Fontaine Ferry Amusement Park


Fontaine Ferry Park

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. Aaron Fontaine bought the site where the amusement park would stand from William Lytle in 1814. At that time the property was called Carter’s ferry which later was named Fontaine Ferry. Here stood a house that faced the Ohio River and a landing for boats.It was located at 230 Southwestern Parkway, Louisville KY.

In the 1880’s a resort was built on the Fontaine estate. The Fontaine Hotel and Restaurant opened and was a great success. Not long after the owners began to build an amusement park.

The grand opening was in May of 1905. It had four roller coasters, ferris wheel, games as well as a bicycle track where many major races were held. It was so successful that it soon became one of the most famous parks in the country.

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As time passed other attractions were added like a swimming pool and a dance hall. In 1960 to keep up with the changing times the park unveiled it’s newest attraction which was the Turnpike. It was a concrete road that was a half mile long, which you drove miniature sports cars.

Over the years some of the most memorable attractions have been Gypsy Village, Hilarity Hall, Scenic Railway, Velvet Racer, Wheel of Joy, Sugar Bowl, and the Comet.

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Stone craving and glass ornament made by Al Nelson especially for one of my history exhibits.

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Fontaine Ferry Postal StudioFontaine Ferry Postal Studio

 
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After operating for more than 80 years Fontaine Ferry closed. It was bought and named Ghost Town on the River and later Glen Park but the magic didn’t seem to remain after Fontaine Ferry closed.

TODAY:

   

Fontaine Estates replaced what was know as the “Dude” Ranch- the street is called Fontaine Landing

 

In 1976 a fire destroyed most of the building. I was a young child at the time and remember my father and I went to see what had happen. We parked down the street and walked up to where the front entrance was. We stood across the street watching while flames seemed to grow higher in the air as the fire fighters tried to put it out. Even at that time I could see how sad that my dad was to see this great piece of history go up in flames. He still has many fond memories of this old park.

Not long after the fire the city bought the land and it became part of Shawnee Park.

Links

Aaron Fontaine   Design A Roller Coaster Kentucky Life Memories of Fontaine Ferry

If you have fond memories of Fontaine Ferry please leave a comment.
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10 responses

  1. I remember going to Fontaine Ferrry when I was a child. I was eight years old when it shut down. I have very fond memories and yet I feel very sad when I think about the old park.
    Laura ,New Albany, IN

  2. I saw a posting on a bulliten board – FONTAINE FERRY – ONE LAST SUMMER…..any idea where I can find more information on what is going on….i saw the roadside board on 65N 04.07.09

  3. S A Rucker/Dempster | Reply

    …..learned to swim at the wonderful Fontaine Ferry pool with my dear (now departed) friend, Charlotte Yates/Keene, when I was just 14. It was that Summer, I think, that I became truly familiar with the park’s many, many wonders. Most memorable were the times spent in the Fun House – especially the Silly Mirrors, the Maze, the Sugar Bowl, the Barrell, and the Angel Slide (never did work up the gumption to try the Devil Slide)! Spent a goodly amount of time too, trying to win a “big” prize at the Skeet Ball concession. Almost forgot to mention that that was the first Summer, too, that I began taking notice of BOYS! Of course, Gypsy Village and Flaget High came soon on the heels of all that – time when one single Summer day seemed to last
    F O R E V E R!

  4. Wanda Forrester | Reply

    You left out the skating rink. I went skating every Monday night from teen years till as and adult I moved from Louisville. After I married, my husband and I went to the amusement park at least once a month. I moved in 1958.

  5. I remember at least one summer as a junior high student in the early 50s going often to the Fontaine Ferry swimming pool with friends. I thought I was a young Esther Williams. After swimming I had to always ride the ferris wheel.
    I love a ferris wheel to this day.
    The company my father worked for had the company picnic there every year for several years.

  6. How come nobody mentioned the Tunnel of Love :-). I took girfriends there in the ’50s. Of course, there was the time someone supposedly got bit by a water moccasin while dangling their fingers in the water.

    I also recall the Ferris Wheel, the Roller Coaster, Skee-Ball, and some whirling contraption that pressed to to its sides as it spun.

    And the pond out back of the park was a great place to play and to go gigging for bullfrogs.

  7. S A Rucker/Dempster | Reply

    Larry –
    That whirling contraption that pressed one to its sides as it spun was the Sugar Bowl in the Fun House -one of my favorites – that, the spinning barrell (where one was lucky if they walked thru it and remained upright!) and the Angel Slide – all in the Fun House! Spent a lot of nickles, but never did win anything at Skee Ball, right outside the Fun House. DID ride the Ferris Wheel and Merry-Go-Round many times; but never did work up the courage to ride The Shoes. Most of may experiences at Fountain Ferry were in the mid-fifties. And I learned to swim there, then later “graduated” to Aubrey’s Dude Ranch (much sexier for a seventeen year old) and which I understand is now a very exclusive housing development.
    Where did you go to High school? (Many of us went to Shawnee High School – Gail Greer and I both graduated from there in 1954.)
    /sd

  8. Sandy in Denver | Reply

    I was afraid of the laughing animatronics outside the fun house, but had to get past them to get to the Sugar Bowl and the mirrors and the moving floor panels and the SLIDES, so I covered my eyes and let Dad lead me past them!. I was heartbroken when the park closed, and even more heartbroken as I grew up and realized all of the pain behind the unrest. We used to go at least once every summer. I think I probably have at least 7 years of memories in my head from the place.

  9. In the center of the park was a huge stage featuring two shows daily.Maybe an animal act, acrobats, magic shows and live music.I also remember local radio stars such as Jimmie Osborne,Ginger Calahen and Jimmie Logsdon.And who can forget Pepsi Cola day! We saved bottle tops all winter to use as money for the rides.(The comet was excluded) And don’t forget the “Ghost Train”. The “Olde Mill” was replaced by the “Turnpike”.When it was time to stop for lunch,Mom took us to the picnic area over by the skating rink,where white tables and green chairs were waiting under the huge shade trees.The trees were whitw washed about 5 or 6 feet up.Sorry to say it’s all gone forever,except in memory.Maybe the young folks today will store up some memories of Kentucky Kingdom.Take pictures,lots of pictures.

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