Ahhhh! Those aerials really flip my boat! The photo above really shows FPH in all her glory. This one dates to the mid forties. The bi-planes (next to the left front of the dance hall) are on the circle swings. The jets will be replacing them later. The train tracks in the field next to the Comet are from the Century Flyer which pre-dated Little Toot. Little Toot's route actually cut under the Comets' structure and was located between the Comet station and the Dodgem. On the right side of the photo, the swimming pool still had the elevated sundecks with the dressing rooms below them. The sundeck would be removed later. The building between the carousel and dance hall was the shooting gallery. It was removed in case a fire should happen, the empty space would create a fire break and not destroy the entire park. Humph! A lot of good THAT did, I say bitterly.
Ahhhh! Those wonderful Highlands treasures! Some didn't even last until you got home, some lasted a year, some are still  around. I've managed to find several FPH pennants in different sizes and colors. When I received my first pennants about 20 years ago, I took it out of the envelope. Faded green, it looked 40 years old and it was from FOREST PARK HIGHLANDS. I handled it with such care. I treated it like it was the Shroud of Turin. I still treat all of my pennants that way. My very first FPH souvenir was a small gold art nouveau mirror. I stared into the mirror wishing I could see scenes from the Highlands' early history. That would've made a good Twilite Zone episode doncha' think?
These were the Bi-planes. No, they did go around in circles in both directions (you know, both ways, bi-planes, get it?) Never mind. This was the second incarnation of this ride. Originally, the planes were gondolas, similar to the ones used on the Venice canals, complete with fringe on the tops. Depending on the park, the gondolas were changed into bi-planes in the mid thirties or so. Last, during the forties, they were replaced by large Silver Jets with red trim in the style of Buck Rodgers.
"Hey Little Toot!" My dad used to call me that when I was eight or so. I asked him as an adult why he always said that. I don't really want to say exactly what dad said, but let's just say it was due to a certain bodily function I could do at will as a child. But I've eshewed that behavior. As for the real one... The crowds have filled up all the cars in this wonderful postcard shot! The highlight for me: when Little Toot cut through the structure of the Comet. Rumor had it, that after Little Toot left the St. Louis area, it was due to go to a park in the Ozarks. That has not been confrmed and Little Toot has not been located.
Let's rip it up! It's Saturday night and I just got paid! Many, many romances were started on the Highlands dance floor. I'm sure a few probably ended there too. Ties were required and could be bought there. No improper behavior please, so put those reefers away.
The photo on the left is actually a photo card, just a photograph with a postcard back on it. It shows the original look of the swimming pool right after it opened in 1924. The upper decks had shaded seating for relaxing. The changing rooms were underneath as were concessions and food stands. Later, the above ground rooms were removed and the sundeck was done away with. The locker rooms were moved to the north side of the pool.  This view is looking south. The building in back of the swimming pool was the old theater building, now being used as a funhouse.  What was once the largest public swimming pool in the midwest finally closed in 1965, two years after the Highlands burnt down. The poster on the right dates to the early 1920s, has been restored and is hanging in my home.
Louis Berry, consessions operator, had devised a way so when the balloons were being used in this dart game, someone was in the back blowing up more balloons, and putting them on hooks, so when one set of balloons were popped, whoever was working the game could just turn the board around and there would be another set of balloons ready to go, so the game players would be ready to win more of those valuable prizes from Forest Park Highlands! These wood darts (right photo) are the originals, but didn't hold up so well.  They were later replaced with steel darts. The three here are now safely at home in my collection.
Photo & darts: Conrad Berry 
One of the wonderful "stories" our parents told us was that four of the reindeers on Santas' sleigh would come to the Highlands' carousel during the spring season and rest by turning into carousel animals and stay on the carousel until the FPH season was over. Judging by this guys' nose, he's GOT to be Ruddy. This Dentzel machine was originaly carved for a dairy show at the Arena next door. After the fire, the carousel was set up in Sylvan Springs Park near the Jefferson Barracks. It was soon in need of repair. Howard Ohlendorf once again came to the aid of this beloved machine. His daughters and five of their friends helped paint it, making the ride almost like new. It is now enjoying an extended life at Faust Park in Chesterfield, MO. The photo on the right side shows the ride in full tilt in this time lapse scene. If you look hard enough, you can make out the trim from the carousel (on top of the white fence) that Conrad gave me. -------photo on left by The Rose -----photo on right by Conrad Berry
photo added Nov 21, 2015
"A great new photo from my dear friend, ebay." This shows the Aero Jets being set up probably in its' original location. The ride apparently was moved twice. From here, to in back of the Dogems, near Oakland. And final location, in front of the Comet (as seen in the photo below). Notice in this picture, not all of the decorative panels had been installed the the rides' centerpiece. The ride, as far as I know, was installed in 1946.
The white building in the background of the above postcard is the entrance rotunda. Not all of the rides were actually owned by the Highlands. The Ferris wheel in this picture was owned by Johnny Miller and leased by the Highlands. John also introduced the Scrambler to the Highlands and would also operate these rides with his two co-workers. His son, Jim, would also help out when the others needed a break. John survived the Highlands by 28 years. His wife Sarah still lives in Missouri.
This ride made its debut at the Highlands in 1956. Its' original location was on the left side of the Comets' station. Later it was moved to the right side. At a cost of $50,000, the Aero Jets proved to be a success for FPH. Young and old loved the ride. By pulling in the steering wheel, you could make your rocket ship raise or lower itself 20 feet in the air.
Update: 4-14-10. Another Highlands chapter closes. Sarah J. Miller, dear wife of the late John Miller, owner and operator of the Ferris wheel at FPH (above, right photo), has passed away. She is survived by her children, Jim Miller and Joan Nowak (Miller) as well  as several grandchildren and great grandchildren who will miss her greatly. She was a classy lady and a very talented mother, grandmother and great grandmother. What a wonderful legacy she has left!
The park is full of picnickers enjoying a break from the high intensity of the rides. One woman seems to be intent at glaring back through the crowd. Maybe she overheard someone discussing her lack of fashion sense, or someone stole one of her Vess' Red Creme sodas.
(Courtesy of the Western Historical Manuscript Collection, University of Missouri-St. Louis)
These four girls are the height of pre-teen fashion at Forest Park Highlands. There are three pairs of saddle shoes in this photo. Can you spot them? Check out the kid with the knickers! Style is no stranger to St. Louis!
(Courtesy of the Western Historical Manuscript Collection, University of Missouri-St. Louis)
Update 8-28-10: The taller girl with the nautical chapeau has contacted me! Her name at the time, was Vicky Davis. She's 65 years young, a grandmother living in St. Louis! Thank you so much Vicky, you made my week!
Cuddle Up photos courtesy of Bobby Grapenthin
Photos added 2-14-12: Cuddle up a little closer...
The Cuddle Up was a small ride that would fit in anywhere. This version was located near the old dance hall at the southwest corner of the park. It was under a shelter, at the end of the picnic area. The ride was a cross between a Scrambler and a Tilt-A-Whirl. A very fun, disorienting ride. My only memory was someone asking me "if I had been on the Baskets that were under the building at the back of the park." The Cuddle Up  was replaced by a Bubble Bounce in the later years of FPH' lifespan, not too long before the fire that destroyed the park in '63.
©2009