I remember asking my grandparents what they would do on the weekends when they were younger and they told me they would go to Riverside Park. In 1894 the Union Street Railway built the park to encourage people to ride the trolley on the weekends. The park was at Green Point on the Tittibawassee river in the south end of Saginaw. The park had boat rides, a roller skating rink, along with several amusement rides, a wooden roller coaster and a dance hall. In the 1930s they would have dance marathons until a 17 year old girl collapsed and died during one of the marathons putting and end to the competitions.
At the end of Maple street, along the river was a sandy beach and a club house that you could store or rent canoes to paddle along the river.
Inside the park, John L Hay, known as “Big Red” because of his red hair, had a hot dog stand and claimed he was the inventor of the hot dog. I could not find any other reference to say he was the inventor, but he was probably first to sell hot dogs in Saginaw.
There were also theaters and vaudeville acts to entertain the crowds along with the a couple of bicycle daredevils. I guess people enjoyed watching someone do crazy stuff back then, just like they do now. In 1905 a circle swing was installed with a 70 foot tower that would give riders the thrill of spinning around it.
The great depression took its toll on the park and it eventually closed in 1937 and sadly none of it remains.
Pure Saginaw and BEANS shirts are on sale this weekend you can order them HERE
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