Laurelwood Park, Batavia, IL (1893-1910s)
The C&NW Railroad wanted to utilize its parked locomotive passenger trains on Sunday by taking recreation-starved Chicagoans to a day in the country. The railroad built a 2.2 mile extension from the mainline in Geneva down the east side of the Fox River to a 30-acre wooded site on River and Logan in 1893. By 1897, the railroad was running eight train loads of visitors each summer Sunday. For the popular annual Swedish Mid-Summer Festival in 1899, 20,000 people packed the park.
The park include a giant merry-go-round, a dinning hall, swings, tables and a covered pavilion. A steam launch took park visitors for a journey on the Fox River on the steamboat "City of Batavia".