From the bloom of Easter to the brown of October, covering the entire vacation period of the year, Vinewood Park is of more interest to the residents of Topeka than any other locality within or about the city. It is Topeka’s playground, pleasure resort, breathing place, picnic spot and outdoor home.
When summer comes it is the exclusive few who can migrate to the Atlantic coast, to the lakes of the north, or the mountains of the west; hence it is the mission of Vinewood Park to do for the many what the more distant resorts do for the few, by offering to the public the varied delights of a modern, roomy, convenient and comfortable outing-place, with the added benefits of an invigorating trolley-ride, healthful exercise and rational amusement. It’s advantages appeal not only to Topeka but to the inhabitants of other cities and towns within a radius of 100 miles of the Kansas capital.
Vinewood is a natural park comprising 80 acres of forest and meadow, with Deer Creek as it’s central and most charming feature. The stream meanders in a devious and picturesque way through the woodland and affords excellent facilities for boating and other aquatic sports. Rustic bridges and gravel walks connect the several divisions of the park, orderly sequence and artistic effect being observed in the grouping. The general appearance of the park is that of a tiny principality in the woods, a strange little city clothed in rustling green, and bedecked in flowers of every hue. In daytime it presents new bewilderments to Alice in Wonderland, and at night, in the glare of thousands of electric lights, it becomes a fairy domain such as Peter Pan saw in the gardens of Kensington.
From every standpoint the park is a source of true delight to the younger element of Topeka’s population, who have come to regard it with more than a mute affection, and even those of larger growth and more mature years acknowledge and testify to the refreshing influences of Vinewood. As the succeeding pictures will show, the park embraces all of the standard attractions of a first-class summer resort. In the fore-
ground are the circle swing, the figure "eight" Toboggan, shooting gallery, fun factory and other alluring inventions. A miniature steam railway encircles the eastern end of the park, making round trips upon a popular schedule.
Across the main bridge, in the opulent shade of oak and elm, stands the merry-go-round. It is one of the largest, safest and most ornamental in the country. Here the little folks can race and romp at will, or enjoy a ride on their favorite steed to the accompaniment of a tuneful waltz or two-step. For those who do not relish equestrianism in this form, there are swinging cars with seats “built for two,” in which to exemplify the familiar maxim: “One can bear trouble alone, it takes two to be glad.” The enclosure is something more than a merry-go-round--it is a rest room for tired humanity, combining the comfort of a rocking-chair with the charms of a cool breeze, beautiful scenery and entrancing melodies.
Near by is the station from which the “Hale Tours” are conducted, giving the passenger all the excitement of a rapid railroad journey over rugged mountains, through shadowy tunnels, across peaceful valleys and past shimmering lakes, then over the sea to the most celebrated show-places of foreign climes--a whole half-hour of travel and adventure, every moment crowded with interest from the cry of “all aboard” to the final toot of the locomotive and the brakeman’s reassuring call of “Vinewood Park.”
The penny arcade is another of the favorite diversions, occupying a substantial building in which the visitor may find the maximum of amusement at the minimum of cost.
In the western part of the grounds a permanent theater has been erecting, in which entertainments of a popular nature are provided during the season. In the same vicinity are the picnic grounds, occupying a verdant slope extending to the bank of the creek and back to a wooded hill, sightly in all it’s environment. The grove is well supplied with tables and benches and has all the advantages of light, air, room and shade. for afternoon and early evening pleasure. This has proved to be one of the most attractive of all the park privileges, and is daily utilized by Sunday-school gatherings, family reunions, basket parties, excursions and other assemblages.
On the south side of the creek, away from the confusion of the principal attractions, is the dancing pavilion, a commodious and well-appointed structure, open on all sides, which also serves the purpose of an auditorium when entertainments other than dancing are scheduled. It is provided with a stage and band-shell, and regular performances are given at intervals throughout the season. The most famous bands and concert companies in the world have appeared here, and it is the aim of the management to furnish at all times the best music that can be obtained.
A neat and spacious dining hall is maintained near the auditorium, where regular meals and delicacies of the season are served with attention and bounty. Dinner parties can be arranged for any time, or suitable lunches procured. There are other refreshment stands at convenient points in the grounds. No intoxicants are permitted to be sold or used within the park, this rule being rigidly enforced by special police officers.
For the benefit of those who like vigorous exercise the lawn affords every facility for tennis, croquet and other athletic games. The park is designed to accommodate every taste in the matter of sane recreation and harmless amusement, and the management will continue to exert every effort to increase it’s attractions and popularity.
There is abundant water of good quality, a force of accommodating attendants, plenty of seats, swings, arbors, package rooms and other accessories, and every care is exercised in promoting cleanliness in every respect.
At the main entrance to the park the Topeka Railway company has erected a substantial and imposing station, with time saving and care-taking appliances for loading and unloading trains, and the large cars employed by the company in it’s Vinewood service insure safety, comfort and promptness.
Click Vinewood Map to Enlarge
Below: Hale’s tours offers short movie travelogues photographed from moving trains but exhibited with some novel patented effects. As the “train” got under way, a locomotive’s bell and whistle sound off. When the movie indicated the “train” was going around a curve, the “coach” actually swayed, producing a sensation that thrilled the kids aboard but frequently sent adults, nauseated, scurrying for the exit and terra firma.