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
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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