I love history. I don’t know why, I just do. I especially love the history of places, of homes and buildings. In my college years I would wander down a virtually dead downtown on a Sunday photographing old buildings. I’d explore the Avenues and stop in front of hundred year old homes and go back to the college library and read about architectural styles. My father graduated as an architect and even studied under Frank Lloyd Wright for a bit, but ended up moving us to Arizona where he became a cattle rancher and put down his drawings in favor of a bullwhip. I would call him over the years and talk about cool housings and buildings I had seen or was marketing and he loved it when I dug deeper and found records about who had lived in a home or who had built it. Dad’s passed and I don’t have more than clients to talk to about the history of their old home.
I still get excited to read about local historic places and recently watched on the news that a part of Lagoon amusement park has been restored. Our locally owned park started as a resort built next to a railroad on the shore of the Great Salt Lake in 1886. It was closed and parts were moved over to Farmington by local railroad owner Simon Bamberger who operated a rail from Salt Lake City to Ogden. He built an amusement park and named it after the original body of water there that was used to farm ice that was stored for summer uses. The park had bowling, dining and music and a ‘Shady Bowery’. Its first ride was ‘Shoot–the-Shoots’. Its historic carousel was built in 1883 and installed in 1906 and is still there to ride. The park closed in WWII and the Freed family and Ranch Kimball purchased the place and the rest is screaming history of park attendees who enjoy the place to this day. As a kid, Utahns loved to be scared not just by one of the (now 10) rollercoasters, but by the Terrorride. Youngsters would ride in a moving car in the dark and pass by scary creatures made of paper mache and wax. Teens would ride to make out in the dark. It is a classic amusement ride called a ‘dark house’, like the Haunted House at (Knoebels), Spook-A-Rama (Coney Island) and Curse of DarKastle (Busch Gardens).
The famous dark-house designer Bill Tracy designed Terroride and Dracula’s Castle here. Horror fans geek out over that fact as there are only eight of these rides left in the U.S. with his art intact. Ours has now been restored with new machinery and a new story line, but the original historic mural and creatures are fresh and are there to delight young and old in a new theme following a main character named “Louis von Black”. I’ll forgo the heat and check it out during the Halloween season of Frightmares to be amused and surprised in the Fall. Thanks Lagoon for saving a bit of odd history for us.