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Lakeview Park Royersford

The history and stories of Lakeview Park, Royersford and its final declone.

As another summer is upon us, it is hard to believe that the town's local amusement park is not only gone but that it was completely dismantled over 23 years ago.

Lakeview Amusement Park was located on Township Line Road just outside the borough of Royersford on a 40 acre tract that included the area where Kohl's and Marshall's now stand. The huge spring filled lake, from which the park got its name, has now been downsized to a small pond near 10th Avenue. 

The farm property was acquired by Benjamin P. Kern in 1900.  In those early years, family picnics and swimming were popular activities at the lake.  For a time the lake's primary use was the harvesting of ice.  In the winter months, Kern would cut large chunks of ice from the frozen lake and store them in an ice house.  He had a delivery route in Royersford where he delivered these blocks of ice to his customers.  Electric refrigerators would soon replace the ice boxes, however, and by 1920 the lake was used primarily for recreation.

As longtime locals tell it, Kern purchased a small motorboat to run on his lake in the summer months. People passing by would stop and stare at the little speedboat, which was something of a marvel prior to the 1920's.  Benjamin decided to offer power boat rides around the lake at 5 cents a trip.  This
attracted long lines of people, standing in his field on the weekends, eagerly
awaiting an exciting boat ride.

Kern soon realized the potential to develop his farm property into an amusement park by adding more rides.  In 1919 he purchased a 20 passenger boat to provide guests with a lake cruise.  As the park grew, organized groups would book the park for picnics and special events.  The largest annual picnic at Lakeview was
the Montgomery County Farmer's Picnic.

Kern continued to make improvements to Lakeview over the years.  In 1926 he had plans drawn up to erect an auditorium that measured 80 by 160 feet.  It would debut the following year.  A special Golden Anniversary, commemorating Royersford's 50th Anniversary was held there in 1929.

The lunch pavilion could handle 400 diners at once.  In 1933 an advertisement credited B. P. Kern as "the man whose vision and foresight transformed a farm into an ideal amusement park."

In 1937, a flyer in the local paper, declared that Benjamin M. Kern, son of the late B. P. Kern, would continue to operate the 40 plus acre Lakeview Park under the same high standards established by his father.

Attractions in operation at that time included the Carousel, the Whip, the Shooting Gallery and the Walking Charlie. The lake had offered a sand beach for swimmers and other activities advertised were baseball fields, tennis courts and a concert bandstand.

The 22nd annual Montgomery County Farmer's Picnic was held in August of 1941. This affair was sponsored by the Royersford Lion's Club and included a variety of events including cattle exhibits and steer throwings demonstrations.  Part of the two days entertainment included Harry Foster Welch, who was well known as the voice behind Popeye in radio and screen productions. Admission to the fair was 10 cents for adults and kids got in free.  Spectacular Fireworks on the last night was
always the highlight of the picnic.

In 1958, when our family moved to Spring City, I can remember going to the park and paying 25 cents to go swimming.  The sand beach went out about 6 feet and then it was mud and muck. The lake was definitely spring fed as you could stand in spots where the water was cold as ice as it came up from the springs below.  There weren't many people that used the facility for swimming during this period of time.  Swimming pools were now the place to go. 

In 1964 the park boasted 26 rides and on a Friday night $1.00 would buy you unlimited rides at the park.  A high slide for kids and an 18 hole miniature golf course for the family had also been added to their list of attractions.

Lakeview Amusement Park declined in the following years and the first major blow came in 1986 when the carousel was auctioned off.  It was built by the Allan Herschell Co. in 1916 and acquired by Lakeview in 1954.  They could no longer afford to maintain the ride and were forced to sell it.  Norton of Michigan handled the auction.

In August of 1991 Norton returned to Royersford to sell all of the remainder of the rides and amusement park items that remained.  Among the items offered was the Park Train, Bumper Cars, Wild Mouse, Zyklon Steel Coaster, Dark Ride, Twister, Scranbler, Alpine Sky Ride, Water Plume, Eli Ferris Wheel, Whip Tilt -a - Whirl, Roto-Jet.  Paddle Wheel Boats on the lake, a Little Dipper Coaster and several other smaller kiddie rides.  

