Kansas City's Coney Island: Electric Park

By Jackson County Historical Society

Electric Park was an amusement park in Kansas City, Missouri, that was constructed by Joseph Heim and his brothers Michael and Ferdinand Jr. Dubbed "Kansas City's Coney Island," Electric Park became the inspiration for Walt Disney's Disney World. 

Ferd Heim Brewery (1893-06-12/1893-06-17) by Geo. C. Hale and T. R. TinsleyJackson County Historical Society

In the 1890s, brothers Joseph, Michael, and Ferd Heim built the Heim Brewery in the East Bottoms of Kansas City. To attract more customers, they built a streetcar line from downtown to the brewery.

Heim Brewery Workers (1900/1900) by UnknownJackson County Historical Society

Heim Brewery workers.

Grand Opening (1900-05-26/1900-05-26) by Kansas City StarJackson County Historical Society

On June 3, 1900, the Heim Brother's opened Heim's Electric Park to entice people to use the streetcar line. Heim beer was also brought to the park via pipeline directly from the brewery.

Heim Brewery (1896/1907) by Sanborn Fire MapsJackson County Historical Society

Electric Park had two different locations during its history. The 1st park was located just north of the brewery at Rochester Ave. and Montgall Street from 1900-1906.

Monkey Cage (1905-09-09/1905-09-09) by I.L NortonJackson County Historical Society

The twelve acre site contained a theater, a grand water display, and a German Village. Animal displays were added in 1905, like the Monkey Cage portrayed in this vintage postcard.

1903 Flood (1903/1903) by UnknownJackson County Historical Society

The 1903 Flood seriously damaged Electric Park, and the Heim Brothers began searching for a second location.

Electric Park Map (1907/1907) by Tuttle & PikeJackson County Historical Society

The new site for Electric Park was located at 45th and Lydia (now Paseo Boulevard.) May 19th, 1907 was opening day for the new park.

Overview of Electric Park (1905/1915) by Max BernsteinJackson County Historical Society

The "New" Electric Park.

The Electric Swing (1909-08-05/1909-08-05) by Webb- Freyschlag Merc Co.Jackson County Historical Society

The circle swing was a new attraction in 1907. The first season it was used, there was an accident and the giant swing toppled over. Eight people were injured, and the swing was not rebuilt.

Beach (1913-05-24/1913-05-24) by Elite Post Card Co.Jackson County Historical Society

In 1912, the swimming beach was reconstructed, and continued to be the largest attraction until the park closed.

Diver (1920/1920) by Lawrence Moxie HanleyJackson County Historical Society

Swimmers and divers from the early 1920s.

Swimmers (1920/1920) by Lawrence Moxie HanleyJackson County Historical Society

Swimmers enjoy the "shoots" water slides in the early 1920s.

Electric Park Theater (1918/1918) by Electric Park Advertisement Co.Jackson County Historical Society

Numerous vaudevillians, bands, and attractions performed inside the Electric Park Theater. New acts were booked every season to keep people coming back.

Wonder Girl (1922-05-18/1922-05-18) by Strauss Peyton PhotographyJackson County Historical Society

Eugenia Dennis, the "Wonder Girl from Kansas," was one such attraction. Raised in Atchison, Kansas, Eugenia made the vaudeville circuits as a psychic. She came to Electric Park in 1923.

Electric Park (1923-05-28/1923-05-28) by Strauss Peyton PhotographyJackson County Historical Society

Vaudeville act from Electric Park.

Electric Park (1923-05-28/1923-05-28) by Strauss Peyton PhotographyJackson County Historical Society

Electric Park performer.

John Philip Sousa (1924-06-03/1924-06-03) by Strauss Peyton PhotographyJackson County Historical Society

John Philip Sousa also led band performances at Electric Park. He often remarked that the bandstand at Electric Park was the best in which his band had ever played.

Band Stand (1905/1915) by Acmegraph Co.Jackson County Historical Society

Flower Beds (1905/1915) by Max BernsteinJackson County Historical Society

By 1925, the rise of the automobile took it's toll on attendance to Electric Park. It was decided that 1925 would be the final season.

Night Scene (1913-08-12/1913-08-12) by S. H. Knox & Co.Jackson County Historical Society

Unfortunately, on May 26 1925, a fire swept through Electric Park, destroying everything except for the swimming beach, dance hall, and band pavilion. This was the final death blow to the park.

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