[Bill Kooker]

This is the Frequently Asked Questions Section. We certainly encourage email questions about the park, but these may answer some of your questions now and save you from waiting for replies..I also would like to invite you to visit our Guest Book link on the homepage. Feel free to post your recollections in the Guest Book...or simply enjoy reading all the entries from our visitors here.
Thank You and Stay Well...
Bill Kooker


Q). Where was Riverview Park?

A). Riverview Park was located in Des Moines, Iowa just two blocks west of 6th Ave on Corning Ave.


Q). Who created Riverview?

[Abe]    [Earl]
Abe Frankle (left) and W. Earl Kooker (right) ......circa 1912


A). The park is the result of the dreams and efforts of Abe Frankle. His original concept was to style the park after the existing Coney Island of the early 1900's on the east coast. Forming the Riverview Amusement Company in 1914, he brought in several local business investors that included Joseph Muelhaupt, C.C. Taft, W.Earl Kooker and Frank Walrath. The initial preferred stock offering was for $50,000. Abe was president of the corporation and also assumed the role of General Manager of the park,

[stock]
Q). Why was the park closed and who closed it?

A). Owners put the aging park up for sale in 1978 in hopes that a group or entity would purchase and make the necessary investment to upgrade the park's declining condition, and then continue operations. The park had a strong draw still for small and large company picnics/outings and could offer exclusive use of the park to large companies for a reasonable cost.The new Adventureland theme park in the area could not offer the "exclusive" use of their major theme park and also could not offer a price meeting the needs of small companies with small budgets. Thus, Adventurland purchased the park in 1979 with the stated intent of operating the facility for company picnics and group functions as well as a discount park for the general public. Once the sale was final, they changed their minds and closed the park possibly to eliminate any conflict or reduction in attendance at Adventureland.


Q). What date did the park stop operating?

A). After the 1978 Season. At the end of this seasons last day, on Labor Day, the park was not sold and no one (including ourselves) had any idea it would never re-open again.


Q). What is on the land now ?

A). The Kiwanis of Des Moines have developed a very nice "nature island" on the site for youth groups and organizations alike to use for field trips and learning functions. Careful exploration of the island still reveals some reminants of the old amusement park in the form of ride foundations and footings.


Q). Who were the owners of Riverview?

A). At the time of sale, an investment entity associated with the Morton Bookey family of Des Moines. Prior to that, members of the Kooker and Bookey families were the sole stock owners. Many years prior there were multiple stock owners spawned from the original group of founders in 1915.


Q). What happened to all of the rides at the park when it closed?

Many rides that were in place over the years were retired due to drop in popularity or just plain age and safety issues. Some rides operating up to the date of closing were moved to Adventureland.


Q). Do you have a copy of the different layouts or even a Riverview map?

A). Unfortunately, no printed park map was ever saved personally by us and we had no access to the park records after Adventurland took possession of Riverview. We have put together a digital map of the park as it appeared just prior to closing on this web site's rides page. Click here to go to the page...[click]1977 Riverview Layout-
Also, a 1915 design plan can be viewed here...[click]1915 Construction Plans-


Q) How much did Adventureland pay for Riverview?

A). We're really not at liberty to say but it was a bargain Adventureland couldn't refuse.


Q) Are you upset with Adventureland?

A). Not really. They have developed a beautiful Park that is making new fun filled memories for people of all ages and that is what we were all about also.


Please direct all General Questions, Submissions, and Comments to
the web site authors




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