About Lake Compounce:
America's First Amusement Park
Come visit the first amusement park in North America! If you’re looking for fun amusement parks in Connecticut, look no further. As the first amusement park in the country, Lake Compounce has years of experience in helping families bond and have fun together. Learn all about our history and more information about the park here. As experts in family fun, we can’t wait for you to come and enjoy the wonders of our park.
Lake Compounce is the oldest, continuously-operating amusement park in North America, having its genesis more than 175 years ago in 1846!
The park has had millions invested in rides and attractions during the recent years, and today is more beautiful than ever. Among other famous attractions, Lake Compounce is home to Boulder Dash, which has been voted the world’s #1 wooden roller coaster, as well as Connecticut’s largest water park. At Lake Compounce, there are more rides, attractions, dining options, and FUN than anyone can experience in just one day...whether you’re young or just young at heart. There is no doubt that Lake Compounce is one of the most fun places to visit in Connecticut!
Lake Compounce History:
On October 6, 1846, Samuel Botsford, an influential Bristol scientist, persuaded property owner Gad Norton, an original settler descendant, to let him conduct "a series of beautiful experiments in electricity." Well publicized, the event drew thousands of spectators who witnessed the demonstration amidst the beauty of the woods and water. Although the final experiment of "blowing up from shore, 2 huge jugs of gunpowder tied under a raft in the middle of the lake" failed, it did inspire Mr. Norton to take action. He put a path around the lake, set up picnic tables, allowed public swimming and rowing on the lake and built a gazebo for lakeside band concerts. Lake Compounce had officially opened to the public as a picturesque "picnic" park.
In 1847, the "Southern method" of cooking lamb was introduced by Lake Compounce to families, groups and organizations and the long and profitable tradition of summer barbecues began. The following year, a hand-powered revolving swing and Connecticut's first 10 pin bowling alley with adjoining pool tables became new attractions. In 1851, Isaac Pierce, a successful "California Gold Rush 49er," joined forces with Norton and the firm of Pierce and Norton was established.
Lake Compounce prospered as a picnic park through the post-Civil War era. In 1873, the Bristol Press published its first notice of Lake Compounce with an article describing the property as a "a convenient and delightful little seaside of their own for the people of Bristol."