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Lighting Up the Summer Evenings: San Antonio’s Electric Park

July 31, 2015

Summer in San Antonio is hot, sweaty, and a whole lot of family fun! For residents looking for entertainment in the summer of 1906, nighttime provided a new source of recreation.

Electric Park activities during the daytime in 1906. General Images Collection, DRT Library Collection, Alamo Research Center.

Electric Park activities during the daytime in 1906. General Images Collection, DRT Library Collection, Alamo Research Center.

Samuel Weiss opened the Electric Park Company across the street from San Antonio’s oldest public park, San Pedro Springs Park. Electric Park included all manner of attractions including a carousel, a toboggan track, a Ferris Wheel, shooting gallery, pool hall, and boat rides, among other exciting activities. In the 1950s, Renwick Cary’s “Around the Plaza” feature in the San Antonio Express recounted the exploits of “The Girl in Red” from Doc Carver’s Diving Horse act (one of the traveling companies that inspired the Disney movie Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken) that performed at Electric Park for several seasons.

Electric Park fully illuminated at night! This was a trend inspired by the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and later Coney Island-type theme parks. General Images Collection, DRT Library, Alamo Research Center.

Electric Park fully illuminated at night! This was a trend inspired by the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and later Coney Island-type theme parks. General Images Collection, DRT Library, Alamo Research Center.

The star of the Electric Park show came on after twilight fell. The theme park was fully electrified! Many of San Antonio’s children recalled summer nights at riding the circle swing and the roller coaster. The majority of electric parks would close by 1917 due to competition, increasing operating costs, and fires, but the memory of have fun at them would live on.

Beer Garden and Circle Swing during the daytime at Electric Park. General Images Collection, DRT Library Collection, Alamo Research Center.

Beer Garden and Circle Swing during the daytime at Electric Park. General Images Collection, DRT Library Collection, Alamo Research Center.

Circle swing lit up at night at Electric Park. General Images Collection, DRT Library Collection, Alamo Research Center.

Circle swing lit up at night at Electric Park. General Images Collection, DRT Library Collection, Alamo Research Center.

Come visit us tomorrow for a First Saturday exhibit all about summer fun in San Antonio! Some of our Texas Treasures will also be on display.

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