This "before" photograph, taken on March 25, 1926, shows one of the city's oldest summer playgrounds, Spanish Fort, located at the entrance to Bayou St. John. Spanish Fort had been a resort area as far back as the 1820s, but it reached its heyday from the 1880s to around the turn of the century. During this period New Orleanians could travel out to the lake by rail and spend their leisure time swimming, eating, drinking, gambling, listening to bands and light opera. After a fire in 1906, the New Orleans Railway and Light Company purchased the property, built an electrified rail line to the site, and rebuilt the resort as an amusement park, complete with ferris wheel and roller coaster. Spanish Fort closed in 1926, when rail lines stopped running and the Orleans Levee Board's lakefront reclamation projects began.