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Summer Recreation

During the summer of 1902 Omahans enjoyed many hot weather activities at area parks and resorts. The July 27, 1902, Omaha World-Herald (on microfilm at the Nebraska State Historical Society) reported on the amusements available.

Musical programs for Lake Manawa, where attendance was said to increase with the rise of the thermometer, were listed. The diversions available at Krug Park were extensive: acrobatic acts by the Loretta family, Huster's Concert Band, balloon ascension and parachute leaps by Professor J. Waldorf Hall, a passion play, burro excursions, shooting court activities, and "a grand vivid production" of a volcanic eruption.

Courtland Beach was particularly popular for large Sunday school and church picnics. It also featured fishing, balloon ascensions, merry-go-round, concert music, acrobatic acts, bowling, and swimming. The World-Herald in its 1902 "Breezes from Courtland" article, included fashion notes:

"A picturesque and striking bathing costume on the beach yesterday was a blue taffeta silk skirt, the seams laced with white silk cord; a white silk shirt waist, blue collar and cuffs and blue hose with white toes and heels."

The July 27 newspaper advertised other less elaborate getaways. Sherman Park, "Omaha's new island resort," featuring dancing and refreshments, was reached by the excursion steamer Henrietta, which made three daily round trips from Omaha. Pries Lake, "Omaha's Delightful Outing Resort," advertised music, boating, and fishing. The lure that drew visitors was a well-wooded lake or river which could provide shade and a site for picnics and water sports. Then other attractions were often built.

(August 1996)



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