The City of East Grand Rapids invites community members to the dedication and unveiling ceremony for a Michigan Historical Marker designating Ramona Park as a historical resort and amusement park Thursday, Sept. 21.
At 4:30 p.m., City officials and community members will gather for the official unveiling at the northwest corner of Wealthy Street and Lakeside Drive, near 2311 Wealthy St. SE in Gaslight Village. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28.
“We are thrilled to share this rich history with our community,” said Mary Dersch, curator of the East Grand Rapids History Room. “Many residents are unaware Ramona Park began as a resort for picnicking, partying, social events, band concerts and plays then grew into a full-fledged amusement park over the years – right here in what is now Gaslight Village.
“This marker will help preserve the memory of Ramona Park and allow community members to connect and learn for generations to come.”
Ramona Park operated from 1886-1954 and was established, owned and operated by the Grand Rapids Street Railway Company, which became the Grand Rapids Motor Coach Company and then evolved into The Rapid. The 21-acre amusement park bordered Wealthy Street, Lakeside Drive and Lovett Avenue SE at the end of the streetcar – and later bus – line to invite ridership.
From Memorial Day through Labor Day for nearly 70 years, millions of West Michiganders spent time on the west shore of Reeds Lake. The park featured a roller coaster, baseball diamond and other amenities for the public’s summertime enjoyment. After its last operating season in 1954, the land was sold to build apartments and a shopping center.
The historical marker project was made possible and funded by the East Grand Rapids History Room, the City of East Grand Rapids, the East Grand Rapids Community Foundation and the state of Michigan History Center.
To learn more about East Grand Rapids history, community members can visit the City of East Grand Rapids History Room, located on the upper level of the East Grand Rapids branch of the Kent District Library at 746 Lakeside Drive SE.