Contorted branches now weave themselves through the remains of an abandoned amusement park in Chippewa Lake, Ohio. Now nearly unrecognizable, Chippewa Lake Park was once a prime location for Sunday afternoons with the family.
The amusement park which stayed open for one hundred years were once home to attractions like the steamboat and one of the first modern roller coasters called the Big Dipper.
For the first twenty years of the park’s existence it was known as Andrew’s Pleasure Grounds, founded by Edward Andrews, which hosted only a beach and picnic grounds. In the 1880’s Andrews added the first attractions, a steam boat and roller coaster which had to be manually pushed back to the top of the hill. The first roller coaster came to be nicknamed Miss Chippewa and was often dangerous as it was a very primitive design. Time took its toll on the park and with Andrews unable to keep up with routine maintenance the park soon lost its appeal. A huge overhaul came about in 1898 when Mac Beach, along with his son, Parker, acquired Chippewa Lake. Mac placed a ban on liquor sales which was thought to be a huge contributing factor to the success that followed. Throughout the roaring twenties, considered the peak of its existence, the first modern roller coaster was built. Over the course of its 100 years it came to showcase three roller coasters, the Tumble Bug, a carousel and a ballroom which featured live bands every night of the week.
The decline of the park came about in 1969 after being sold to Continental Business Enterprises. Competition from surrounding parks like Geauga Lake and Cedar Point lead to its downfall. In an attempt to bring the park back, CBE forged plans to turn the grounds into a summer resort, to no avail. The closing of the park in 1978 was kept rather secret and many of the rides, ticket booths and ballroom stood intact for many years to come. After the fire that claimed the ballroom in 2002 other buildings like the hotel, arcade and fun house suffered the same fate. In 2008 a proposition was made to sell the property for 3,500,000 with plans to make another attempt at building a hotel, spa, fitness center and more. As of 2009 many of the trees/debris had been cleared with hopes to start building after completion. 2012 brought about sad news with the announcement that the plans would be scrapped due to a lawsuit. Although Chippewa Lake Park stood for an impressive one hundred years, it will surely be remembered much longer.
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