Defunct Chippewa Lake's historic ballroom goes up in flames

Posted Friday, June 14, 2002 4:38 AM | Contributed by RollerCoasterGod

Late Thursday evening several area fire departements fought "flames taller than the tallest tree" when Chippewa Lake's hisotric ballroom went up in flames. The fire fighters arrived to an out of control blaze and managed to stop what they call a "suspicious" blaze from spreading to area houses. The hall once hosted shows from Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, Lawrence Welk, the Dorsey brothers, the Kinks and the Animals.

Read more from the Akron Beacon Journal.

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Friday, June 14, 2002 5:07 AM
I was sitting down with a few "old" family members while the blaze was going on. They live really close to the park and have a lot of memories of it. It's strange that everyone I talk to about the park remembers two things. The ballroom and the laughing lady.

Everyone talks about the ballroom and how it really was one of the best around. The stories I hear of this place are great. I wish I would have been able to stroll the midways there.

And what is it about those old laughing ladies at many old parks that people remember her exactly? I think Chippewa's old laughing lady now resides under the roof of Dover Lake's picnic pavillion?

This blaze doesn't suprise me as being suspicious either. After being to the site myself (legally) and seeing the conditions of the park. I also know the county/city has had many problems with people trespassing on the property all the time. It really is sad.

"The Future of Roller Coasters"
-RollerCoasterGod
http://OhioThemeParks.com


*** This post was edited by RollerCoasterGod on 6/14/2002. ***

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Friday, June 14, 2002 5:25 AM
What pisses me off is the fact that the police will either not put much effort into an investigation, or those who did it will get a slap on the wrist. Look at the Idora and Whalom fires.

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Off with the trims!
My fellow Americans; Let's Roll!
Woodencoaster.com

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Friday, June 14, 2002 5:29 AM
Here is another story:

Here

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Off with the trims!
My fellow Americans; Let's Roll!
Woodencoaster.com *** This post was edited by bigkirby on 6/14/2002. ***

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Friday, June 14, 2002 5:33 AM

Nothing irritates me more then arson fires. I'm actually surprised the ballroom lasted this long.

Over the past year or so The remains of Idora Park, Mountain Park, and Chippewa Lake have been torched as well as Whalom Park and Dracula's Castle at Morey's Piers.

It's enough to make one sick.

I'm glad I got to visit Chippewa a few time before this happened. Such a shame as the structure was really one of the only things that could have been salvaged from the park.

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Friday, June 14, 2002 6:07 AM

Is the Big Dipper still standing strong? Did the fire hurt the coaster at all?

I sure hope Chippewa Lake wont follow the same path as Idora did.

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Valleyfair Security 2002! 8Years working at Valleyfair :)! Wild Thing Laps: 105


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Friday, June 14, 2002 6:14 AM

Dracula's Castle fire at Wildwood: All arson is bad. The difference is though that al of the other parks mentioned were closed down (some recent, others for a few years ago), but Dracula's Castle was an "operating" attraction (just happened in the off season).

The Big Dipper still standing strong: From various wirte ups about the remains of Chippawa Lake, for the past few years, while technically still standing, the Dipper is in pretty sad shape. While saving a SBNO coaster is a nobel effort, it sounds like the Dipper is beyond saving (rotted wood, etc).

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"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."

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Friday, June 14, 2002 6:19 AM

Dracula's Castle is being rebuilt by the owner.

The Big Dipper wasn't touched by the fire. What buildings are left? I count the bathhouse, a midway building, a few ticket booths, and the front gate. It's sad hearing the stories of older folks who met and danced in the ballroom as it is buring.

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Off with the trims!
My fellow Americans; Let's Roll!
Woodencoaster.com

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Friday, June 14, 2002 6:24 AM

Dipper wouldn't be good for anything other than fire wood. It's rotten beyond repair.

Sad as this is, I wouldn't be surprised if the owners left it standing for insurance reasons. Why pay to have it torn down when you can wait for someone to burn it down and get paid?

That whole community is a joke, and totally backward. The housing is crap and a would-be tourist area is more of a haven for low income country folk. Even if someone did want to restore the property, look at the neighborhood it's in.

