Columbus, Ohio, once home to several amusement parks

Posted Monday, August 20, 2012 10:10 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Around the turn of the 20th century Columbus, had not one, but three amusement parks appear on the scene. Minerva, Olentangy and Indianola Parks entertained Central Ohioans for years. The carousel from Olentangy Park lives on at the Columbus Zoo.

Read more from The Columbus Dispatch.

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Monday, August 20, 2012 12:52 PM
DaveStroem's avatar

My dad often told me stories about cutting school and going to Olentangy Park to see the big bands that were playing including Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman.

At the time, Olentangy Park was the largest amusement park in the world (at least that is what their press releases said).

Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

Monday, August 20, 2012 9:20 PM

I have a classic postcard, often used in books, of Loop the Loop, one of the first coasters to go upside down. I believe the credit came with a neck brace...

My author website:

Monday, August 20, 2012 11:58 PM

The article doesn't even mention Norwood Park. It was around a bit later. Today, the site is still a city park, home to a sewage pump house. I visited the site recently and noted that the concrete steps leading down to the Alum Creek are still there, but largely silted over with mud.

Indianola Park is actually up closer to my neighborhood. The site is now a shopping center, and the ballroom building is still standing. It was recently renovated by the Xenos Christian Fellowship. A research note; the park is at the corner of 4th St. and 18th Ave., but on old maps, 4th St. at that point is shown as Indianola Ave...which is interesting, because Indianola Ave. is two blocks to the West.

As the article notes, Olentangy Park was on High St. at the end of the streetcar line. It turns out that when the LeVeque brothers bought the property, it was annexed into the City of Columbus. So while the Sanborn maps show Olentangy Park, much of the detail normally present on those maps is absent because the park was outside the city limits. Then after the annexation, the maps were pasted over and their orientation was actually changed to fit more of the property onto the page. The property is now home to the Olentangy Village apartments, and a Giant Eagle store. Personally, I refer to that particular store as the "Olentangy Park" location.

As I understand it, Columbus' first Zoo was located on High St. in Beechwold, well north of Olentangy Park. At some point, the Zoo was moved to Olentangy Park, then after Olentangy Park closed, the Zoo and the park's carousel were moved to their current location on the Scioto River.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 2:14 AM
bjames's avatar

"Columbus, Ohio, once home to several amusement parks," but now the industry has been reduced to a monopoly of four or five corporations and they attract more people to their parks than independent owners do.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 10:21 AM
Vater's avatar

bjames said:

a monopoly of four or five corporations

Does not compute...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 11:02 AM
DaveStroem's avatar

Here is an interesting site dedicated to Indianola Park. 

Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 10:06 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Cater, apparently exclusive means multiple now.

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 10:30 PM
rollergator's avatar

If Parker Brothers had come up with the game after Standard Oil had been a memory, maybe the term in common usage would be Oligopoly. As it is, I rarely hear the term outside of an ECON class...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 7:26 AM

Tekwardo said:

Cater, apparently exclusive means multiple now.

Oh, now you're gonna make him supply the food, too?

The amusement park rises bold and are huddled on the beach in a mist

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 8:49 AM
birdhombre's avatar

^ Only bran muffins.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 9:53 AM
Vater's avatar

Baboons and constipation. You won't find anything but the highest of high brow comedy from me.


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