Lakeville Used To Be Home To An Amusement Park
After heading out to the Le Sueur County Fair last night to take advantage of the free sweet corn feed, I learned that there was a 'Doodlebug' train/tram that ran along the railroad tracks in the area. After going down that rabbit hole trying to learn more about this 'Doodlebug', I stumbled upon the fact that there was once a 40-acre amusement park on the shore of Lake Marion in Lakeville. The parks name, Antlers Park, still remains even if the dance pavilion, bathing beach, diving tower, and miniature train aren't.
It seemed like a spectacular place to visit as some accounts talk about "chandeliers" hanging in the dance pavilion according to the St. Louis Park Historical Society webpage. At night "a band played music out on the end of the dock." and "children had fun swimming in the clear lake" and "riding on the merry-go-round and Ferris Wheel."
The amusement park was actually built to attract riders to a short line railroad servicing the cities between Crystal and Northfield. It all began in 1908, when food magnate at the time, Marion W. Savage, who owned the International Stock Food Company, a mail-order supplier of animal feed, which attributed the famous horse Dan Patch's success on the track to eating the animal feed he sold. By 1910 the Dan Patch line had reached Northfield, and that year also signaled the building of Antlers Park on Lake Marion to attract more riders along the Dan Patch.
The last train arrived in Northfield on April 30, 1942, and the amusement park that was so attractive and vibrant was sold to the City of Lakeville in 1974.