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Random Terrain's Lakeside Lament

A mini-tribute to Lakeside Amusement Park (Salem, Virginia).

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The first amusement park that I (Duane Alan Hahn) ever visited was Lakeside Amusement Park in Salem, Virginia, near Roanoke. Of the various amusement parks I've visited over the years, Lakeside was my favorite. All of my best memories revolve around that one place. I even lived behind Lakeside from November 1970 to March 1971 when I was a little kid.


I thought Lakeside would always be there, but a few years after I moved away, it was gone. Does anyone have a time machine? If you have any Lakeside pictures, pamphlets, or videos from the 1960s until the 1980s when it closed, please let me know and I'll add them to this page. And I don't care if your photos are faded. Please scan them in and upload them to a place like Flickr or Facebook, then please let me know about them. I have Paint Shop Pro, so I might be able to restore them somewhat.





Lakeside Videos

Here is a video of the Shooting Star from swampfoxer at YouTube. I wish it had more shots of the park, but this is a great start:




Here is a video from cgoffpoet at YouTube. It's not very long, but it does show clips of various rides including the Spider, Cloud 9, and Flight Thru Space:




Below is a video from jjwheeler1 at YouTube:




Cresimore Home Movies - Chapter 9 from James Cresimore at YouTube. The Lakeside part is from 0:38 to 1:03. Be sure to check out the cement lion drinking fountain:




This video shows Lakeside Amusement Park circa 1961 with the Beasleys from TBCSTARS at YouTube:




Lakeside Amusement Park footage from the WDBJ7 archive:



If you have a video of Lakeside Amusement Park (Salem, Virginia), please upload it to YouTube and let me know about it so I can embed your video on this page. And remember, don't worry about the quality of your film or video. Every scrap of footage from Lakeside is precious. It doesn't matter if it's faded or the camera was shaky. Thanks for your help.





Lakeside: 65 Years of Thrills & Chills
by Mary Hill

The following 1996 article is used with permission from the Guide to Historic Salem, published by the Salem Museum & Historical Society. If you like the article, please send all praise to the Guide to Historic Salem since I didn't write it (Mary Hill did).


Seventy-six years ago, a cool breeze swept through the Roanoke Valley. Something new, something rare and magnificent, had arrived.


Country folk called it "a concrete lake;" marketers hailed it as "the world's largest swimming pool;" for years, it has been fondly remembered by young and old alike as "Lakeside."


On a Saturday morning in July, 1920, at the grounds of an apple orchard just outside Salem, a man-made "lake" 300 feet long and 125 feet wide was pumped full of water and opened to the public. People flocked from miles around in hopes of finding some relief from the summer heat, some camaraderie with friends and neighbors, possibly some tid-bit to gossip about.


The Salem Times Register reported upon Lakeside's opening that "thousands of visitors journeyed to Conehurst, about one mile east of the corporate limits of Salem and took their initial swim of the season in what is said to be one of the largest inland lakes in the United States.... [S]treet cars from Salem and Roanoke were filled to overflowing all the afternoon and far into the evening with pleasure-seekers. The main road running past the Lakeside Inn was almost completely blocked with automobiles for a distance of nearly half a mile on either side of the swimming pool."


Efforts were taken to create a lake-like effect at the poolincluding a boardwalk and "sand covered beach." A pump which could furnish the "lake" with 20,000 gallons of water every hour was used to "guarantee a fresh and continuous supply of water." Every modern convenience was introduced: electric lights illuminated the entire grounds; a spacious pavilion hosted a soda fountain, news stand, restaurant, and cloak rooms; and male and female bath houses were equipped with individual dressing compartments, lockers, and showers.


Such auspicious beginnings marked the dawn of 65 years of family entertainment in the heart of southwestern Virginia. The success of the pool soon generated a novel attraction: in 1923, Lakeside erected a wooden rollercoaster.


Known at various points as "The Thriller," "The Mountain Speedway," and "The Wildcat," Lakeside's first rollercoaster was a welcome addition. Eight thousand people braved its spine-tingling track in its first yeara number which increased steadily in its 40-some years of peaks and descents.


