Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v03n16)
White City Amusement Park at Broad Ripple: part three - by David G. Vanderstel and Connie Zeigler
posted: Aug. 11, 2006
An excerpt from In Pursuit of Leisure Time: The Development and Role of Amusement Parks in Indianapolis 1880s - 1970. A Research Report completed for a Project supported by an Indiana Heritage Research Grant, a joint program of the Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Humanities Council. Published December 1992
Broad Ripple After the Fire
Exactly what happened to the park after the fire is somewhat sketchy. Since White City's loss was not covered by insurance, the future of the park was in jeopardy. Whether owners Robert Light and W.H. Tabb seriously considered rebuilding the park is not known. The 250-foot wide and 500-foot long swimming pool, completed prior to the fire in 1908, continued to serve as the main core of the park, and opened to the public every summer. Three years later, on March 6, 1911, owners Light and Tabb sold the park to the Union Traction Company which operated the park for 11 years. 105 During that time, the company erected a new boathouse with an open-air dining hall (seating 500) where patrons could purchase chicken dinners for 50 cents. The owners also added a new 10,000-square foot dance hall, a Philippine milk depot, swings, and assorted playground equipment. Newspapers from 1911 mention the presence of a scenic railroad and a carousel, and the steamer "White City" which plied the nearby river. 106 Admission to the park remained free.
The pool remained a principal attraction of the park. In 1922, the National Swimming Event was held at the pool. Two years later, Broad Ripple sponsored the Olympic tryouts, at which time Johnny Weissmuller won the 100-meter freestyle qualification. Olympic qualifications were held at the pool again in 1952. 107 [According to a city report on leisure activities, swimmers paid 35 cents (if they furnished their own swim suits) to use the pool.] 108
The Broad Ripple Park swimming pool and two-story pavillion. The banner on the wall is for the national swimming championship.
image courtesy of Paul Harlan
end part three
References for Broad Ripple Park part three:
105 "History of Broad Ripple," p. 32.
106 "Quintano's Band Engaged for Season at Broad Ripple," Indianapolis Star, 21 May 1911, p. 33.
107 "History of Broad Ripple," p. 32.
108 Leisure of a People (1929), p. 501.