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John Scioli June 18, 2012 at 02:10 AM
I just uploaded an old advertisement poster for Lakeview Amusement Park, check it out in the pictures, It can be seen in person at John's Old School New Skool Barber Shop at 546 Main Street in Schwenksville PA. It is only a hop skip and jump away from Royersford.
Dynamo47 June 18, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Thanks for an excellent story. I enjoyed reading it. As a child I remember going to Lakeview and seeing the big coaster let us kids know we had arrived. Little did I know that I would be living in the area someday. I kept telling my son that the shopping center used to be an amusement park and he couldn't believe it. Now I can let him read the article and see the photos.
Kathy Walley Landis June 18, 2012 at 08:33 PM
My late husband and I worked at the park selling cotton candy, peanuts, and popcorn. I remember as if it were yesterday. Oh by the way the fourth of July fireworks were great also.
wendy engle-lefebvre June 19, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Our family held a swim ticket every summer and went to Lakeview for the BF Goodrich picnic every summer. Many fond memories.
Michelle June 20, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Great post! I can remember my parents taking us to I think Genuardi's parking lot (now Amelia's) to watch the 4th of July fireworks. I also remember going to the park when we were little. I remember my brother, cousin, and I riding our bikes out to the park when they acquired a water slide. We spent like two hours going up and down that thing. Whoever put it together didn't do that great of a job because our elbow, knees, knuckles, you name it were all bleeding from the rough joints. (Of course not bad enough to get us to leave!) Rumor had it that this was the same water slide that broke apart down in Wildwood injuring quite a few people. Would love to see more pics of the park!
William C. Brunner June 20, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Michelle Thanks for your comments about Lakeview. I am glad that so many people took the time to read this article. I added a couple more photos for you that were left from my file.
mark d kessler June 20, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Its great to hear stories of the old park, I actually used to work there, I used to operate the scrambler, the kiddie rollercoaster and my last summer there I was in charge of renting out the paddle boats. I used to have a great time there, even then I couldn't believe that our little town actually had it'd own amusement park and I remember being sad and angry when they tore it down for yet another strip mall !
Joshua Lorenzo Newett June 27, 2012 at 09:44 AM
Greatings from the Republic of Korea Mr.Brunner, Great article! I enjoyed it almost as much as your books and the wonderful history presentation you put on at the historical society for my wife and I. Keep up the fantastic work sir! Cheers, Joshua Lorenzo Newett
Chris Zabaska June 27, 2012 at 11:16 AM
I worked at the park the last summer it was open, and. I had a great time working there as a teenager. It was sad to see it go but like everything else I guess it couldn't compete witht he larger theme parks like Dorney, and Hershey parks. Great job Bill on this article I enjoyed reading the history behind the park.
Kathy June 27, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Mr. Brunner - GREAT article on a gem of local history ! Lakeview was a true classic. For the Spring-Ford Historical Society archives, would you please consider adding the video segment from the 2012 Spring-Ford High School graduation ceremony of keynote speaker Andy Salamone ? He is the son of SFHS American Government/History teacher John Salamone. Andy, a SFHS alum and wrestler throughout high school and college, has never let his total blindness stand as an impediment to genuine character as well as personal and professional success. That graduation speech can be viewed on Spring-Ford's Ram Country TV link via the school district's website. Thanks to the SF Alumni Association and the SFHS staff for bringing in Salamone as the speaker. The 2012 graduates will remember his encouraging words for years to come.
Karen Moran June 28, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Great article! I grew up in Worcester and we used to go there as kids in the 1970's thru early 80's. Wild Mouse was my first rollercoaster. I remember how sad it was when we moved to Rofo in 1999 before Giant shopping center was built only to see the abandoned and overgrown park.
CHRIS ANSPACH June 30, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I have a coffee cup,with lakeview on it and T shirt LAKEVIEW on it. T SHIRT reads something like a thousand smiles at your door step. I swam in the lake, I have alot of fond mem-- worked to clean up after carnival etc. Liked THE wild mouse RIDE,and used to jump off and back on the ride in haunted house,and LOVED BUMPER CARS and TRAM ride,jumping down from the seat to the ground. FUN FUN FUN! PERIOD! CHRIS POOCHSPOCK@YAHOO.COM
Fauxy July 02, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Why did the township let them fill in the lake? That seems, so un-environmental....
Bonnie July 02, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Thank you for writing this article! It is wonderful! I remember my mom telling me stories about going there growing up. I wish it was still there so I could take my kids. The family was quite the visionary, huh?
George July 02, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Great article. Another long time favorite that went away around the same time was Wallaby Farms. This was a family treat to go get Ice Cream there and visit the milking parlor. It was out on Hopwood road. There is now a housing development on the property.
Michelle July 02, 2012 at 10:07 PM
As far as them filling in the lake, it seems to me that rumors were running rampant that the lake had become polluted either from motor boats in the lake or disposal of waste that seeped into the ground. That last photo that Mr. Brunner put up helps to clarify exactly how Giant and Kohl's is in comparison to how the park was laid out. Great flash back!
William C. Brunner July 05, 2012 at 11:28 PM
I was lucky enough this week to have purchased the original auction brochure from the Lakeview carousel sale. This 6 page phamplet that I found on E-Bay was loaded with color photos. I have added some to the current collection.
