Homepage Beginning Location First Rides 1920.s 1930's 1940's 1950's
The Plan

Abe knew that to make Riverview the "Coney Island" of Iowa they must duplicate some of the most popular attractions of the actual Coney Island. He and the board of directors made sure that Riverview was to open with some of the same successful rides and attractions that Coney Island had.

They must have a large wooden roller coaster, a whip ride, a miniature train and railway, an old mill water ride, a fun house, a Carousel and a towering circle swing.

Besides several food and refreshment facilities, there would be picnic areas, canoeing, a dance hall, a roller skating rink and finally, like Coney Island, the essential bathing beach.

Finally on June fifteenth, 1915, the awaited day finally arrived after a one week delay due to weeks of steady rain and near flood conditions in Des Moines. Riverview opened and was an instant success.

Abe Frankle personally took the duties of managing the daily operation of the park in addition to being President of the Riverview Amusement Company. The elements for continued success were mostly in place. Riverview's very first patrons were greeted these by major attractions

A new wooden roller coaster, "The Jack Rabbit", designed by the famous coaster designer John Miller.

A unique swimming pool and beach with a stately bath house and two hundred and fifty thousand gallons of filtered water.

And a Dance Pavilion featuring Riverview's own band as well as famous guest bands and performers.

All this and much more located on a magnificently landscaped setting with covered promenades, flower gardens and an abundance of electrical decorative lighting throughout the entire park. The lighting of the park at night was a show in itself for the times.

Abe Frankle and the board of directors learned early on they had a tiger by the tail when concessionaires were standing in line to secure and lease a spot on the amusement park grounds. The board of directors took advantage the situation, allowing newly formed small business companies offering to build or place attractions at Riverview to secure leases.

The renters had to adhere to strict standards pertaining to keeping the park’s image of fun and wonderment as well as holding insurance and liability policies. Some of the board of directors became investors themselves personally in the individual concessions.


Zoo Lake

1915 Riverview Park

The Beach

The Double Whirl

1915 Miniature Train

The climb up the hill...

Building The Jack Rabbit Coaster - 1915