Roger Roberts, whose family owned Lakeside at one time, especially remembers one of those descents. In a newspaper interview several years ago, Roberts recalled a woman approaching him about her missing husband: "[She] said that her husband was on the [rollercoaster] when it started, but he wasn't on when it came back. She wanted to know where her husband was. After a little searching we found him hanging from one of the guide beams. He was drunk and he'd fallen out around a curve."


Mark and Holly Woodruff, on the other hand, intimately remember the ups as well as the downs of the rollercoaster which replaced the "Wildcat" in 1968. The young cousins rode the 4,000-plus feet of Lakeside's "Shooting Star" (claimed to be the largest in the world) 50 consecutive times in July, 1972. "We wanted to see if we could break a record," said 11-year-old Holly at the time. "We didn't know what the old record was but we thought 50 times would be enough."


Through the years, Lakeside added a slew of rides and attractionsincluding "Lindy" planes, the mini-train, the Whip, the Peanut, the carousel, a skating rink, the outdoor movie theater, bumper cars, the Spider, a game arcade, the Avalanche, the scrambler, and the music pavilion and dance hall. It seems everyone had a favorite: one was scarier, one faster, one brought luck, one brought love....


Fascinationan over-grown mechanical tic-tac-toe gameholds particular... well, fascination for one local family. Sonja Smith, who ran the game in the mid-1970s, would regularly sabotage the machine so that Danny Kane, who worked in the park's maintenance department, would have to come fix it for her. Sonja didn't break the game for spite. In fact, she was motivated by quite a different emotion: she wanted to see Danny more often. This year, Sonja and Danny celebrate their 20th anniversary.


World War II era newspaper advertisements reveal two drawbacks to life at Lakeside: drunkenness and segregation. Although drunkenness continued in some form or another up to the park's last days, segregation ended at Lakesideat least in one respectin 1964. While the park was integrated, Lakeside's swimming pool was converted into a "private club" for whites only; soon after, the pool closed altogether and was filled in to make more park space.


In all likelihood, Lakeside would have continued attracting customers, scaring them witless, and taking them for a ride for years to come, had not a series of misfortunes befallen the park. In the early 1980s, new owners found themselves in tax trouble and were forced to sell Lakeside to Mountain Park, Inc. The company spruced up the park with fresh paint, landscaping, fountains, games, rides, and more. All these efforts at rejuvenation, however, were quickly laid to waste when a devastating flood surged through the park in 1985.


Lakeside was left in shambles. The rollercoaster, bumper cars, skeet ball machines, miniature golf course, train tracks, arcade, and pavilion were all damaged or destroyed. Still, the company decided to recoup what they could, and modify the rest. The rollercoaster was repaired; the bumper cars and skeet ball machines were replaced; construction of a 250-seat theater to host professional marionette shows had been initiated; and a Treasure Islandwith animals, giant family swings, and mazeswas in the works. There were even plans for several major rides to be added before the park re-opened in the spring of 1986.


That was when real tragedy struck. As crews were sprucing up the park for the summer crowd, a worker cutting weeds around the rollercoaster was hit and killed by a car of the Shooting Star during a test run.


The flood damage, coupled with a $1 million lawsuit issued by the family of the victim, and waning park attendance, was enough to force the owners' hand. On October 19, 1986, Lakeside Amusement Park closed for good.


A year later, a North Carolina park bought the rollercoaster and some of Lakeside's biggest rides. The dream that local enthusiasts could one day make a pilgrimage down to Emerald Point water park in Greensboro to take yet another turn on the Shooting Star, another spin on the Tilt-a-Whirl, however, was short-lived. Emerald Point had its own financial woes; it closed in 1991, before ever re-erecting the Roanoke Valley's Shooting Star. And "the largest rollercoaster in the world" was eventually sold as scrap wood to someone with plans to build a storage barn and bridge.


The land that once boasted amusements and extravaganzas of epic proportions was converted in 1988 into the Lakeside shopping mall.


