Eastwood Park - Eastpointe MI

Address: 8 Mile Rd and Gratiot
City: Eastpointe
State: MI
Zip: 48021
County: Macomb
Number of visits to this page: 38102
Disclaimer:

Please note that location entries may feature older photos or post card views that may not represent the current appearance or features of the attraction. This site is intended to be a historical as well as current record of various attractions but it is not always possible to have up-to-date information due to the vast number of locations featured here. We ask you consult the propietor for current information.

General Information:

From Hour Detroit

Technically, it was known as Eastwood Amusement Park, but nearly everyone called it Eastwood Park, or just Eastwood. Even the words scrawled across its portal announced simply “Eastwood Park.”

The amusement was a given. These gleeful youngsters certainly seem amused on a ride at Eastwood, at the northeast corner of Eight Mile Road and Gratiot in what was once known as East Detroit but since 1992 has been Eastpointe. Easily accessible by streetcar from Gratiot in Detroit, Eastwood Park, which opened in 1926, had much more to offer than rides. There was also a large swimming pool, a roller rink, picnic grounds, a fun house, and a large ballroom called Eastwood Gardens, where big-band buffs danced to the strains of Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, and Glenn Miller.

But Eastwood wasn’t all fun and games. In 1936, a fire killed three visitors at a concession dubbed “The Jungle.” In 1943, shortly before racial violence flared up in the Detroit race riots, the East Detroit police were called to the park to quell fighting between groups of blacks and whites. After World War II, as once-sparsely populated East Detroit was beginning to flower into a full-fledged suburb, its growing populace objected to the noise and trash produced by the park, not to mention the gambling infractions.

Objections raised by East Detroit Mayor Mildred Stark and others did not fall on deaf ears, and the park lost its license to continue operations. Its owners appealed all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court to no avail. Although the ballroom, skating rink, and swimming pool operated for a few more years, the lifeblood of the park was gone. By the early 1950s, Eastwood — including, most noticeably, its amusements — was dismantled.

