Top 5 Lost Parks of Macon
Founded in 1823 on the banks of the Ocmulgee River, the city of Macon was envisioned as a "City Within a Park." Macon has been home to many beautifully landscaped parks in the past. Here are 5 of those luscious landscapes that are no longer in existence.
1. crumps park
Located at the end of the streetcar line, Crumps Park was located off Vineville Avenue, which today is bounded by Ridge Avenue, Ingleside Avenue and Vista Circle. Crumps Park was originally owned and supported by the Macon Railway and Light Company as a way to get patrons to ride streetcars during non-commuting times, such as weekends and warm weather evenings. In 1905, the Macon Railway and Light Co. financed the building of a new theater in the rapidly expanding amusement center at Crumps Park. In the summer, there were plays every night, concerts in the afternoon and other attractions, such as a shooting gallery, roller coaster, alligator pond, deer park, casino, an electrical theater and a moving picture show. The park remained popular through the pre-war years and closed shortly before WWI when the park was taken over for a National Guard Mobilization Camp-Camp Harris.
2. lakeside park
Lakeside Park, originally known as the Macon Outing Club (ca. 1897), “one of the best known social organizations in this section of Georgia” was located three miles outside of Macon on the Central Georgia Railroad at McCalls Mill pond. After a fire in April 1910, the Macon Outing Club closed and was renamed Lakeside Park. In the 20’s and 30’s the lake frequently held contests and other exhibitions such as a water carnival and a Motorboat Regatta. Bands begin to play at Lakeside in the 60’s and Phil Walden later bought Lakeside in 1975 and opened up the park to the public. Under the watchful eye of Walden, Lakeside boasted a restaurant, a pub with 5 decks up and over the lake and Macon’s first discotheque that was converted from an old bowling alley. Unfortunately, due to low turnout caused by a very rainy summer, Lakeside closed to the public. Walden later used Lakeside as host to the Capricorn Summer Games and BBQ which included guests such as Andy Warhol, Jimmy Carter and Don King. In 1978, Lakeside was home to the Allman Brothers Reunion.
3. Baconsfield park
Senator Augustus Bacon owned a large plantation on the northeastern side of the Ocmulgee River. When Senator Bacon died in 1914, he bequeathed the remaining 75 acres between the northeast side of the Ocmulgee River and North Avenue to the city of Macon for “the use, benefit, and enjoyment of the white women and children of the city of Macon to be by them forever used and enjoyed as a park and pleasure ground.” Baconsfield Park opened in 1920, and the park contained various athletic facilities, numerous flowers, trees and even a zoo. There was a bamboo thicket, a wading pool, and a water fountain. The park was enjoyed by the white community in the Macon area for several decades, as Bacon had intended in his will, but as talk of racial integration grew, the park’s whites-only policy became controversial. Because the mandates of Bacon’s wishes and will were not met, the park was closed and the property was sold to the benefit of the Bacon heirs.
4. ragan's park
Ragan’s Park, also known as Recreation Park was purchased in 1913 by Thomas Ragan. In the park’s infancy, it was for members only, and it had a lake and bath house. It later became an amusement park that featured a soda fountain, bowling alley, Merry-go-Round, bumper cars and a train ride that went into the woods and around the lake. Bill Ragan purchased the park’s train in 1947 from Dayton, Ohio. The Southern Railroad Co. sent a crew out to paint the train engine in the Southern Railroad’s colors. The train was named “The Little Ponce de Leon.”
5. white city amusement park
White City Park was located in South Macon between Houston Avenue and Pio Nono Avenue in the early part of the 20th century. White City Park contained a swimming pool, bath house, water slides and a sandy beach. Overlooking the park on a crested bluff was a pavilion that once showed movies and provided ample area for music and dancing.
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