Connecticut January 09, 2019
These 17 Photos Show You Connecticut’s Oldest Amusement Park Like You’ve Never Seen It Before
Lake Compounce is the oldest continuously-running amusement park in the United States. Located in Bristol, Connecticut, it originally opened as a picnic park in 1846. This year, the popular destination will celebrate its 173rd birthday and as the decades have passed, this amusement park sure has changed! These fascinating old photos of Lake Compounce show the attraction in its earlier years.
1. In its humble beginnings, the lake was the main draw at this attraction. Picniking, swimming, boat rides, and concerts engaged visitors at Lake Compounce.
2. The Casino, constructed in 1898, was the first permanent building on the property. Public transportation by trolley to the park began the same year.
3. The carousel, one of the early amusement rides at Lake Compounce, opened to the public on Memorial Day of 1911.
4. The Green Dragon, an electric powered roller coaster, opened for its first public rides in 1914.
5. The Green Dragon was replaced by the Wild Cat, a wooden coaster built in 1927 by Philadelphia Toboggan Company. You can still enjoy this historic thrill ride today.
6. In 1929, a Chris Craft was purchased to give park goers an exhilarating ride around the lake. The cost of a boat tour was 15 cents. In 1962, speedboats replaced the Chris Craft.
7. Lake Compounce became a thriving destination with the lake at its hub. Musical performances were frequent and added to the jolly atmosphere.
8. In the 1930s, the Casino ballroom was expanded. An enormous dance floor without walls was added so visitors could dance under the stars. A high arched ceiling and windowed walls were added in 1937.
9. In the 1940s and 50s, the Bathing Beach was a popular place for swimming. This was long before the waterpark was built at Lake Compounce.
10. The amusements at Lake Compounce consumed just a fraction of the space that they do today.
11. More amusements were added to the park over the years such as a miniature golf course and fun house.
12. The midway was much smaller than it is today but no less crowded on weekends.
13. The park also had its games of skill and chance where you could win prizes.
14. As the decades marched forward, more and more amusement rides were added to the park. Many of them geared towards young children.
15. Each new ride was opened with ceremony and to the delight of kids and adults alike. Even an amusement as timeless as bumper cars looked much different during earlier times.
16. Many of the nostalgic rides have since been removed to make way for thrill rides and the largest waterpark in the state.
17. Although Lake Compounce is now a sprawling amusement park with more rides than you can imagine, the lake itself, the Wild Cat coaster, and the fun-seeking park goers remain constant.
What are your earliest memories of Lake Compounce? Share your experiences and photos if you have them in the comments section below! If you enjoyed these old photos of Lake Compounce, take a look at
these vintage pictures taken during the construction of the Merritt Parkway.