Reed's Lake at Ramona Park, 1930s, courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Library

Ramona Park


We had an amusement park in Grand Rapids called Ramona Park. It was at the end of the streetcar line. It had an old theater, had all kinds of concessions. They had numerous little Coca Cola stands.  They had a roller coaster. They had all the things an amusement park had.  Through a friend of mine at South High I got a job working out there for Alex DeMar moving supplies from one eating place to another. I would work there Saturdays and Sundays. I forgot how much I made – probably $3 a day plus what I ate. But that friendship had a curious long history. I worked hard. Alex liked me. He was probably 15 years older, a leader in the Greek community.

   Gerald Ford





Ramona Park is fondly remembered by many in Grand Rapids. From the turn of the 20th century and for 10 years after World War II, the park offered visitors the thrill of bumper cars, roller skating, a fun house crowded with fake doors, rides on the Derby Racer rollercoaster, dance bands, sporting events, and more.


Reed's Lake at Ramona Park postcard, courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Library

One of the attractions occasionally offered was dancing by ladies in dress somewhat risqué for the post-Victorian mid-west.  The story is told that one summer day, when Jerry and his co-worker had a full day’s work before them, Jerry’s companion slipped off to watch the dance line, leaving Jerry to lug the crates of Coke and food to the drink and food stands.  When Mr. DeMar stopped by, he found Jerry sweating at his job and the other boy distracted by silk stockings and lace.  As some recall, Jerry’s shift of solo labor was completed without complaint.