This article is taken from the June 2013 "Tales and Trails" newsletter
While viewing the Lancaster County Citizen newspaper, I came across this article in a May 1922 edition. Orlando Florida may have a much more impressive playground with Disney World, but in 1922 the Capital Beach Playground was the talk of the town. Imagine an admission charge of 10 cents and if you wanted to swim, another 10 cents. i know that West O is a bit out of our territory, but for years this was the place to be on a hot summer day. And those of us of a certain age can remember Kings Ballroom, the place to be on a Saturday night. Several items caught my eye--one being "There will be no war tax on admission this year", and the other, that evidently the American Legion had a band. Enjoy.
THE PLAYGROUND OF THE MIDDLE WEST CAPITAL BEACH SOON TO OPEN FOR SEASON
Out here on the prairies a lake is a rare thing. But Lancaster county has a lake that is quite large. This body of water, just west of Lincoln, has been a gathering place and source of pleasure for the people of this territory for many years. The old Indian tribes came here in the old time days. Some of their braves and one of their famous chiefs are buried near Capital Beach lake. Mr. Buckstaff laid out the park here years ago. The present owners, Messrs. Sharp and Ferguson, have developed it into a most beautiful and modern amusement park.
When Capital Beach opens May 14, it will be a new Capital Beach to Lincoln pleasure seekers. For two months a small army of men has been at work remodeling buildings inside and out, installing an entirely new electric lighting system, planting trees, setting up new amusement devices, installing a complete sewer system, building a new dock at the boat landing and working out new landscape gardening affects.
While the cash admission will remain at 10 cents, regular patrons will have the advantage of a 3-cent admission charge by buying books of fifty coupons at $1.50 per book. Also there will be no war tax on admission this year.
A carload, of approximately fifty, of new steel boats have been purchased. Electric pumps have been installed which will increase the depth of the water in the lake two and one half feet.
The bathing pool has been re-cemented and improvements made in the dressing rooms and lockers. The price of admission to the bathing pool will be 10 cents, plus a small extra charge for towels and suits.
Nearly three hundred carloads of cinders and gravel have been dumped on the drive from the West "O" road to the entrance of the park, and will be rolled and packed, making practically a paved roadway the entire distance from Lincoln.
Probably the greatest change has been wrought in the dancing pavilion, the interior of which has been completely remodeled. The capacity has been increased and music will be furnished by two of Lincoln's best union orchestras, the Beach having been removed from the "unfair" list.
Decorations in the interior of the dance pavilion are of white enameled lattice work with flowering vines and potted plants. In both paint and lighting decorations the new colors are orange, green and red against a white background, giving the whole scene a real carnival effect.
The Nebraska State Band and the American Legion band will alternate in furnishing music and some of the very best vaudeville acts from the east have been booked.
A new refrigeration system for the ice cream and soft drink stands has been installed and ice water will be available for patrons. There is a new junior "carousel" or merry-go-round for the little tots. It is 16 feet across and has some novelties in the way of gaily painted riding devices.
A new building has been added to Vanity Fair. Dinty Moore's, the theatre, the shooting gallery and several other buildings as well as the stands, have been remodeled and refurnished.
A contract has been awarded to Chapin Bros. florist, for the landscape gardening and care of flowers and shrubs. Heretofore that work has been in the hands of more or less inexperienced employees of the park.
For the benefit of picnic parties, no admission will be charged until after 5 p.m. except on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
May 14 has been set as the tentative date for opening the park, but it may be changed one way or the other on account of weather conditions.