It's hard to find someone who lived in the Roanoke Valley prior to 1986 who doesn't have some special recollection of Lakeside. The park has spawned generations of tall tales and summertime remembranceswhether it's losing your lunch on the Tilt-a-Whirl or finding a husband at the Fascination game. Although bigger, more elaborate amusement parks were springing up all over Virginia, Lakeside was, to its very last days, a place for fun and memoriesa place the Roanoke Valley could depend on for a little relief from the harsh summer heat, a little camaraderie with neighbors and friends, and a little bit of gossip for the weeks to come.












In Case You Didn't Know


Trump's Jab = Bad

Did you know that Trump's rushed experimental rona jab has less than one percent overall benefit? It also has many possible horrible side effects. Some brainwashed rona jab cultists claim that there are no victims of the jab, but person after person will post what the jab did to them or a family member on web sites such as Facebook and Twitter and they'll be lucky if they don't get banned soon after. Posting the truth is “misinformation” don't you know. Awakened sheep might turn into lions, so powerful people will do just about anything to keep the sheep from waking up.


Check out these videos:

Best of Sped Up and Edited Tennessee House of Representatives Health Subcommittee Hearing Room 2 (March 1, 2022)

Full Video of Tennessee House of Representatives Health Subcommittee Hearing Room 2 (The Doctors Start Talking at 33:28)



H Word and I Word = Good

Take a look at my page called The H Word and Beyond. You might also want to look at my page called Zinc and Quercetin. My sister and I have been taking those two supplements since summer of 2020 in the hopes that they would scare away the flu and other viruses (or at least make them less severe).



B Vitamins = Good

Some people appear to have a mental illness because they have a vitamin B deficiency. For example, the wife of a guy I used to chat with online had severe mood swings which seemed to be caused by food allergies or intolerances. She would became irrational, obnoxious, throw tantrums, and generally act like she had a mental illness. The horrid behavior stopped after she started taking a vitamin B complex. I've been taking #ad Jarrow B-Right for many years. It makes me much easier to live with.



Soy = Bad

Unfermented soy is bad! “When she stopped eating soy, the mental problems went away.” Fermented soy doesn't bother me, but the various versions of unfermented soy (soy flour, soybean oil, and so on) that are used in all kinds of products these days causes a negative mental health reaction in me that a vitamin B complex can't tame. The sinister encroachment of soy has made the careful reading of ingredients a necessity.



Wheat = Bad

If you are overweight, have type II diabetes, or are worried about the condition of your heart, check out the videos by Ken D Berry, William Davis, and Ivor Cummins. It seems that most people should avoid wheat, not just those who have a wheat allergy or celiac disease. Check out these books: #ad Undoctored, #ad Wheat Belly, and #ad Eat Rich, Live Long.



Negative Ions = Good

Negative ions are good for us. You might want to avoid positive ion generators and ozone generators. Whenever I need a new air cleaner (with negative ion generator), I buy it from A plain old air cleaner is better than nothing, but one that produces negative ions makes the air in a room fresher and easier for me to breathe. It also helps to brighten my mood.



Litterbugs = Bad

Never litter. Toss it in the trash or take it home. Do not throw it on the ground. Also remember that good people clean up after themselves at home, out in public, at a campsite and so on. Leave it better than you found it.



Climate Change Cash Grab = Bad

Seems like more people than ever finally care about water, land, and air pollution, but the climate change cash grab scam is designed to put more of your money into the bank accounts of greedy politicians. Those power-hungry schemers try to trick us with bad data and lies about overpopulation while pretending to be caring do-gooders. Trying to eliminate pollution is a good thing, but the carbon footprint of the average law-abiding human right now is actually making the planet greener instead of killing it.


Watch these two YouTube videos for more information:

CO2 is Greening The Earth

The Climate Agenda


Lakeside Pages



Lakeside Roller Coaster

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Lakeside Shooting Star

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Lakeside Tickets

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Lakeside Rides

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Lakeside Ride and Arcade

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View this page and any external web sites at your own risk. I am not responsible for any possible spiritual, emotional, physical, financial or any other damage to you, your friends, family, ancestors, or descendants in the past, present, or future, living or dead, in this dimension or any other.


If reading this page opens a time vortex back to a similar timeline when Lakeside was still open, the good news is that I've heard there are infinite timelines and you can't do any damage to the timeline you came from. The bad news is that you can't return to your original timeline in the future, so enter the time vortex at your own risk.


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