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Coventry in Tolland County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Lakeside Park

 
 
Lakeside Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, October 11, 2020
1. Lakeside Park Marker
Inscription.  

Lakeside Park was situated on the southeastern shore of Lake Wangumbaug in a lovely grove of chestnut trees. Paths were laid out leading to the many local beaches and picnic areas were available to all who came to enjoy the beauty of the lake. A sign greeted you as you entered, a Merry-Go-Round was there for all to enjoy.

The arrival of the Trolley on August 19, 1909 was a festive day for the Park.
Although already a favorite recreational spot, the installation of trolley service from Willimantic to Lakeside Park made Lake Wangumbaug an even more popular and accessible destination. The entire town celebrated with speeches, a band concert, dancing, picnics, boat rides, and fireworks. The trolley service was discontinued in 1926 to make way for the bus service and increasing automotive traffic.

The mill owners controlled the gate at Lake Wangumbaug which regulated the water level of Mill Brook. It is know controlled by the Town of Coventry and is housed in the small brick building located in front of you along the lakeshore.

The Lakeside Pavilion/Casino was built by Dan Killoury of
Lakeside Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, October 11, 2020
2. Lakeside Park Marker
Windham at the same time that the trolley line was being considered. It was a two story structure that collapsed on August 20, 1909, the day after the celebration of the arrival of the trolley. It housed a bowling alley and ice cream parlor on the first floor and a dance hall on the upper level. A second, one level, structure was built to replace the first building. Dances were held here to raise funds for the Catholic Church. During the 1930’s and early 1940’s big-name bands such as Sammy Kaye, on July1, 1938, and Jimmy Dorsey, on May 30, 1939, played at this location. Weekly bingo games were also held to raise funds for the church.

Yearly shows were put on by the vaudevillians and actors from the Actor’s Colony was a section of the lake that was settled by retired show business. Performers from vaudeville, radio and early television. In the 1980’s large town functions and dances were held to celebrate major events, such as the 275th Anniversary of the town and several Community Service Awards Balls sponsored the Rotary. Once again major bands were called upon to play in the casino.

Excursion boats were a very popular summer activity that originated at Lakeside Park. One of the four original was owned by L. Wadsworth and was named The Captain Nathan Hale. It carried about 12 passengers who were given a leisurely tour around Lake Wangumbaug. The boats that
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were powered by steam from coal and later gasoline. These excursions continued into the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Photographer Charles Coombs, turned numerous photographs into postcards of the lake activities. They are very collectible to this day and depict the summer lifestyle of the area residents. In the 1950’s the long building that you see became the Sholes Lakeside Casino and was advertised as New England’s largest summer roller skating rink. It continued as a roller rink until the late 1980’s when it became an office building and since 1990 has been a Flea Market.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EntertainmentParks & Recreational AreasRailroads & Streetcars.
 
Location. 41° 46.152′ N, 72° 18.352′ W. Marker is in Coventry, Connecticut, in Tolland County. Marker is at the intersection of Lake Street and Woodland Road, on the right when traveling north on Lake Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Coventry CT 06238, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Boynton’s Mill (a few steps from this marker); Warfield Pond (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Veterans 1861-1865 (about 500 feet away); South Coventry Village (about 500 feet away); Captain Nathan Hale Monument (about
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500 feet away); Nathan Hale Cemetery (about 600 feet away); Thomas H. Wood’s Silk Mill (about 600 feet away); E.A. Tracy Wool Extract and Shoddy Mill (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Coventry.
 
Also see . . .  History of Lakeside Park. (Submitted on January 24, 2021, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 26, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 24, 2021, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 35 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 24, 2021, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 1, 2021