Chippewa Lake Park
Chippewa Lake Park
Where: Seville, OH
Status: Still around, but getting worse.
Where to even start on Chippewa Lake Park. Chippewa and Idora were really the two locations that started this site.
Chippewa Lake Park is a former trolly park (sort of) that opened in 1890ish and closed in the late 1970's. The park was owned for most of its years by the Beach family (namely parker) who maintained the park until its sale in the 1960's. The park still stands to this day although much of what was left has rotted or suffered from the boredom of local teens and the like. I've made several trips to the park over the years and have sadly witnessed the loss of a few of the remains that were there even on my initial visits.
The two dips where the coaster converges after the turn around.
The most notable recent loss on the grounds was the former ballroom. The remains of the midway have also collapsed and the cars from the swining gyms are no longer on the ride. The most recent thing that I noticed was the collapse of the bathhouse floor.
The old flying cage cars. The actual Red, green, blue, and yellow cars are now missing from the structure. I believe a local has taken them to protect them.
The actual cause of the closing is cause for much debate. I believe ultimately you can simply mark this one under the low attendance column. The park was bought out by Continental Business Enterprises in the late 1960's and really didn't make it too far beyond that. Attendance dwindled and the company's big plans for the park never materialzed. They closed the park at the end of the 1978 season and it never officially reopened. I have heard that the company that bought the park had planned on offering gambling on the grounds and when they were not approved, they closed the park. I don't know if that is correct.
It is often discussed how the park was simply walked away from, but the actually that isn't the case. Much of what remained at closing time was auctioned off. Most of what remains now were the rides that were either too difficult to move, or not worth the money to move at the time.
The park is really amazing to visit during the summer. It really has a feel of an amusement park. There are signs of the park pretty much everywhere you turn. One of the more amazing things to see in real life is the Ferris Wheel pictured to the right which has been overtaken by nature.
The coaster standing inside the entrance gate gets me more emails from hopeful park fans than anything else on my site. The pictures don't accurately reflect the poor condition. Unfortunately the reality is that the coaster is probably beyond repair. Almost all of the wood has rotted, trees have fallen through the structure, and the coaster is sitting a good portion of the year in a swamp.
The trees are reclaiming their land.
There is still plenty to see on the grounds. I plan to keep occasionally checking up on the status, so I'll try to keep the pages here somewhat updated. Prior to the Heritage USA section of my site, Chippewa Lake was easily the most visited section of my site and still holds a close second place to Heritage (which is much larger and was visited by millions). This park is really special for a lot of people who spent their teen years attending dances in the ballroom or even working on the grounds.
Old Tumble Bug Ride
There are still people taking care of the site, so it's not always a simple walk in affair. I've never run in to anyone on the grounds, but I have received emails from folks who have. A simple walk around the grounds will show that the paths to fire hyrdants remain cleared and the fence is often mended after people cut it to enter. The owners do not offer tours of any kind. I know of many people that have tried and it simply doesn't happen.
I've covered the park in much more detail over at my other website sbno.illicitohio.com.
The old Ballroom before being destroy by fire in 2003. An outdoor theater. The ballroom from the same view as above after a curious teen set fire to it while playing with fire. The old coaster station. Inside the ballroom before the fire. Many famous acts played on that stage. The burger factory/pavillion A What was left of the midway up until recently. This is now collapsed. The former entrance/ticket area.
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