photo courtesy Memphis and Shelby County Room, Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library
In our annual City Guide, published in August, I took readers back to “The Good Old Summertime,” when Memphians flocked to an amusement resort called East End Park. Located in Midtown close to present-day Overton Square, East End featured a scenic lake, rides, vaudeville acts, fireworks shows, and just about anything and everything that was considered “fun” in the early 1900s.
My pal Laura Cunningham gets credit for organizing a pile of old photo albums that had been donated to the history department of the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. Found in the basement of an appliance store, the albums contained hundreds of photos showing kids of all ages enjoying the wide variety of attractions at East End. I tell the complete story here, and also include a number of nice photos from the collection.
Here’s another one, showing the miniature train that once circled the big lake at East End. What’s really amazing is to consider the now-and-then aspects of these photographs. This view shows the train stopped along the banks of a rather large lake, as it appeared sometime around 1912. Go to this same spot today, and you’ll find the parking lot of Midwest Dairy. Not a trace remains of the lake, or the amusement park that was billed as “The Coney Island of the Mid-South.”