Colorado’s Lakeside Amusement Park in Glorious Monochrome

Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Ferris Wheel sign. (Daniel J. Schneider)

I visited the famous Lakeside Amusement Park (the last surviving amusement park to have been named White City) outside of Denver, Colo., to check out the amazing collection of Art Deco, Googie, and Streamline Moderne signage and architecture. Behold, Raygun Gothic in stunning monochrome!

Lakeside fills about half of the city of Lakeside, Colorado — the state’s smallest town in both geographic size and population (8, I think). The historic Tower of Jewels still stands as it looked when the park opened in 1908.

Colorado brewer Adolph Zang and his partners built the park on the shores of Lake Rhoda outside the bounds of the City of Denver to avoid the city’s restrictive liquor laws, and incorporated the tiny town to protect it from being annexed by Denver and bound by its blue laws in the future.

When it opened in 1908, the park was covered in over 100,000 lights, and in the 1930s it was renovated as a new group of investors took it over. The renovations in the 1930s included the art deco elements and thousands of feet of neon tubing that adorn the rides and buildings to this day. Some of the oldest buildings still have hundreds or thousands of individual bulbs on them to this day.

Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Mechanicals detail on Whip ride. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
The Hammer up high. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Mechanicals on The Hammer ride. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Tower of Lights. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
(Daniel J. Schneider)Sunset across Lake Rhoda.
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Just After Sunset on Lake Rhoda. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Merry-Go-Round sign. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Merry-Go-Round building. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Cyclone Roller Coaster sign. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Cyclone Roller Coaster facade. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Cyclone Roller Coaster zipping by. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Satellite ride sign. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Sports Cars sign. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Tilt-a-Whirl sign. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Rock-O-Plane sign. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Wild Chipmunk car in action. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Scrambler ride and sign. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Game operator sets the brake (at the Scrambler). (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Redit mean ‘Return’ (old exit). (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Tango sign. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Skoota Boats sign. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Half Moon visible through Skoota Boats sign. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Art Deco ticket booth. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Neon-Lighted pavilion. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Whip ride. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Ferris Wheel sign and ride. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Hurricane sign. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Autoskooter (bumper cars) sign. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Round Up ride in action. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Autoskooter sign detail. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Colorado's Lakeside Amusement Park in glorious monchrome
Whip sign. (Daniel J. Schneider)
  • Are the signs remakes or originals? These are incredible, btw.

    • With the exception of repairs, yes they are original. Not to the park — neon wasn’t used for signs until something like 1917 and didn’t get that popular until the early 30s. But the park went through a lot of changes after becoming Lakeside (originally it was White City), and as new rides and attractions were developed through the years. Of course it has changed rather little since about 1950, apparently. Thank you.

    • Aside from repairs, they are original to those rides. The neon signs mostly date to the 20s-40s in the park’s heyday, though. Older sections used numerous little bulbs strung in a line (like the “Tango” sign). So, they are as original as Raygun Gothic gets, really. And thanks, I had a blast shooting these.