Windmont Park opened for recreational purposes in the summer of 1906, just in time for the postcard craze that swept the country, including Kewanee, from 1906 until World War I in the mid 1910’s. Views of Windmont Park (circa 1910) were captured on at least 15 different postcards, including the 7 in this display.
The origin of name “Windmont” is not known. The park was developed by the Galesburg and Kewanee Electric Railway, which operated streetcars in Kewanee from 1903 to 1935 and an interurban to Galva (1906-1933). The park served two purposes—housing facilities needed to operate its streetcar system and providing recreational facilities for residents of Kewanee and Wethersfield. Of course, residents were expected to benefit the company by using its streetcars to get to the park.
The facilities needed to operate the trolley system can be seen in the first three cards below—a powerhouse with its 150-foot smokestack to produce electricity, a water tower and a lake needed for the steam engines that powered turbines, and a car barn for the company’s streetcars. The car barn seen northeast of the park’s entrance gate was located where the softball diamond parking lot is today. All were built in 1904.
The recreational facilities that were opened in 1906 (see below) included the lake for boating, swimming, fishing and ice skating, many acres of grounds for picnics and a grand pavilion for parties, band concerts, plays, vaudeville shows and dances. The pavilion, located where the park’s shelter house is today, burned down in 1930 and was not replaced.
The park’s entrance gate, a wood structure, had hollow sides from which ticket sellers could accept entrance fees. The tracks seen in the “gate” postcard below allowed streetcars to bring passengers to the park entrance. “Windmont Park” on the gate was composed of lights that were lit at night.