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Amusement park located in Chippewa Lake, Ohio.
Open from 1878 - 1978.

The Past:

In 1878, Chippewa Lake Park (CLP) was founded as a public beach and ballroom. During its heyday, it had three roller coasters. Unfortunately a combination of fire damage and a dwindling market sent the park into, after a century of operation, irrecoverable bankruptcy. The park's demise was far from sudden. It had been spiraling into decay for about five years before its final day, and, by the very end, was only serving as little more than a private party centre with a beach. Amazingly enough, a large number of buildings and rides still remain in existence and standing at CLP.

Organized picnics at Chippewa Lake date back to 1840s. Edward Andrews officially opened the park in 1878 and named it Andrews Pleasure Grounds. During the management of Andrews the park’s best days were the early ones, consisting mainly of picnics, dancing, shows, and occasionally fireworks.

Andrews remained owner and operator until the introduction of Mac Beach in the early 1900s. The park had its first roller coaster and a steamboat by the 1880s, but Andrews just couldn’t seem to keep the park under his control. CLP had major problems related to alcohol, and Andrews wasn’t the man to end them.

With Beach, the golden era of CLP were just beginning to start. His management would breath life into the park and create its reputation as a wonderful place for a family getaway. Not only that, but he purchased the first carousel!

Mac Beach would eventually give way to his son, Parker Beach. Parker Beach ran CLP during what is normally regarded as its glory days. Attendance would never be better, shows would never be more crowded, and people would never be more satisfied with their experience.

Parker Beach died at the age of 86 on February 1, 1992. Although he was forced to sell CLP when profits dwindled, he managed to keep it amazingly popular during its own era. An era before Disney World would steal away trade from smaller parks. It’s amazing to think that Disney’s lure could reach out from the swamps of Florida and steal away crowds from the banks of Chippewa Lake, but thus is life.

Gasping for life, Chippewa’s new managers would try to compete with a new type of campaign. Rather than trying to entice crowds with the newest types of attractions, they would win appreciation by lowering their prices and emphasizing their park as a family resort. Even the “weekend getaway” approach could not save the park, and it closed its doors a final time on its 100th anniversary in 1978.

The Present:

The past damage dealt by fire is evident in the ruins of the park. The midway would be unrecognizable to someone who remembers the park during its peak. The ballroom, in my opinion, can be (and should be) saved. Somehow. Anyhow. The ballroom was the first part of the park I saw as we approached, and it has left an impression on me. I have heard that most of the coaster cars and all of the carousel horses have been purchased by people who either collect or refurbish these items. It seems that the two most frequent visitors these days are drunks (due to the bottles we found) and birds (due to... the birds we found).

Update: The ballroom has been burnt down. The rest of the park calmly awaits dozing and development.

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