Monday, 4 March 2013

Chippewa Lake Park

Chippewa Lake Park was an amusement park once located in Chippewa Lake, Ohio. It operated from 1878 through 1978, after the final owner, Continental Business Enterprises closed it due to lack of attendance. After the park’s closure, its rides and structures were left largely untouched and unmaintained for over 30years
In 1875, Edward Andrews organized a picnic ground and beach under the name Andrew’s Pleasure Grounds. The park operated with some success, but its condition deteriorated. With the addition of a steam boat and the park’s first rollercoaster, the amusement park was brought to life. The initial roller coaster had to be manually pushed up the track following each ride.
Mac Beach, acquired Chippewa Lake in 1898 and improved the park immensely. He also placed a ban on liquor sales. Mac’s son, Parker Beach, managed the park during its boom years, the roaring ’20s. During that decade, the first modern coaster was built at the park, designed by Fred Pearce. Originally named the Big Dipper, it became better known as simply ‘the coaster’. The park also featured a live band-stand seven nights a week.
The Beach family kept the park running successfully into the 1960s. Eventually Chippewa Lake would feature three roller coasters, flying cages, a Ferris wheel, carousel, Tumble Bug, ballroom and many other rides.
Chippewa Lake was acquired by Continental Business Enterprises in 1969, and developed plans to transform the park into more of a summer resort, however these plans drew very little public interest and funding and most of it was scrapped. The park would later close in 1978, which was the parks centennial season, under the company’s ownership, owing to factors like competition from nearby Cedar Point and Geauga Lake amusement parks and the decline of steel and rubber production in the surrounding areas. It was largely unknown to the public that the park’s 100th season would be its last, the park closed rather secretly without any big media coverage or massive public outcry. When the park shut down, former owner Parker Beach requested to his family that he be buried there when he died, which was accepted by his family. The site where Beach’s body is buried in the park is unknown.
Abandonment and deterioration: 1978-2010
After the park’s closure in 1978, the land the park was situated on was left largely untouched and all of rides and buildings were left standing, in which up until the end of the 1990s the park remained in fairly good condition and some of the rides were still usable. By the 2000s, however, large trees began growing through rides like the coaster and the park’s ferris wheel, and several buildings had collapsed or been damaged by the effects of the elements. All of the sturctures in the park became rusted and unstable scraps without any hopes of repairs.
List of Rides and Attractions that were left standing:
Big Dipper
Wild Mouse
Little Dipper
Tumble Bug
Ferris Wheel
Flying Cages
Rocket Rods
Bumper Cars
Hamburger Factory
Ticket Booths
Park Boat
Waffle Stand
Pee-Wee Golf
Train Tracks
Train Caboose
Various other small buildings
In June 2002, the Chippewa Lake Park Ballroom burned down, and by 2008, several other buildings had suffered the ballroom’s fate, including the hotel, arcade, fun house, peanut stand, and maintenance building, all of which had been damaged or destroyed by fire. However, other rides and structures still stood, in various states of disrepair. These included the Big Dipper (Coaster), the Wild Mouse coaster, the Little Dipper coaster, the Tumble Bug, and the frames of the Ferris Wheels and Flying Cages. Most other buildings across the park were in various states of collapse due to 30 years of neglect by this time.
Demolition and future: 2010-present
On September 9, 2008, Chippewa Partners LLC announced plans for a development on the site called “Chippewa Landing” which would include a hotel and spa, fitness center, restaurants, a conference and music center, small shops and other entertainment venues.

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