photo courtesy Stan Tribble
A former Memphian now living in Florida since 1972, Stan Tribble has got me playing the role of history detective — a job I don’t mind at all.
He’s turned up an old family scrapbook filled with photos taken at various locations in and around Memphis in the 1950s and 1960s, and he’s asked me to help identify them. Some of them are puzzlers — the kind I like best — but this one is easy.
It’s a snapshot taken at Lakeland, the old amusement park that opened in the early 1960s outside of town, around I-40 and Canada Road. The picture shows Stan with a buddy, Charles Goebel, and his mother, Maggie Tribble, posing for the photographer (most likely Stan’s father) in the “kiddie-land” section of Lakeland.
Now, it’s just a rough estimate, but I think I’ve written about Lakeland 1,345 times in recent years (here’s just one of those stories), and even featured it in a Southern Routes episode produced by my pal Bonnie Kourvelas for WKNO-TV. And it’s funny because most people who went there remember the big-scale attractions: the World’s Fair Skyride, the Huff-n-Puff locomotive, Lakeland International Speedway, that sort of thing. But a big part of Lakeland was decidedly low-tech, with sand beaches, rickety wooden fishing piers (barely visible in the background), and as you can see in this photo, pretty basic children’s slides, like you might find in your own backyard, but adorned with canvas tent-like tunnels reminding you that you were indeed at Lakeland.
In fact, this picture is cropped, but the lettering on that slide actually said, “YEA, LAKELAND” so you would be sure to have even more fun.
Thanks for the photos, Stan. I’ll get to work on the others, and will post what I find here, or in the pages of our magazine.