the ground that suggest future development of that property is on its way.
Anyway, while exploring those woods, Walt had discovered the crumbling foundation of the old Huff-n-Puff Railroad station. Across the tracks from the station stood the main station for the old Brussels World's Fair Skyride, one of Lakeland's most compelling attractions. The station itself — a brightly colored metal platform — and the big skyride towers were dismantled when the park closed in the mid-1970s, but look! Walt found the actual cable from the skyride (shown here). It's a beefy thing, about an inch thick, and snakes through the woods and then one end runs down into the lake.
I wonder where it comes out on the other side of the lake — in somebody's backyard?
Thanks, Walt, for sharing the photo.