Lotus Isle

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Lotus Isle
Lotus Isle bumper cars.jpg
"Bulldog" bumper cars at Lotus Isle
LocationTomahawk Island, Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Coordinates45°36′39″N 122°40′26″W / 45.610945°N 122.673984°W / 45.610945; -122.673984
OwnerEdwin F. Platt
OpenedJune 28, 1930
Closed1932

Lotus Isle Amusement Park was an amusement park that operated from 1930 to 1932 on Tomahawk Island in Portland, Oregon.[1] Known as the "Wonderland of the Pacific Northwest", Lotus Isle was located just east of the more successful Jantzen Beach amusement park. Lotus Isle spread out over 128 acres (0.52 km2) and at the time was Portland's largest amusement park.[2]

History[edit]

Lotus Isle Amusement Park opened on June 28, 1930 after a group of investors realized the success of the nearby Jantzen Beach Amusement Park. At the time of its opening, Lotus Isle was the largest amusement park in Oregon. The park consisted of forty attractions including bumper cars, a rollercoaster, and a dance hall called the Peacock Ballroom.[3]

On August 28, 1930, an eleven-year-old boy drowned at the Lotus Isle beach after slipping from a ladder beneath the park's main diving board.[4] Edwin F. Platt, the park's owner, committed suicide the day after the drowning.[5] Platt "spent a fortune" in constructing Lotus Isle, which cost between $500,000 and $600,000. According to The Oregonian, finances were given consideration in the inquiry following Platt's death.[6] Business at the park had not been as brisk as its investors had hoped for, and it experienced "internal discord" such as the discharge of its manager, T. H. Eslick,[6] who later sued the park for violating the agreement whereby he was brought on as manager.[7]

For the following season, a promoter named Al Painter took over management of the park, and created a "Dance-A-Thon" event in the park's Peacock Ballroom, which held room for 6,600 dancers.[3] During this time, John Ringling sold Lotus Isle a temperamental bull elephant named "Tusko" who soon destroyed several pavilions after being spooked by a low-flying stunt plane.[8] The elephant, which had previously rampaged through Sedro-Wooley, Washington, eventually ended up in Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo.[3][9]

On August 24, 1931, almost a year after the drowning and Platt's suicide, the Peacock Ballroom burned to the ground.[3] The park operated once more in the 1932 season before going into bankruptcy, after which liquidation of the park property began.[2][10]

Attractions[edit]

  • "Whiz" - wood Roller Coaster
  • Alpine Scenic Railway
  • Bulldog Bumper Cars
  • 100-foot (30 m) neon Eiffel Tower sign at the entrance
  • 1914 Herschell-Spillman menagerie merry-go-round -- currently located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Developer envisions new splendor for once-popular Lotus Isle". The Oregonian. September 11, 1974. p. 27.
  2. ^ a b Dick Pintarich, ed. (2008). Great and Minor Moments in Oregon History. New Oregon Publishers. ISBN 978-0980243604.
  3. ^ a b c d Finn J. D. John (September 10, 2012). "Lotus Isle, Oregon's most surreal amusement park". Offbeat Oregon. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  4. ^ "Little Boy Drowns at Lotus Isle Beach". The Oregonian. August 29, 1930. p. 1.
  5. ^ "Head of Lotus Isle Shoots Self Fatally". The Oregonian. August 30, 1930. p. 1.
  6. ^ a b "Platt's Death Held Plain Suicide Case". The Oregonian. August 31, 1930. p. 14.
  7. ^ "Lotus Isle Men Sued". The Oregonian. August 31, 1930. p. 14.
  8. ^ "Lotus Isle". PdxHistory.com. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  9. ^ J. Kingston Pierce (February 22, 2003). "Tusko the elephant rampages through Sedro-Woolley on May 15, 1922". HistoryLink.org.
  10. ^ Josh Thomas. "Lotus Isle: Backfiring Bamboozle". Archived from the original on 2010-06-13.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°36′39″N 122°40′26″W / 45.610945°N 122.673984°W / 45.610945; -122.673984