Robison Park

Robison Park advertisement

Advertisement from page 112 in The Griswold-Phelps handbook and guide to Fort Wayne, Indiana, for 1913-1914 by Griswold, B. J. (Bert Joseph), 1873-1927, Publication date 1913 on

Robison Park — Most celebrated amusement park in Indiana; owned by Ft. W. & Nor. Ind. Trac. Co.; 7 mi. n. of Ft. Wayne. Take Robison Park car at Transfer Corner. Double-track suburban line skirts bank of St. Joseph river. Fare paid on any city line entitles passenger to transfer to park line at Transfer Corner. However, additional fare is collected after car leaves city limits. Special park tickets are purchasable on all city lines; ask conductor. Park is situated on St. Joseph river, contains 240 acres in forest and beautiful landscape gardening. Features: Ivy-covered bell tower and reservoir for park water supply; refreshment and dining pavilion, dancing pavilion, gravel walks leading across rustic bridge to picnic grounds, theatre, bandstands, bowling alleys, dining hall, shoot-the-chutes, pony track, merry-go-round, circle swing, "blue streak," completely equipped children's playground, etc. In another section is the athletic field, with half-mile track, amphitheatre, etc. Picnic grounds provided with permanent tables, benches and conveniences. Throughout the season, Robison park is the scene of many great assemblages. Much attention is given to the children. Conducted on a high plane; no liquor sold. Season, May to September. C. H. Williams, manager.

From page 93 in The Griswold-Phelps handbook and guide to Fort Wayne, Indiana, for 1913-1914 by Griswold, B. J. (Bert Joseph), 1873-1927, Publication date 1913 on

Robison Park posted March 22, 2021 by Friends of the Rivers on YouTube.

SI Neg. 2004-31701. Date: na...A. Roy Knabenshueʼs Airship in Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1905...Credit: unknown (Smithsonian Institution)
A. Roy Knabenshue Collection at the National Air and Space Museum Smithsonian.
This image was posted February 6, 2024 by Internet Archive admin-jeff-sharpe and discussed on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook .

Robison Park, 1896-1919 (1956) by Roy M. Bates, 1964, Reprinted from Old Fort news, v. 29, no. 2-3, June-Sept. 1956 by permission of the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society on

Admission was Free! Trolley rides cost 20 cents. Opening day was July 4, 1896 with 35,000 people packing every trolley car going to the park on a 30-40 minute ride into the undeveloped country side north of Fort Wayne. It once stood in what is now the North Pointe Woods subdivision along the St. Joseph River across the river from the Riverbend Golf Course on St. Joe Road. The North Pointe Woods clubhouse has a nice collection of artifacts including pictures from Robison Park. There is a marker at 8202 Riveroak Drive. The Daredevils, a roller coaster, 900 seat playhouse for vaudeville acts, dancing, popular water ride "shoot-the-chute," all drew conventions and group tours from Chicago, Indianapolis and Detroit. "In 1897, he (Louis Heilbroner) brought Edison's new "Projectorscope" to Fort Wayne and began regular movie showings. Huge Independence Day and Labor Day picnics were organized, and on German Day, 10,000 people came for a singing competition." The park died when automobiles became popular and closed in 1919. The Cyclone roller coaster was taken to West Swinney Park the following year where it thrived for another 25 years.

  1. Robison Park search results in the Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library.
  2. William Clark drowning July 26, 1896 in the St. Joe River at Robison Park

    December 31, 2023 post by Irishtown Neighborhood on Facebook:

    This is a funeral that was held at in the summer of 1896 at 305/5 Brandriff, the unidentified home in a previous post.

    See our Irishtown section.

    305/5 Brandriff Wm Clark Funeral

    Article from Jul 30, 1896 Fort Wayne Weekly Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana)

    January 2, 2024 post showed a photo of the house at 305 Brandriff St, or 5 Brandriff St before 1902 with the newspaper article.

    A November 10, 2023 post showed just the photo of the house Brandriff Street 1915.

