Ohio has rich roller coaster history

Posted Tuesday, August 1, 2017 10:08 AM | Contributed by Jeff

As coasters go, Ohio has had an embarrassment of riches. With Cedar Point, Kings Island and Geauga Lake producing legendary rides, Ohio has been the envy of coaster enthusiasts for decades.

Read more and see photos from The Plain Dealer.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 10:47 AM

Mmmm... a few inaccuracies here and there, and a few glaring omissions, but overall a good reminder of what we used to have here in Ohio.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 11:01 AM

I find it kinda funny the people claim that Geauga Lake brought in a ton of crowds, but in every photo from Geauga Lake, there were multiple empty rows on every train, specifically on Dominator, Villain, Thunderhawk, X-Flight, and even 2 rows on Big Dipper. No way a park can be crowded and not even full the trains of their most popular rides.

Last edited by Go Intamin, Tuesday, August 1, 2017 11:04 AM
Tuesday, August 1, 2017 11:23 AM

Geauga was a locally popular park for decades, and did a nice business with picnics and days in the park for organizations and companies. The lack of filled trains during the Six Flags era says more about what Six Flags did wrong than what Geauga did right during all those decades.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 6:22 PM

Omission? LeSourdsville. Most thrilling of the John Millers I've been fortunate enough to ride.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 9:05 PM

LeSourdesville's Screechin' Eagle is the last one on the list.

The inclusion of Avalanche Run, essentially twice, is easily the weirdest choice here. It was neither beloved nor legendary nor grieved nor any of the other words used therein.

Of all these, I'm most disappointed I was never able to visit Idora Park.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 9:54 PM

Idora was awesome. Not in the big, splashy theme park sense, far from it. Not in the quaint Kennywood or Idlewild way, either. It was a small neighborhood amusement park that always seemed to be standing on one and a half legs. But it had one of the most kick-ass coasters that ever lived. Seriously, one of the most thrilling, closer to dangerous experiences I've ever had on a ride. It's a good thing I was a lot younger then because now I'd probably be havin' none of that.

Missing notables are Myers Lake, Chippewa, Olentangy, and where the hell is Coney Island? I realize the PD is a northern Ohio paper, but they thought to include KI. And I also know it's not intended to be a comprehensive list...

Anyway, it would be difficult to approach an article like that. For us today, parks are big, all day destinations. Back in the day they were afternoon and evening diversions at the end of the trolley line. Busy enough places, but strictly for locals. I know at one time there were nine different amusement parks just in Columbus. So when you can't list em all it's better to go with those that people will likely have a recollection of, if for no other reason than park name alone.

By the way, Lesourdsville's ride beared the name Cyclone when I took my first coaster ride ever around '60, '61. (Hated it) Shooting Sky Rocket didn't show up on the sign until sometime in the 70's. (Loved it)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 11:00 AM

I was really young when Idora was open, never got to ride the Jack Rabbit or Wildcat. 🙁 An old neighbor on the street I grew up on bought one of the Wildcat cars from the auction. It sat in his garage for years, and I was amazed how there were no seat belts. Just a fixed position bar in front of the seat. Crazy.

Thursday, August 3, 2017 8:52 AM

The Wildcat was one of the few coasters I couldn't ride twice in a row.

Idora was small but had a nice selection of rides.

Thursday, August 3, 2017 9:18 AM

Idora's Wildcat was the first coaster I ever rode. I was very young, taken on the ride by my mother, and have no memory of it. (But I'll still take a coaster credit for it :-) )

My mother and I went on a coaster trip in the 90's into Pennsylvania and stopped at Idora on the way back to Michigan. It was bittersweet to be on the property and touching to hear my mother recall experiences at the park when it was open.

Thursday, August 3, 2017 9:37 AM

I've never gone back. In the past I've gone near on the way to Knoebels and I've had the urge, but couldn't really find a reason to make myself stop.
Plus it's in Youngstown, so....

I've often wondered what would've happened to the place if there had been no fire. Likely it would be gone by now anyway, it's no secret it was living on borrowed time. But it might be the chance to take some real, authentic vintage rides forgotten by time and progress. (Like Lakeside). There were Circle Ships, Dodgem, Flying Scooters, Bug, a Cascade water chute... all those might still be there. Plus their three wooden coasters, a kiddie, a former side friction, and the Wildcat, the likes of which we will never see again.

Last edited by RCMAC, Thursday, August 3, 2017 9:39 AM
Thursday, August 3, 2017 9:43 AM

jkpark said:

I was really young when Idora was open, never got to ride the Jack Rabbit or Wildcat. 🙁 An old neighbor on the street I grew up on bought one of the Wildcat cars from the auction. It sat in his garage for years, and I was amazed how there were no seat belts. Just a fixed position bar in front of the seat. Crazy.

Even though it's not a great coaster by any stretch of the imagination, I think no seat belts is one of the reasons that I still ride the Big Dipper at Camden Park. Just a good 'ol fashioned bar, like how I rode many of the coasters that are still around today that added seat belts, like the Beast, The Racer (KI) and even Woodstock Express.

I'm sure it has been discussed here before, but why have seat belts on coasters that were deemed safe enough without them to begin with?

Last edited by extremecoasterdad, Thursday, August 3, 2017 9:44 AM
Friday, August 4, 2017 10:17 AM


Friday, August 4, 2017 1:33 PM

One reason I like Kennywood so much is none of their rides, except Phantom's Revenge, have seatbelts. Adds an extra thrill.

Also, Busch Gardens Williamsburg only has seatbelts on Griffon and Alpengeist (if you don't count the dumb "comfort" collars on Tempesto), which is great.

Friday, August 4, 2017 2:35 PM

Yeah, about that Kennywood seatbelt thing...

Last edited by Raven-Phile, Friday, August 4, 2017 2:35 PM
Friday, August 4, 2017 4:10 PM

Didn't they replace Jackrabbit's leather strap with a mood-killing seat belt a few years ago? It's not too bad as I recall, you can still keep it fairly loose for some double-down delight.

Friday, August 4, 2017 5:24 PM

Forgot about jack rabbit. The seatbelt can be loosened really easily, and it's super sketchy.


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