I copied this from The Mount Vernon Republican, 1896 Industrial Edition
Arriving at Mount Vernon, what a sense of relief and thrill of pleasure you experience in leaving the warm, upholstered and heavily-curtained car of the steam railway, to find awaiting you at the depot elegant electric summer cars of finest design and finish. The equipment of this electric line is unexcelled, and the attention and courtesies extended to its patrons by employes and officers make you feel that you are their honored guest. Again, you realize a returning consciousness of perfect comfort as the the car goes speeding over polished steel rails, through shady streets, now leaving the city in the background and passing into country, catching the cool breezes laden with the perfume of sweet nature, and, after a fifteen minutes' ride, you reach the grand entrance to Lake Hiawatha Park.
Upon entering the Park the scene is one of bewildering beauty and magnificence. Neither description nor photographic illustrations can do justice to the picture presented. The grounds appear to consist of an exquisite labyrinth of shrub and foliage, broad avenues, green lawns, artistic floral designs, tropical plants and lovely terraces. The playing fountains and the beautiful Falls of Minnehaha, the sound of whose falling waters is sweetest music, aid in creating a scene of surpassing loveliness. Here, of all places, is the spot to rest; here, of all places, is a never-ending seccession of variety of views. Rustic seats invite to repose, while shaded avenues entice one to ramble.
Nature was lavish in bestowing upon Lake Hiawatha Park rare treasures of varied beauty. The giant oaks, with widespreading branches; beautiful stretches of plateau, rugged eminences, glens and valleys; nor has the hand or art deprived the Park of any of its natural beauty, as nature and art are so cunningly blended that the beholder is sometimes puzzled to distinguish them. Flowers in extravagant profusion adorn the grounds, here in magnificent beds of immense proportions, there representing designs of artistic beauty, now in letters forming the name of this
beautiful resort, and again in hugh rustic vases guarding the entrance to the half hidden grotto.
Lake Hiawatha, from which the Park takes its name, is a beautiful sheet of water of many acres in extent fed by springs and inexhaustible wells, from which the water is pumped by electris power. It is clear as a diamond and looks like a jewel set in the center of the fifty acres comprising the park. The water is fresh and pure, never becoming stagnant, as it continually pours from the outlet, falling many feet, foaming and dashing over the rocks and forming the beautiful Falls of Minnegaha. Miniature islands dot the surface of the lake, and upon these, or
gracefully resting upon the water, are seen handsome European swan, the admiration of all eyes. In midwinter no more glorios sport is enjoyed by young and old alike than skating on Lake Hiawatha, encircled by the light of brilliant arc lamps and accompanied by entrancing full-band music.
Tobogganning has been one of the chief amusements in connection with the sport at Hiawatha Park. Boating, bowling, billiards, pool, tennis, bicycle riding, baseball, and all sorts of amusements are going on at all times.
Hiawatha cottages are lovely little homes where those who are well spend a season of delightful recreation free from the restraints and taxations of fashion, and where the tired and careworn find all the conditions required for rest, health and comfort. The cottages occupy the finest location in the Park, amid lovely surroundings, overlooking the lake and the pleasure grounds beyond. They are new, finished in hard wood, floors covered with Japanese mattings, and are furnished ready for occupancy, excepting bed linen, blankets, pillows and towels.
Each bears a charming Indian name, such as Minniewaukee, Iona, Wenona, Mackihac. Cheyenne, Pequod, Kaw, Minnehaha, Wa-Wa, Ochlawaha, Catawissa, Waneta, Topinabee, &c. &c.,
Single rooms can be rented for $3.50 a week or $10.00 a month. Suites for $5.00 a week or $16.00 a month, and an entire cottage for $6.50 a week or $20.00 a month.
The park "zoo" is a continual source of pleasure and delight especially to the little folks. Wild animals of many species are continually added to this department, a partial list of which is as follows: Bears, in a strong combined pit and cage built of iron and stone, in double compartments, with additional sleeping caves; deer, in a two-acre wire enclosure, with log barn for winter quarters; prairie dog village, dens of foxes; beavers with their self made houses; coyotes in yards, hollow logs filled with playful coons, alligators sporting in a little lakelet,
monkeys, badgers, wildcats, mountain lions, gorillas, minks, gophers, golden eagles, owls, groundhogs and many other species.