The decade from 1911 to 1920 was Indianola Park in its prime. With the pool, the dance pavilion, vaudeville, the amusement rides, and all sorts of free attractions, the park sought to entertain its patrons in every possible way.

The pool was always Indianola's biggest draw. It was the one thing competitor Olentangy Park didn't have (at least until 1919).

In the 1910s, household air conditioning didn't exist and electric fans were prohibitively expensive. On hot summer days and nights, Indianola Park's clear, cool waters were very much in demand. Crowds of 5,000 or more were common.

When the park opened, female bathers were scarce. As the decade wore on, they gradually shed their inhibitions and became regular visitors to the pool.

Around 1909, women began to frequent female-only swimming parties held in the mornings when the pool was least busy and there were few male patrons. For the most part though, women continued to avoid the pool when men were numerous.

Social strictures against physical activity for women and "mixed bathing" began to relax, particularly after World War I. Women who took men's place in the workforce during the war demanded access to the same recreations and pleasures.

The stigma of women's bathing costumes also eased. In 1907, Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman was arrested for indecency in Boston for wearing a swimsuit that bared her arms and legs. Over the next decade, women's swimsuits would slowly evolve in the direction pioneered by Kellerman. Motion pictures, magazines, and advertising spread the new styles across the land.

By 1909, Kellerman was performing live at Keith's Theater in conservative, Midwestern Columbus in the same suit that got her arrested in Massachusetts.

By 1914, Kellerman's lightly attired nautical romp, Neptune's Daughter, was playing to packed houses at the prestigious Hartman Theater downtown and bare arms and legs were the norm at beaches and pools.

Left: A turn-of-the-century bathing beauty from an Atlantic City stereoview.

Indianola's dance pavilion also kept the ticket booth busy.

Like a videogame arcade in the early 1980s or a tattoo parlor in the late 1990s, Indianola's dance pavilion in 1910 was perfectly poised to take advantage of a mania sweeping the nation.

Prior to the 1910s, social dance was still vaguely suspect. Preachers and moralists inveighed against it and proper folk avoided it. In the early 1910s, Vernon and Irene Castle, a charismatic, modern, well-dressed, well-mannered, married couple made social dance acceptable for the American middle class by showing that decent people could dance to syncopated music, enjoy it, and not be depraved or debauched by it.

The Castles helped launch a national craze for dance that went on for the next twenty years.

One tune that must have been a favorite at Indianola's dance pavilion was a 1918 foxtrot called "Indianola." The song was written by S.R. Henry and D. Onivas with lyrics by Frank Warren.

The song has nothing to do with the park.

It's a wartime tune about a Native American warrior going off to "scalp old Kaiser Bill" who asks his beloved Indianola to marry him before he goes to war.

Still, the title alone must have made it a frequent request at the park.

A 1918 recording of the song by Billy Murray on an Edison Blue Amberol cylinder can be heard here.

WARNING: By contemporary standards, the lyrics are pretty culturally insensitive.

September 1, 1913: "Went to Indianola Park last night. Had a dandy time."