EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The community was invited to celebrate the unveiling of a Michigan Historical Marker that designates Ramona Park as a historical site.
Ramona Park, also known as Ramona Resort, operated between 1886 and 1954. In its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s it welcomed thousands of visitors from all over to its amusement park and resort.
“They had the true amusement park rides: the merry-go-round, the roller coaster, the Ferris wheel, games of chance,” East Grand Rapids History Room curator Mary Dersch said of the resort. “They had cages with baby bears and monkeys.”
The 21-acre hot spot also included steamboat rides across Reed’s Lake, outdoor stages where Groucho Marx once performed and a ballpark that attracted the likes of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
“Where Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and the New York Yankees played exhibition games in the ’20s and ’30s,” Dersch said.
The park was owned by a transportation company, like Coney Island. Passengers would pay for their trolley ride to the park and then get free access to the resort itself.
But following World War II, the park fell into disrepair and was sold following a referendum vote in 1954.
“In favor of building the Garden Apartments, which is what you see on the west side of Reeds Lake, and also the shopping center where D&W is right now, that’s all where Ramona was, all in that area,” Dersch said.
The Michigan Historical Marker was unveiled at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the corner of Wealthy Street and Lakeside Drive.