Sue K. July 08, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Thanks for the great article. I grew up in Spring City and my grandparents lived at the dead end on Church St in Royersford. We would go to their house every 4th of July to watch the fireworks that Lakeview Park put on. I also took swimming lessons from the Red Cross in the Lake, I can remember the fish rubbing against my legs to this day! Sometimes my sister, cousins and I would sneak into the park through the broken fence along Church St. I have a lot of fond memories of Lakeview Park. I wish there were more photos of the park.
Kathy Tshudy July 08, 2012 at 05:49 PM
We used to go there all the time...such good memories! My parents would never let us get on the wild mouse..LOL
William A. Szabo August 08, 2012 at 08:29 PM
AS a older teenager (16 &17) I would help run some of the games at the park. A Mr. Prishtash seem to own a half dozen of the games there and I knew his son in school and some of us were offered jobs working the games at night always on the weekends. Bill Szabo
Don Cantello October 19, 2012 at 06:52 AM
Hello i worked there in the early eight's when i was in high school i ran the bumper cars and a friend of mine rented the paddle boats. I also have some of the original lakeview puzzles still in plastic wrap if anyone is intersted in buying one. Email me at donald.cantello23@gmail.com if interested i still live local thank you.
Pamela Gates December 01, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Mr. Brunner, I met you at the historical society last week,My brother ans I came over to see the artifacts from the park. AS I read you post on Lakeview Amuusement park. I noticed there was a large gap in the years of 1960-1977. I was just a small toddler at the time, But I do recall it was the best years of the parks life,and mine as well . My whole family worked for Jim & Velma Vitable and His brother Jim, they were the owners of the park . their home was a little cap cod ajacent to the corner of the property on township line rd.My Father was the attendant at the gate,who collected the money handed out the tickets & guided the park guest to their private pavilion.Where their companys had sponcered a summer picnic for all of the employees.My Mother was the nurse, she patched up many a scrapes and ice bumps on children.My sisters were 10 years older than I , so they worked the resturant and prepared the clam bakes and chicked barbeques. Their were large concrete charcoal pits near the far right corner of the park,over the railroad tracks just passed the last pavillion. where my father and Uncle Allen of ALLENS VARIETY ROYERFORD. would double as cheif pit grill crews . Boy.I can still smell that chicken grillin ! My brothers I have 3, would run the rides , Wild Mouse, Bumper cars and Kiddie rides. Pam Gates
Pamela Gates December 01, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Cont. Pam Gates 1960-1977 As I grew up I was given small jobs in the resturant setting up cups and paper napkins plates,etc.when I was about 10-12 I worked the Swimming booth,handed out tickets and collected money, long before the paddle boats came along...while my sister chaparoned me. The park was always busy on friday nites. Saturday & Sundays were set and booked far in advance for large company picnics,Firestone, B.F. Goodrich ,J.C.Pennys, Gimbles,and many more ! Lakeview Amusement Park holds a hugh place in my heart, as it was a very special and happy place to grow up in the 60's-70's. I was supprised and saddened to learn later in the 80's that the rides were being dismantled and sold. I will always have fond memories of my childhood,being surrounded by the ponys on the carousel, sitting on the beach,listening to the music from the live bands, and the smells of barbeque in the distance.May you be blessed for bringing me joy seeing all of these pictures of my passed. Pam Gates & Ron Zeleski
Ruth January 02, 2013 at 02:23 PM
I live in a small town. It is starting to grow. The farming land has been turned into homes and stores. It is sad to see that popular attractions are being destroyed. Did you ever have out door theaters? We did and now it is gone. They did not keep it up. Please let me know when you are going to have more historical history. I love it.
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95RedDuc February 22, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Hi, Anybody remember the BMX races late 70's early 80's?
susan livingston February 24, 2013 at 06:19 PM
I had been searching for this amusement park's name for a few years, went there when i was in 8th grade on friday night my 2 brothers and I, our mom would drop us off the park was only a few miles from where I lived. it is such a fond memory of mine so sad to see that it is now the site of kohl's would love to see more pictures...sueliv77
Holly March 12, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Remember when companies would have company picnics for their employees and families? This is where my fathers company held theirs every year. I couldn't wait until I was old enough to work because I thought this was the coolest place. I got my first job here when I was 13yrs old and I loved bragging about it! Ahh, to be young again........
Bob Cauler June 15, 2013 at 04:00 AM
I remember going in the late 60's, early 70's..the Wild Mouse was my favorite. It was so rickety, and the upper turns seemed like you were going out into thin air when the car turned..great good fun.I remember for years after closing, the sign on the corner of Ridge pike and Townshipline Road(?)..it said "Lakeview Amusement Park", with an arrow pointing toward the park..you could see the old funhouse tunnel, weeds and saplings growing around it..I often wondered if I could have gotten permission to remove and take that sign..I hope someone got it, and it didn't end up in the landfill..thanks, Mr. Brunner..
MissStatement June 25, 2013 at 01:16 PM
My family went to this park numerous times in the late 70's/very early 80's, mostly for Knights of Columbus picnics. It seemed so far away from our home in East Norriton at the time. I live within a stone's throw of it now. I have very fond memories of the rides, especially the Alpine Sky Ride and the Whip(lash). I would love to see more pics.

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