Parks part 1
Let’s talk about the amusement park located at Highland Park.
Highland Park was the place to go it was located around the area where the lake is between Crescent and Westwood. ( now Campbell Lake )
The gentlemen of the Jackson Suburban Railway Co.developed an amusement park for the citizens of the area. The park had a skating rink, a refreshment parlor called the “Poplar Bear”, a baseball field named Gorman’s Fieldm it hosted baseball games from teams around the area. There was a bridge that lead to a band pavilion where concerts were held on Sunday night. Boats were available to rent for the gentlemen to paddle their ladies around the lake. There was also a roller coaster for all to enjoy. Can you imagine a Sunday afternoon with a family enjoying a picnic or a Sunday night with music filling the air. There was also a theater for local production and traveling actors.
The park was there from the 1890’s until the early 1900’s. Then the land became a residential area for the growing City of Jackson.
Sam Lancaster 1857-1937
Sam moved to Jackson with his family at age 6. His family went through hard times but he was still able to attend one year of college. Then he continued his education on the job working in the Engineering Dept. of the City of Jackson. Durning his time in Jackson he oversaw the improvements of the streets and roads in Madison Co. Another accomplishment was Lancaster Park even though by profession he was an engineer his love was landscaping. In 1906 he left Jackson to make a name for himself improving the roadways across the country.
In 1891 Clifton and Sarah Dancy deeded 86.15 acres to the newly formed Jackson Fair Association . (The value of the land $4304.50 in 1891) located south of Magnolia to the Forked Deer River.
In 1895 the Fair Association hit a rough time and had to closedown. In the meantime Samuel Lanscaster spear headed a group of Jackson Citizens to create a park located behind the
“Well” ( water works) located on South Royal north of the Fairgrounds. It was not long north of Magnolia Street behind the water works he had created a beautiful landscaped garden surrounding a figure-eight goldfish pond. There were spaces to picnic, benches to relax and walking trails.
Samuel formed a group of town leaders .The group held a fundraiser “fair” on the Court square. The group was led by a group of ladies to make sure the entertainment was family acceptable. They raised almost $4000.00.
It was not long Samuel had option on 50 acres of Fairground land. South of Magnolia on fairground land he created a small zoo and a bandstand where families and couples could enjoy the concerts. There were refreshments stands with popcorn, ice cream and other foods to be enjoyed for a price. Then there was the large lake on the South side of Magnolia that went all the way to Forked Deer River. Closer to Magnolia was an area roped off in the lake for swimming complete with a sandy beach. Then on the east side of the of the lake there was a pier and row boats to rent. Many a young lady was romanced while being rowed around the lake.
Around the East and South of the lake can you imagine how many fish were caught.
On Sunday in the warmer months some of the local churches would use the southern more private park of the lake for baptisms.
East of the lake was the old Fairgrounds which came back to life in 1908.
Can you imagine people boarding a streetcar on Main Street riding down Royal to the park for a day of fun.
Then the park was gone.