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Info Updates:
7/9/2014 - Catherine
My fond memory from Eastwood Amusement was when I was about 15 and went there with my 17 year old boyfriend. There was a man there who had a large scale and if he guessed your weight incorrectly you won a skinny colorful wooden cane. I mostly remember my weight at the time and it was 111 pounds. I won a cane but I think he purposely guessed wrong since I didn't have a souvenir from my visit. Makes me smile to think of it. I also went with a girlfriend, who was a teenage model for Kerns, and they took photos of us and other teenagers on the roller coaster. That does not make me smile.
8/12/2013 - Marion Hotvedt
I remember taking the Streetcar to the end of the line, I was about 9 or 10, at that time my Father was doing the sign work and painting the posters and banners for the park. I would go often and ride all the rides, I can remember one particular experience. They had a coin operated machine that had something to do with how much electricity you could stand (I think) anyway I put either a penny or nickel in the slot and OH Boy, I couldn't let go and what a shot of electricity I got. Never played with any more machines after that. What a wonderful era, you could go anywhere and be safe. I rode the streetcars and buses into my teens, back and forth to work at Harper Hospital where I worked part time and went to school (High School of Commerce) for $. 50 cents an hour. At that time the DMC was only a dream. I remember filling in for the Assistant Director's Secretary Nancy (Mr. Rourke). Life was so simple and innocent.
7/12/2010 - Bryan Strauss
My grandfather's band played at Eastwood in the World's Fair Ballroom on Saturday July 11, 1948. I have a hand-written reciept by Henry Wagner given to my grandfather for his services. My grandfather's band was 'Jimmy Strauss and his Orchestra'. He played in the 40's all around town. I'm just now trying to research everything I can about it!! After his days playing Big Band music, he settled in Elkhart, Indiana where he opened at very successful bakery business.
8/9/2009 - Jo Seymour
This is in response to Richard Siegel's entry. I have been trying for a long time to locate the family or descendents of Henry Wagner and Max Kerner. I have many fond memories of summers spent at Eastwood Park. My father designed and built the swimming pool at Eastwood Park. He built many such large pools up and down the east coast during that period. My mom and dad met and were married in NYC. Around 1941 we came to Detroit to visit my mom's mother who had moved here from the family home in Pennsylvania, and we ended up staying. By that time my Dad had given up his design and construction business.
Henry Wagner asked him if he wanted to run the swimming pool during the summers and of course he agreed. My dad, mom, and brothers were all competitive swimmers and my dad held the world long distance record . His name was Capt. J.N. Seymour, Jr. Everyone called him "Cap."
He put on big aquatic shows each year, with fireworks, high divers, the works. Henry Wagner and Max Kerner treated us like family. In 1949 my dad hired me to work the bathhouse counter during the summer. We would come every day to the pool from our home near Wayne University, taking the streetcar. My dad knew everyone that worked in the park and when I was younger, I met everyone there. The Ballroom attracted the BIg Bands of the 40's. The Fun House was the best! This was my childhood playground. Mr. Siegel, was there also a "Nate" Kerner? I recall that name and also Maxie Rosenbloom. We spent time at Edgewater Park also, and Jefferson Beach. Although the official reason for closing the park was alleged illegal gamblilng, the real reason was something quite different. I would love to know more about what your family did after the park closed. Those were fabulous years and I have very fond memories of the owners.
8/7/2009 - Richard Siegel
My grandfather Max Kerner and my grandmother Flora Kerner owned the park with my uncle Henry Wagner and his wife my grandmothers sister Ann Wagner it had the largest open air dance hall in the world during the 1940ites era. Glen Miller willed his golf clubs to my grandfather. My father Bernard Siegel met Maryln monroe there when she was a starlet. my family owned all five of the amusement parks in the detroit area at that time. my grandfather was kidnapped for ransome. My son Austin got it wrong my other grandfather was Max Siegel he owned Siegels department stores. The park was closed down because of gambling then today gambling is legal.and also in time there were houses built near bye where the people complained about the noice level.
7/4/2009 - TL
When my uncle, Ben York was in his early 20's he was the pool attendant at Eastwood park (1930's). My Aunt Marie (nee LaFaive his wife) used to spend a lot of time at the park, probably to keep an eye on her handsome husband. One day while sitting at the pool she struck up a conversation with a woman. Turns out her husband was performing at the park.

The woman's husband was Danny Thomas. Mrs. Thomas spent a number of afternoons with my aunt while Danny was performing at the park and they became friends. Eventually my uncle and aunt moved to Florida, 1940's. My uncle was involved with the Olympic swim team and died in the 1980's, but whenever Danny Thomas was performing in Florida he always sent tickets to my aunt to attend the show.
12/29/2007 - Robert A. Louwers
Thank you for this opportunity to add this to your collection.

My name is Robert A. Louwers. I am 82 years old, soon to be 83. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan.

Here is my story about Eastwood Park.

My brother needed lumber to build a porch. I went with him to Eastwood Park to buy lumber because they were tearing down the park in the spring of 1952.
They were going to charge us $100 dollars for the lumber that we needed.
This was too much money for us to spend.

They said we could take the whole bingo hall for $300 dollars, but we had to clean it down to the ground. We said we would take it. Now we had enough
wood to build my brother Donald's porch. (age 25).

The contractor now came to us to see if we wanted to buy the dance hall.
I counted over 250 2x8's underneath the building. It was five stories high.We used most of this wood to build a duplex for my brother in law, Marion and my family. This cost $350 dollars. Marion and I were 27 years old at the time.

