On the day it was abandoned in 1978, few would have thought that Chippewa Lake Park would stand untouched and unmaintained for the next 31 years. The amusement park in Medina County, Ohio, opened in 1878 but owner Continental Business Enterprises was forced to close it a century later due to lack of attendance.
Chippewa Lake Park began life in 1875 as Andrew’s Pleasure Grounds – a successful venture but plagued by problems partly due to alcohol sales within the park. But the addition of a steamboat and the park’s first rollercoaster (which had to be manually pushed up the track after each ride) brought Chippewa Lake into the modern age – albeit in a now retro kind of way.
Acquired by the Beach family in 1898, who operated it for several generations, alcohol was banned and Chippewa Lake Park’s popularity soared. The roaring ’20s brought the first modern rollercoaster – the Big Dipper, aka “the coaster” – and a live band daily. At its peak, the park boasted three roller coasters, flying cages, a Ferris wheel, carousel, Tumble Bug, ballroom and more.
The Beach family operated the park successfully until 1969 when it was sold to Continental Business Enterprises. That marked the beginning of the end and the new owners closed the park in 1978 citing increased local competition from Cedar Point and Geauga Lake amusement parks. The rusting remains stood eerily silent for the next three decades, while trees ensnared the coaster and ferris wheel and other attractions slowly disintegrated.
On June 13, 2002, the Chippewa Lake Park Ballroom was burned to the ground, a fate later suffered by the hotel, arcade, fun house and peanut stand by 2008. The land has since been sold for $3.5 million and is set to host a new hotel/spa, fitness center, conference/music venue, shops and restaurants. As of June 2010, the “Hamburger Factory” and coaster had been demolished with the remaining rides, including ferris wheel and flying cages, expected to follow soon after. More Ohio abandonments here.
(The images above, from top left, show the ballroom remains, Hamburger Factory, hotel exterior, collapsed dodgem car building, hotel interior, ticket booths and Big Dipper awaiting demolition.)
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