Playground of the Midwest

Cab Calloway

by NEBRASKAland, June 1969

In 1927 the swimming pool and Dinty Moore fun house at Capitol Beach amusement Park were “top-drawer attractions,” but they had some dandy rivals. For the gay blades around town, nothing was better date bait than the dance hall. At first it was the “nickel grind” where dancers purchased tickets and tripped around for three or four minutes for each ducat. Then came the era of the big bands and King’s Ballroom, a bigger and better building.

“Cab Calloway, the Dorsey Brothers, and Duke Ellington were great favorites, but even these master music makers are not as well remembered as the Cliquot Club Eskimos. To Capitol Beach visitors, this band, sponsored on radio by a soft drink company, was the greatest.”

Dorsey Brothers

Hoyt Haw, now a Lincoln businessman, worked at Capitol Beach for years. He gets almost misty-eyed talking about the Eskimos:

“To use today’s slang for yesterday’s memories, the Cliquot Club Eskimos were something else,” he claims. Hoyt should know; he heard them all.

Clicquot Club Eskimos

“Gerald Carpender of Lincoln is another veteran of Capitol Beach and its great days. His pets were fireworks and the picnics. Jerry’s face glows like the “Destruction of Pompeii” when he talks about the great displays that used to light up the sky over Capitol Beach.”

“We didn’t need a holiday to put on a fireworks show. Just about anything was enough to set us off. And how the people would come. Of course we outdid ourselves on Decoration Day, the Fourth, and Labor Day, but we had other dates, too.”