Located about 3.5 hours northeast of Cincinnati, Chippewa Lake Amusement Park used to be a place of wonderment and fun. But that was years ago. Strike that, decades ago. The defunct park has not been in operation since 1978. All that remains is the faded memory of someone’s first kiss on the ferris wheel and the hint of sticky fingers from a cotton candy swirl.
According to Wikipedia, here’s the quick rundown on Chippewa Amusement Park’s history:
1875 - 1898: Andrew’s Pleasure Grounds
Edward Andrews opened up a picnic & beach area on the land.
1898 - 1969: Chippewa Lake Park
Mac Beach acquired the park which was eventually run by his son, Parker.
1969 - 1978: Resale and closure
Continental Business Enterprises acquired the property with intent to transform the land into more of a summer resort. That never happened.
1978 - present date: Abandonment and deterioration
Fires have caused most of the park to burn down, and the property is currently for sale.
Chippewa had its heyday in the 1920s. That’s back when Fred Pearce designed the park’s first modern roller coaster, back when a live band played seven nights a week, and back when the Big Dipper wooden roller coaster was likely what got boys to second base on their fourth date. That park was a summertime memory-maker. But now, it’s an eerie reminder that nothing lasts forever.
Some of the rides are still there, caught between their old world glory and their current, dilapidated state. Through the foliage you stumble upon the Ferris Wheel, the Little Dipper, the Flying Cages, and the Tumble Bug rides. The steamboat structure has remained on site as well.
And you wanna know what’s really creepy? Former owner Parker Beach is buried somewhere on the grounds, but the location of his specific gravesite is unknown. Maybe it’s not creepy. I guess he just wanted to be buried — fully submerged — in the past, in a place responsible for bringing joy to his life and those of his amusement park patrons.
Rest in peace, Parker.
Rest in peace, Chippewa Lake Amusement Park.
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Chippewa Lake Amusement Park was featured in the 2007 documentary film “Welcome Back Riders.” It also made a few appearances in the 2010 horror film “Closed For the Season.”
If you’d like to see what the derelict park now looks like, scroll back to the top for pictures.
*Note: Information obtained for this story was found on Wikipedia.