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Fontaine Ferry Park

Fontaine Ferry Park was Louisville, Kentucky's premier amusement park and recreation center from 1905 to 1969. According to The Encyclopedia of Louisville, it was made up of 64 acres and had more than 50 rides and attractions.

Often referred to as "Fountain Ferry," the park was named after Aaron Fontaine, a ferryman. Fontaine is thought to have been promoted to the rank of Captain after his service in the Virginia militia during the Revolutionary War. After settling in Louisville, he aquired a ferry across the Ohio River to Indiana, which was subsequently named in his honor. The park evolved from this estate.

Fontaine Ferry Park was located on the Ohio River, at the west end of Market Street. Its entrance once stood at 230 Southwestern Parkway.

The park's wooden roller coasters were favorites among patrons. It had four in its history: the Scenic Railway, the Racing Derby, the Velvet Racer, and finally the Comet, which featured a 90-foot drop and a 3,800-foot track.

Among other popular rides were The Scooters, the Rocket, and a hand-carved 1910 Dentzel carousel.

Many famous people graced Fontaine Ferry's multiple stages, including Will Rogers, Fred Astaire, Louis Armstrong, the Tommy Doresey Orchestra, and Frank Sinatra, to name a few.

After Fontaine Ferry Park closed in 1969, the property was renovated and revived as two short-lived parks: Ghost Town on the River and River Glen. The site was cleared by the city of Louisville in 1981.

Today the former site sits adjacent to Shawnee Park.

The Frazier International History Museum hosted a Fontaine Ferry Park exhibit in the summer of 2009. For details, watch our interview with Paddy DeGeorge, the Frazier's exhibits and programs coordinator.

Like this story? Then, you should check our our LL Etc. on White City Park.

Select footage of Fontaine Ferry Park seen in this Louisville Life segment is from FONTAINE FERRY PARK...A TIME OF INNOCENCE (1992), courtesy of Tim Young Productions.

A new DVD production, FONTAINE FERRY PARK...THE LOST FOOTAGE, was released July 29, 2009. The bulk of the footage has never been seen by the public. Mail orders are currently available through TYP Distributors, P.O. Box 745, New Albany IN 47151-0745.

Program 226
Memories of Louisville's Fontaine Ferry Park, the WHAS Crusade for Children, and sequicentennial celebrations for the Louisville Fire Department and the Ursuline Sisters. Plus, author Steve Wiser's predictions for Louisville in 2035. (#226)