  3. August 12, 2013 post by the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook

    Randy Harter

    Thomas Newton: The attached map was drawn by local Robison Park Historian Casey Drudge. Unfortunately, much of the park is now housing addition and so off limits to the public. Also deceiving is the layout of the park in relation to the river as a dam was just below the park at the turn of the century, and so the areas that were then water are not necessarily today. For anyone wanting more information on the park, I would suggest picking up a copy of the Old Fort News, Volume 63 at the History Center gift shop. This 32 page publication has many photos and this map, devoted to the history of the park was written by Casey Drudge. Casey used to give guided hiking tours of what was left of the park (some foundations, etc.), but I am unsure if he still does.

    — with David Krill.

  4. April 26, 2016 post by the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook :


    1905 - Robinson Park to Open May 28 - Many New Features

    Article from Apr 30, 1905 The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana)

    1905 - Robinson Park to Open May 28 - Many New Features The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Sunday, April 30, 1905, Page 19

  5. After only 20 years at Robison Park, their now over one-hundred-plus-year-old handcarved masterpiece G.A. Dentzel Menagerie Carrousel was relocated to Spencer Park in Logansport, Indiana and was one of only three still surviving in the world in 2012.
    1. Carousel History at the Cass County Dentzel Carousel web page.
    2. Cass County Carousel at Visit Cass County.
    3. Cass County Dentzel Carousel at National Carousel Association.
    4. Cass County Dentzel Carousel on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia .
    5. Dentzel Carousel at The Historical Marker Datatbase
    6. Spencer Park Dentzel Carousel at National Historic Landmarks Program on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
  6. August 21, 2023 post by the City of Logansport, Indiana on Facebook:

    This week Cass County Dentzel Carousel will be the Charity Roadblock on August 25 & 26 at the intersection of Broadway & 6th Streets. Good Luck!

    Cass County Dentzel Carousel is a National Historic Landmark.

    Everyone loves to catch the Golden Ring and win a free ride! Every ride has many silver rings, but only one gold ring!

    The hand carved 43 animal "Gustav Dentzel" Carousel was brought to Logansport in 1919 from Fort Wayne, Indiana, by a private owner. While the history of the Logansport animals are traced to 1902, much evidence exists to date the animals to 1885. It is probable, then, that some of the animal carvings are over 115 years old.

  7. Robison Park amused thrill seekers by Carol Tannehill in the 1900-1909: THE ERA OF OPTIMISMinCityscapes from the Archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  8. In Trolley whisked thrill-seekers to park by Michael Hawfield June 20, 1994 he wrote about Robison Park, now in theCityscapes from the Archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  9. August 13, 2013 post by the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.

    Randy Harter

    Robison Park. The Main Pavilion was quite a building as you can see. It contained a large ballroom and an enormous German made Welte Orchestrion. Besides being an organ, it also had mechanical drums, cymbals, etc., and cost the then magnificent sum in 1896 of $9,400.00... Harter Postcard Collection ACPL

  10. No photo description available.

    June 15, 2014 post by Steve Ditlinger on Facebook:

    I finally made the short hike into the woods *almost* to the site of Robison Park. Here are the remnants of the trolley car bridge over Swift Creek and into the site of the former Robison Park.

  11. November 19, 2012 post on the the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook:

    May 16, 1896 Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Where was Swift park?

  12. January 12, 2013 post on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook shows a Ft. Wayne & Wabash Valley Traction Co. ticket.

    Elaine D'Archangel:

    Here is a ticket for a ride that I have. Cant find the bus "lol"

  13. Blue Streak roller coaster, built in 1912, A Blast From The Past - Robison Park's Blue Streak on June 3, 2010
  14. November 12, 2015 post by The History Center on Facebook:

    #TBT "First Musicians Outing" at Robison Park, c. 1915.

  15. June 19, 2017 post by Allen County Public Library on Facebook:

    Did you know that we used to have an amusement park in Fort Wayne? Check out this aerial shot of some of the roller coasters in the bottom half of the photo.

