Chippewa Lake Park was abandoned in 1978 with most of it’s attractions standing. The 385 acre lake outside of Cleveland is the largest natural inland body of water in the state. The park was open for nearly a hundred years and nature has reclaimed it’s coasters, ballroom and structures.
The park was home to 3 roller coasters – A Wild Mouse, A steel kiddie coaster named the Little Dipper and a larger wooden coaster. The wood coaster was earlier named the Big Dipper but was referred to as just “Coaster” in the later years. The ride was built about 1924 or 1925 by Fred Pearce. It is amazing that a Tumble Bug is still there considering how rare this ride is (only three in the US and one in the UK).
In it’s glory days
A night view
There have been several locations listed for this park, usually as Cleveland. It is actually located at Chippewa Lake and is near the towns of Medina and Lodi, quite a bit Southwest of Cleveland. The park is due North of the juction of Interstate 71 and Interstate 76. In my opinion, it is possible that the park was not a Trolley Park but instead a Railroad Park, since the B&O Railroad runs directly behind the park.
The official opening of an organized park was in 1878. Mr. Edward Andrews was in charge, and back then the area was called, “Andrew’s Pleasure Grounds”. The summer months saw tent shows and occasional concerts, but the 4th of July was the biggest event highlighted with food, singing and fireworks. In fact, this day continues to be very popular for the communities located on the North and Southeast side of the lake, and is highlighted by their own hour long parade!
The park started to develop as an amusement park during the 1880’s as more attractions were added. Two of the rides that came were a roller coaster, and a miniature steam boat that toured the lake, but although these rides and others offered some fun, Mr. Andrews’ lack of motivation to provide better amusement, and his lack of concern regarding alcohol consumption caused the sale of his park.
Mr. Mac Beach was the next owner, and is credited with turning the park around. He came in 1898 to work the Midway for Mr. Andrews, and in 1900 purchased the park. He saw all the issues plaguing the park and decided to make some changes. The first thing he did was ban alcohol drinking, instructed his grounds keepers to remove all litter, and continued growing the attractions. Mac’s long term goal was to create a legacy to pass onto his son, Parker Beach.
Parker followed in his father’s footsteps and managed the park through 1937, when decided to purchase it. Chippewa Lake Amusement Park was THE place to go during the early 20th century. The park survived WWI, roaring 20’s, the great depression, WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Many fun events, annual company picnics and wildlife shows were held there, and to Parker Beach’s credit, kept it running through the 1960’s.
In the 1960’s
Crowd in the 1960s in the center of the park
Tickets from the park
Chippewa Lake closed in 1978 while under the ownership of Continental Business Enterprises. There have always been rumors of the lake & park selling to different parties over the years, but in 2007, the lake was indeed sold to The Medina County Park District. As of this writing, the park is still for sale. 110+ acres of prime lakefront property for a cool $3.5 million.
Ballroom before fire
Center of the Ballroom
Line to nowhere
Trees growing through coaster