Prior to the openings of Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens-Williamsburg theme parks in 1975, Waynesboro and Augusta County families, and especially car- and busloads of area teenagers, frequently visited Lakeside Amusement Park in Salem, just outside of Roanoke.
Lakeside was a small, 47-acre park that first opened as a sandy beach swimming pool in 1920. Within a few years, amusement rides were added, and in 1934 it was purchased by H. L. Roberts, whose family operated the park for 50 years.
By 1971, however, Lakeside felt hemmed in. Located at the intersection of Route 460 and Electric Road, the park had no room for future growth. The opening of Disney World in Orlando, Florida that same year had re-defined amusement parks (now called “theme parks”) forever, and east coast parks now felt pressure to “go Disney” or go home.