  16. Robison Park 1896 – 1919
    By Randy Harter
    Fort Wayne Reader

    Randy Harter imageConstruction of the 486 mile-long Wabash & Erie Canal also gave rise to the construction of Robison Park. Due to breaks in the canal, evaporation, and other water loss reasons, the waterway at a number of points along its path had to have a controlled source of additional water. Therefore, feeder canals were integrated into the canal design. One of these was here in Fort Wayne, and ran from downtown (about two blocks behind Paula’s where the feeder joined with the main canal) off West Main to six miles north of the city on the St. Joseph River where a lock tender regulated the water sent to the main canal. It was at this river location that a large dam, approximately 230 foot long and 17-foot high, was built across the St. Joe causing it to back up creating a lake and lagoons behind it. The next closest feeder canals to Fort Wayne were to the east, near Antwerp, OH and to the west, near Lagro.

    While the main canal (1843-1876) was closed by the time Robison Park was built, the deep backed up river behind the dam with the high bluffs along the river in that area made a natural location for an amusement park. The area the park occupied is the back-half of today’s North Pointe Woods housing addition (off North Clinton), which would have then also made the park directly across the river from today’s Riverbend Golf Course on St. Joe Road. In fact, most of today’s Riverbend Golf Course, due to the dam, was at the time under 10 feet of water.

    The park was developed by the Fort Wayne Consolidated Railway Company, which was also how it was accessed, via their trolley line from downtown. [ Fort. Wayne &; Northern Indiana Traction line owns Ft. Wayne city street railway system, and 7-mile rural line to Robison Park on page 63 in The Griswold-Phelps handbook and guide to Fort Wayne, Indiana, for 1913-1914 by Griswold, B. J. (Bert Joseph), 1873-1927, Publication date 1913 on ]

    They began laying the trolley tracks in early 1896 down Spy Run from Superior to Centlivre Brewery and then turning slightly right and adjacent to the old feeder canal down today’s Spy Run Extended and through Johnny Appleseed Park. They then crossed today’s Coliseum Blvd and followed the riverbank opposite Canterbury Green Apartments, behind Concordia Theological Seminary and on to a point just past where the dam stood.

    On opening day, July 4, 1896, an estimated 8,000 revelers road trolleys from downtown to the park and back for 20 cents, which included admission to the park and all its amusements.

    A book could be written about the comings, goings, events, parties, reunions, weddings, company picnics, entertainers, orators, amusements and other happenings that took place at Robison during its 24-year existence. But we’ll need to close with just listing some of the amusements that were located there: Miniature Railway Rides, a Carrousel (now in Logansport, IN), Bowling Alley, Circle Swing, Balloon ascensions, Dance Hall, Shoot the Chute Water Slide, Photography Studio, 100 Rowboats for rent, Naphtha Powered Launches, a Steamboat, Ice Cream Stand, Roller Coaster (the Blue Streak), Bicycle Race Track, Band Stand, Ferris Wheel, Enclosed Children’s Playground, Souvenir Shop, Wishing Well, Movie Theater, Main Pavilion with Ballroom and German Orchestrion, Baseball Diamond with Bleachers, Restaurant, Zoological Garden, Hall of Mirrors, Shooting Gallery, Pony Track, Picnic Groves and Fireworks.

    (Images courtesy Harter Postcard Collection@ACPL)

    A special tip of the hat to historian Case Drudge for the liberal use of his research.

    Randy Harter is a Fort Wayne historian, author and the architecture/history guide for .

  17. Robison Park and Wabash & Erie Canal Feeder Canal

    Map showing Robison Park in relation to the Wabash & Erie Canal Feeder Canal posted on Fort Wayne, IN: Wabash & Erie Feeder Canal on the Towns and Nature blog.


    The feeder canal is referenced as The St. Joseph Pathway and Becketts Run Trail follow alongside of it in places. in the blog CANAL ROUTES by Steve NewbauerPosted on October 17, 2022 on


    Robison Park: Then and Now! has historic and more recent photos showing what remains by Casey Drudge an archived website updated 08/21/2003 and The Remains of the St. Joseph Feeder Canal updated 05/27/02 which mentions Robison Park with lots of photos hosted on Geocities but not included when archived on These links with photos are archived on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.