Living as close as I do, I spent a lot of time being angry about the state of the park, but I long ago came to the realization that there's nothing there worth saving. It's a shame, but at some point you have to be realistic.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

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Friday, June 14, 2002 6:46 AM

Is there any chance of restarting the park; even if it meant rebuilding everything? It'd be nice to have a less expensive traditional amusement park in Ohio. I enjoy Cedar Point, Kings Island, and Six Flags, but barring a season pass, $40 dollars (and $80 if with a girlfriend) is rather costly while going through college and having a typical college job. That's what I like about places like Waldameer, Conneaut, and Kennywood, but they're all in Pennsylvania!

Matt's homepage for la jolie fille de la France et le gateau de Marie:

http://www.bw.edu/~mzarzecz

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Friday, June 14, 2002 6:51 AM
Jeff made a good point about leaving it standing for insurance. But they still had to pay the insurance on the Ballroom for 22 years after the park closed and some insurance companies will not pay if they can confirm that the cause of the fire is arson.

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Off with the trims!
My fellow Americans; Let's Roll!
Woodencoaster.com
*** This post was edited by bigkirby on 6/14/2002. ***

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Friday, June 14, 2002 7:19 AM
NOT ANOTHER BALLROOM FIRE! If it was kids just remember all of us aren't like that!

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It's his turn to feast, when you ride the Son of Beast.

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Friday, June 14, 2002 7:22 AM
Had to be kids. School's out and they needed something to do. Not much entertainment in Chippewa Lake. I know most kids are above this and do appreciate history.

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Off with the trims!
My fellow Americans; Let's Roll!
Woodencoaster.com

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Friday, June 14, 2002 8:26 AM
Zar: A park like the one you speak of recently reopened not far from Kings Island :)
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Friday, June 14, 2002 8:26 AM
I was lucky enough to have seen it in person. Even though old rides/ buildings cannot last forever, it is amazing to be able to see them first hand, after hearing so many stories about Chippewa and seeing the books. The same goes for any defunct park or piece of memorabilia. There are some of us who will never know what those parks were like, and even though other traditional ones still survive, its not quite the same. Each one had character.

Another article from the Medina Gazette can be seen Here.
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Brad Sherman
Soon park benches will have seatbelts!
My Chippewa Lake page

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Friday, June 14, 2002 9:02 AM
I was blessed to be able to take a walkthrough of Chippewa last October, and it was quite a site. Very melancholy to see so many old rides and attractions just abandoned.

Like Jeff said though, as nice as the sentiment might be, there isn't anything there at this point that's salvageable. I couldn't get a good look at the turtle, but everything else is rotted, overgrown, and/or collapsed. Absolutely no way the Dipper can be restored at this point, as it's current conditions makes Leap the Dips before restoration look brand new.

Such a loss in so many, many ways.

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Sometimes it's up. Sometimes it's down.
But with God, life is one thrill ride that you'll never regret being on.

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Friday, June 14, 2002 9:27 AM
Why do they always burn the ballrooms? It seems like all the other parks that were burned in the past few years had the ballrooms hit. I bet it's a group of people all in on burning defunct parks' ballrooms or something. Morons.

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Friday, June 14, 2002 10:13 AM

As one oldster put it in one of the articles "they can't take away the memories". Three parks from my childhood are now gone, but I still have the memories. I think the one that saddens me most is Boblo Island and the Boblo Boats.

I only remember parts of Walled Lake, most specifically the roller coaster since it was my first ever ride on one.

Edgewater Park was in the middle of a neighborhood, and I'm sure was doomed even when I was going to it just from its location. But ah...memories of seeing Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy in the band shell...

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I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead

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Friday, June 14, 2002 4:54 PM

My mom told me she used to go there and that it's too bad I can't (I'm 22, so I'm too young to have enjoyed this park).

Millrace, thanks for the info. Which park did you mean? Americana?

Is there any possible way for people to encourage Chippewa Lake to reopen or for some investors to revamp the place?

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Saturday, June 15, 2002 5:33 AM
Jeff, thanks for pretty much calling me a hillbilly!I live right around that park! And youre calling everyone there hicks? Get a life man!

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Stop the lawyers, not the rides! *** This post was edited by RememberIdora on 6/15/2002. ***

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