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The Perfect Location

A couple of key situations were already in place that would assist Abe in bringing his dream to life.

First, the location. Now there was a ready made location in Des Moines that seemed ideal to Abe. It was located in Oak Park and right along the streetcar routes, with the Urbandale route actually terminating at this spot. This was the former Zoological Garden that was developed in the late 1880's by Leroy W. Mann in Des Moines on an island surrounded by the man-made Zoo Lakes.

Abandoned now, it had been a rustic setting with landscaped paths, picnic areas, canoeing, steam boat rides, refreshments and of course, a zoo that included lions, tigers and elephants within the gardens. It was a popular spot for family picnics and people seeking the recreation offered by the Gardens.

Second, the former Zoo land was controlled by the Consumer's Ice Company. In the winter months, Consumer's Ice Company, the major supplier of the city's ice needs, would cut blocks of ice from the Des Moines River and also from this Zoological Garden Lake.

Artesian springs would fill the excavated shallow Zoo lake area and freeze during the winter months. Artesian lakes provided a very clean and clear ice and the total lake of ice would be harvested every winter. Amazingly, this ice would be stored in warehouses and covered with saw dust and canvass that allowed it to stay frozen into the hot Iowa summers.

The most important side note to this is that the owner of Consumer Ice Company. Mr. Joseph Mulhaupt was very receptive to leasing the land to Abe for his Amusement Park location and he personally would be one of Abe Frankle's initial partners and investors in the grand plan. A big reason being that mechanical ice making was now possible and the ice company was wondering what do with the former zoo land and lake.

Riverview Amusement Company Inc. was formed and select individuals snapped up an initial preferred stock offering totaling fifty thousand dollars.


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Zoological Garden


1891 Zoological Garden Ad

Zoological Garden Concession


Lake side swan


Elephant at Zoological Garden


Harvesting ice


Original Design Plan for Riverview


Stock Certificate for Riverview Amusement Co.