    A January 21, 2024 post on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook has several photos of abutment remnants on Beckett's Run. One comment states: the county GIS maps have historical imagery from as far back as 1938 that show this whole area with the trolley line path and others in Robison park still intact!


    A January 24, 2024 post on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook by John Beatty of the The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indianahad a photo labeled: Dam in Fort Wayne asked for claification where it might be and it was decided it was a dam on the feeder canal at Robison Park.

    Dam in Fort Wayne
    A photo titled: Remnants of the Feeder Dam on the St. Joseph River, six miles from Fort Wayne, IN, 1925 shows wooden timbers in the river in the Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library.
  18. June 28, 2019 post on Robison Park by The History Center on Facebook:

    Summer is a time when families begin to seek out amusements. Long before people started making the trek to amusement parks in our neighboring states, the citizens of Fort Wayne took advantage of our local amusement park. The Fort Wayne Consolidated Railway Company established Robison Park as a way to increase its revenue by charging fares for the seven mile trip to the park, an extension of their trolley lines serving Fort Wayne. Originally known as Swift’s Park, the park formally opened to the public 123 years ago today, on June 28, 1896. Set in a rural landscape seven miles north of the city along the St. Joseph River, Robison Park featured lagoons for boating, landscaped picnic areas, and walkways for leisurely strolls. The impressive 110’ by 125’ three-story pavilion was the first major attraction at the site, a place to buy refreshments, socialize, dance and gather for scheduled events. Other attractions were added over the years such as Trier’s Dance Hall, amusement rides, a zoo, water slide, theater, bowling alley and a baseball field. In the late 1890s, 25 summer trolleys with open sides (or curtained as needed) were available to transport up to 1,200 people each hour if necessary. It became a popular summer venue for 23 years, closing for the final time at the end of the successful 1919 season. Today we celebrate the still often talked about Robison Park and the summer amusements that it afforded the people of Fort Wayne. #sociallyhistory

  19. Fort Wayne, IN: Canal Feeder Dam and Robison Amusement Park, 1896-1919 posted February 5, 2020 on Towns and Nature blog.
  20. June 1, 2022 post by The History Center on Facebook:

    The History Center proudly helped with the research and images for this story on Fort Wayne's first amusement park, Robison Park.


    Remembering Robison Park – the former Fort Wayne amusement park by Nathan Gidley posted May 31, 2022 on

    CBS WANE-TV NewsChannel 15.

    The story with many historical photos mentions a 30-page history by Casey Drudge called Robison A Fresh Look published in The History CenterOld Fort News in 2000 that is available for sale.

    Remembering Robison Park - the former Fort Wayne amusement park posted May 31, 2022 by WANE 15 News on YouTube
    Nathan Gidley remembers the amusement park that was once the premiere entertainment destination in Fort Wayne.

  21. August 30, 2023 post by 21Alive on Facebook:

    Ride along with Eric Olson into 21Country as he spotlights the old Robison Park and the Logansport Dentzel Carousel, only one of two of its kind left in the world!

    21Country: Old Robison Park & The Dentzel Carousel

  22. William and Lela Mason with children, Allen County, Indiana, circa 1907
    March 19, 2024 post with this The Indiana Album photo in the Bonnie Andrews Family Collection labeled: William and Lela Mason with children, Allen County, Indiana, circa 1907 William Spencer (1874-1952) and Lela (Spaulding) Mason (1882-1945) of Fort Wayne pose behind a cartoon cutout studio prop of a wagon with their children Lela Ruth (1904-1973) and William Allen (1907-1977). The wagon is hitched to a cartoon mule or donkey who is about to kick it with both hind feet. Handwritten on back "W.S. & Lela Mason & children Ruth & Allen" possibly taken at Robison Park on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook.

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