The tear down took over 6 months, cleaning and sorting of the used lumber took another 6 months. After using this wood, 14,000 bricks, and much hard work and labor, the duplex was finished in 2.5 years, and we moved into the house in 1955. To this day, it still stands strong, with white pine 2'x12' lumber floor joists.
4/12/2007 - Joe Juresich
I remember Eastwood park well. We lived near by on Edmore. I had a paper route on Carlisle, The first street south of Eight Mile, from 46 to 49. I had a membership to the swimming pool. An uncle took me there for my 6th birthday and we rode the coaster. I've been hooked ever since. That was a White Castle across Gratiot. I think it is still there. When White Castle had the 5 for 25 cents coupon in the paper, I would start out my paper route by going to the White Castle first and get five sliders.
3/26/2007 - Austin Siegel
My great grandpa Max Siegel owned the place for a while. My parents tell me it had the biggest dance hall in the US. I think it was shutdown for the gambling troubles it had. I wish I had more photos of it.
11/26/2006 - Ken Giorlando
My Great Grandfather, John Robertshaw, built the Roller Coaster from Eastwood Park. It was originally built in Electric Park in Detroit but, when closed, was taken apart and relocated to Eastwood Park.
9/16/2006 - Del Jackson
When I was growing up in Port Huron during the late 30s and early 40s, my buddies, brothers and I use to hitch hike to Eastwood Park to ride the roller coaster. I also got my first tattoo at Eastwood Park. Also hitch hiked to see the Detroit Riots. Still drive thru this area when I vacation in Port Huron. We always stopped at White Tower for hamburgers. It was on the opposite side of Gratiot. Do any of you Senior Citizens remember White Tower? P.S. I also won a live rabbit at Eastwood Park, took him home and he lived for sometime.
4/6/2006 - Tom Seller
To make it even more frighteningly attractive, the roller coaster at Eastwood was said to have been "condemned" by city and other officials....Of course, it wasnt but that belief made it more thrilling to ride it. Ed.C.Weyn: The date of the riots you refer to is 1943, not 1945.
 Photos:20
Eastwood Park - OLD PHOTO FROM WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
OLD PHOTO FROM WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
Eastwood Park - OLD PHOTO FROM WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
OLD PHOTO FROM WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
Eastwood Park - BOBS ROLLERCOASTER EASTWOOD PARK 1952 FROM NICK SAGE
BOBS ROLLERCOASTER EASTWOOD PARK 1952 FROM NICK SAGE
Eastwood Park - BOBS ROLLERCOASTER EASTWOOD PARK 1952 STRT CAR ON GRATIOT FROM NICK SAGE
BOBS ROLLERCOASTER EASTWOOD PARK 1952 STRT CAR ON GRATIOT FROM NICK SAGE
Eastwood Park - EASTWOOD PARK 1952 2 FROM NICK SAGE
EASTWOOD PARK 1952 2 FROM NICK SAGE
Eastwood Park - EASTWOOD PARK 1952 FROM NICK SAGE
EASTWOOD PARK 1952 FROM NICK SAGE
Eastwood Park - UNDER CONSTRUCTION
UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Eastwood Park - PENNANT
PENNANT
Eastwood Park - NEWS AD
NEWS AD
Eastwood Park - OLD NEWS AD
OLD NEWS AD
Eastwood Park - THAT CORNER NOW
THAT CORNER NOW
Eastwood Park - FROM NICK SAGE
FROM NICK SAGE
Eastwood Park - FROM NICK SAGE
FROM NICK SAGE
Eastwood Park - FROM NICK SAGE
FROM NICK SAGE
Eastwood Park - FROM NICK SAGE
FROM NICK SAGE
Eastwood Park - DANCE HALL
DANCE HALL
Eastwood Park - ROSIE SHIRLEY BARBARA FROM MARIANA KOPACZ
ROSIE SHIRLEY BARBARA FROM MARIANA KOPACZ
Eastwood Park - ALL THE PARKS OPENING UP APRIL 11 1948
ALL THE PARKS OPENING UP APRIL 11 1948
Eastwood Park - MAY 11 1942 AD
MAY 11 1942 AD
Eastwood Park - OPENING AD APRIL 11 1948
OPENING AD APRIL 11 1948
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