Where: Youngstown, OH
Status: Most gone, the land is still there.
Idora park and Chippewa Lake Park were the two that started it all for my website. Idora was actually one of the first abandoned places I'd ever seen. I tried to enter it once when I was young but I heard a loud noise and bolted. Many years later I visited and used the pictures I took to start this website.
Idora was a trolly park in Youngstown Ohio that survived many years until a fire destroyed its main attraction. The park was one of the few old trolly parks that made it past the 1970's. What finally ended the parks success was the 1984 fire that destroyed the Wild Cat coster which was named as one of the best coasters in the country at the time.
The back side of the ballroom.
During some preseason repairs on a neighboring ride, a spark or heat from a welder ignited the coaster. Firefighters from all over the area fought the fire but were not able to save much of the coaster. The fire also destroyed the midway, park offices, and other structures.
The famous french fry stand sat for many years. People loved these fries. I hope someone was able to snag the signs before it was dozed.
The park tried to open using carnival trailers and other stand ins, but it simply wasn't enough. The park had already been under some strain and the loss of the wildcat was too much. The park was auction off in the years following leaving only the buildings, coaster remains, and the ballroom. The ballroom was used for a short time after the park closed to host dinners, receptions, fund raisers, etc. Eventually a church bought the grounds and simply did nothing with it until it was far too late.
For many years the park stood with most structures intact. Slowly but surely many of them dissappeared from the landscape. By the end, the ballroom, the french fry stand, the icee stand, the Jack Rabbit Coaster, and WildCat were the only major remains.
Nothing remains of the park today. The coasters were finally bulldozed after a fire destroyed the ballroom in 2001. The park actually suffered three fires total. The first in 1984 ultimately closed the park. A 1986 fire destroyed some of the Wildcat's remains. The 2001 fire destroyed the ballroom which led to the bulldozing of the Wildcat, buildings, Jack Rabbit Coaster, and basically anything else that was standing.
The kiddyland building was formerly the pool house standing around a large pool that was filled to make kiddyland. The cement you see with the plants is the former pool.
A more detailed explanation of which fires destroyed which rides can be found along with fire pictures at the following link... http://www.youngstownfire.com/majorfires/idora.shtml
I've made several trips in to the park over the years, one of which caused me a painful visit to the med center to have rubber and rust dug from my foot after stepping on a big rusty nail sticking out of a piece of wood. The pictures here are from various trips.
Icee Stand!! The Icee stand stood for so long that the tiny building became the symbol of what remained at the park. It is now gone along with everything else.
I most recently visited the park in 2005 to see if anything remained. There really isn't much of anything other than a few foundations and some wood. Its really a shame that the chuch that purchased the park did not do anything with it. There were plenty of people that were trying to lead efforts to at least preserve some of the signs and possibly even the coaster and it simply did not happen in time. I do not know if the church blocked those efforts of if they simply didn't materialize in time.
Idora was one of the few features on the site that I visited before and after it was abandoned. I was under 10 years old when it burnt, but I do recall the fires and I do recall going to see the remains with my parents from our car. The neighboring streets slowly became less desireable until it became somewhat unsafe to visit. To this day some of the nearby streets are rough.
There really isn't much more to say about Idora without getting in to a large project. A simple web search will find a lot of info on this place. Many people are working to preserve memories of the park, including one guy who built a working model of the Wildcat.
If you're ever in millcreek park up near Idora, take a peek around. There isn't much to see, but you can at least get an idea of how the park was layed out.
Buildings next to the wildcat.
I've covered the park in much more detail over at my other website sbno.illicitohio.com.
The Jack Rabbit coster station. The Jack Rabbit lined the parking lot. The ballroom stage. A tunnel of the wildcat coaster.
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More pictures can be found in the gallery here.