It’s an honor to be featured in this month’s “Community Spotlight” section of the City of San Jose’s, District 3 Newsletter!
It turns out – quite a few people didn’t know about the origins of Luna Park, including the City Council!
Full text, here:
Kris Rowberry: The Lost Park of San Jose
“Great American Thrills” is a web video series that follows amusement park connoisseur, Kris Rowberry, as he hunts down the original sites and memories of Northern California’s 24 bygone amusement parks.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the history of the amusement parks I’ve visited,” said Rowberry. “This series is truly a journey back in time.”
Joining Rowberry on his journey is the Assistant Regional Representative for the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) Northern California, Nicholas Laschkewitsch. He also serves as the show’s cameraman and producer.
“One of ACE’s missions is to promote the importance of preservation of both roller coasters and amusement parks,” said Laschkewitsch. “I hope the ‘Lost Parks’ series will do just that.”
Through their research, done mostly the old fashioned way in the King Library, both Rowberry and Laschkewitsch have stumbled upon countless, incredible stories about Luna Park.
“To find out that San Jose, not San Francisco, had the first pro baseball team in the Bay Area was a real shock,” said Rowberry. “Luna was built as an entertainment complex – amusement park and baseball stadium. It puts the whole territorial rights issue today in a whole new light. Plus, from the descriptions, it sounds like it was theplace to be for fireworks on the 4th of July.”
So how did he come across such an obscure piece of San Jose’s history?
“It honestly just came as inspiration driving through the Luna Park Business District and seeing all the banners,” said Rowberry. When I saw the carousel horse on one of them, I knew there had to be an amusement park here at some point. That’s the real impetus for wanting to highlight this park – well that and I lived in San Jose for nearly 26 years and never knew about it.”
Thank you Kris for bringing back the memory of Luna Park and a piece San Jose history!
Learn about Luna Park for yourself, here:
If you haven’t already, check out our preview for the second installment of the “Lost Parks of Northern California.”
Do you know the way to San Jose – and it’s first amusement park?