Helen Boltz:  Forgotten Topeka

Vinewood Amusement Park

Vinewood Amusement Park, Lake Shawnee, Kansas

Vinewood Park in Topeka operated in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Helen's father, Alfred Tennyson Cross, worked at Vinewood in the late 1800s. By chance he married Ethel Moneypenny Cross whose family farmed Vinewood at the same time. Helen's daughter Liz writes, "I know that they had a lake with boats and I'm sure that there were other rides as well." The Park was operated by the Standard Operating Amusement Co. The park staff wore dark pants, white shirts and dark ties with white jackets and quasi porkpie hats with SOAC on the hats. Both the Amusement Park and Vinewood Farm were located on Deer Creek southwest of Topeka. Both sites are located at the foot of Shawnee Lake Dam.

Vinewood Staff

The handsome young man in the stripped pants [far left] is Helen's father, Alfred Tennyson Cross. The others from Left to Right are: AE Carter, Fictner, Mrs. Phelps, Harry Smith, unknown, Seifert, Mathews, unknown, Fred Merriman. The date on the back of the picture is 1905. A. T. Cross would have been 21. He came to Topeka with his family in 1895. Prior to working at Vinewood he worked at the Western Union Office.

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