Well before Kentucky Kingdom was the glimmer of a thought, another Louisville amusement park created thousands of memories and countless hours of fun.
Do you remember Sam and Sue? How about Hilarity Hall and Gypsy Village? What was your favorite ride? The Comet or The Whip? How many hours did you spend riding the Fontaine Ferry Carousel or swimming in the pool?
From 1905 to 1969, Fontaine Ferry Park represented the very best of times for hundreds of thousands who enjoyed innocent hours of entertainment in the West Louisville amusement park on the banks of the Ohio River. For others, it was a sign of the times – a place they weren’t allowed access because of the color of their skin.
On May 16, the Frazier International History Museum opens Fontaine Ferry, a 3,800 square foot exhibition that explores this integral part of Louisville’s history, just in time for the 40th anniversary of the park’s closing. The exhibition will explore the park’s beginnings as a boat landing in 1814, through the Great Depression and the Great Flood of 1937 to the 64-acre attraction’s demise amid the effects of urban flight and racial tensions of the civil rights movement.
The history of the site, from heyday to closing day, will be detailed through text panels, photographs, video, oral histories, sound effects and interactive elements. The exhibition will feature over 100 original artifacts including wooden horses, penny arcade machines, fun mirrors, personal memorabilia and an array of entertainment.
The Frazier Museum will be hosting several special events and educational programs related to Fontaine Ferry including: Gypsy Village Night at the Frazier, Collectors Day, Family Discovery Days, a panel discussion and more. Check out www.fraziermuseum.org for the most up-to-date calendar of events. Fontaine Ferry runs through September 8.