ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)— It began as a beer garden in 1896 but did so poorly it was hastily reborn as an amusement park called the Forest Park Highlands.
"An amusement park in those days was not to be confused with Disneyland or Six Flags. The amusement park had everything from slightly risque vaudeville acts to movie houses to dance halls to places where people really engaged in behaviors that in other parts of the community would be a little less than acceptable." said Dr. Robert Archibald.
At a time when men wore coats and ties to watch a baseball game the Forest Park Highlands was a place where you could dress down and loosen up.
But like a its roller coaster the Highland's popularity went up and down as well.
"Forest Park Highlands changed a lot in the 1920's because by then people had access to things like movie theaters and automobiles. Automobiles allowed people to go to all kinds of different places instead of taking the trolley over to Forest Park Highlands on a Saturday afternoon." said Dr. Robert Archibald.
At the end of World War II its popularity peaked and then steadily declined. A devastating fire finally finished her off.
The Highlands was located where Forest Park community college sits today. Just west of there where the arena used to sit is a new development called, the Highlands At Forest Park. It features an office building with a wavy roof line. It is an homage to the roller coaster and the park that gave so many so many thrills.