Well, here we are on an icy Sunday afternoon…what to do? Oh! I can share some pictures of past ice storms and snowy times with you! It might just make you feel a little less frustrated about not being able to do the holiday chores on your things to do list. While collecting pictures to show at Christmas presentations and book signings, I “rediscovered” a Harry Stilson photograph of Idlewood Park in a four-day ice storm…hopefully not in our future!

Idlewood Park was a streetcar destination in the Byrd Park area. Horse show pavilion, vaudeville shows, even a casino and a “natatorium” (indoor swimming pool) were all enticements for Richmonders to ride to the end of the Boulevard streetcar route. I’m cloudy on the exact location but my father said it was “absorbed by the Downtown Express” and the Friends of William Byrd Park website has this reference: “In 1902, the privately-owned Idlewood Amusement Park was opened on land immediately adjacent to the lake, (Boat Lake) to the east and north. It attracted thrill-seekers with its Aquarama, merry-go-round, and Rathskellar (beer hall).”

Idlewood Park was pretty spectacular. Unfortunately, it crashed and burned in financial disarray and was eventually torn down to make way for residential development. Harry, however, preserved Idlewood Park for posterity in his photographs so here are a few:

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The caption Harry included says it all: “Idlewood Park, Richmond, Va, Sleetbound 4 days, Feb. 14 to 18, 1922”

 

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The picture above was labeled “Idlewood Park” but may have been considered part of Byrd Park in 1934. The sled is being pulled by my aunt, Norma “Kit” Lynch and holds my grandmother. The little girl in the box sled is my aunt Margaret and the other person is a Moseley, probably a neighbor. This is one of the images in our 2014 Richmond In Sight calendar, a great Christmas gift.

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Idlewood Lake ice skating

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Horse show winner at Idlewood Park

 

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Streetcar men taking a break in Idlewood Park

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