Why were there so many amusement parks in Ohio?

Thursday, October 16, 2008 7:41 AM

I noticed from being on these forms that there was allot of amusement parks in Ohio. Was there a big market for that sort of entertainment in Ohio or was that just normal all over the country at that time?

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Thursday, October 16, 2008 8:38 AM

I've never read any research on it...but I'll take a stab, being from Ohio and all.

I think the fact that Ohio was a blue collar, industrial state had something to do with it. Amusement parks back then tended to appeal to that demographic more than to the uber-wealthy on the east coast.

Then you also have the lakefront which certainly brought about tourism in general. It made sense that you would have amusement parks set up right on the lakeshore.

Ohio also had a pretty good transportation system with trains connecting cities, inner city trolleys, the liners on Lake Erie and so forth.

But, I think it was the steel/automotive/rubber business...along with the likes of the NRCs and airplane manufacturing companies of the Dayton/Cincinatti areas that drove the success of amusement parks in the Buckeye State.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008 9:04 AM

When I think of amusement states I think of Pennsylvania.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008 9:37 AM

Ohio and PA both were very middle class, industrial states, with a great many rail lines that could get people out of the city. It became very common place to take weekend excursions out of the city to these places. Most were out in the burbs of major cities, like Idora outside of Youngstown, Chippewa Lake outside of Cleveland/Akron, Buckeye Lake outside of Columbus, etc.

Ohio had an enormous number of parks at one time, but swings in the economy over the last hundred years, interstates and culture eventually made most of them obsolete.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008 1:18 PM

I'll also add that states like Ohio and Pennsylvania did (and still have) several major population centers which are relatively evenly placed throughout the state. In Ohio you have Cincy, Dayton, Columbus, and the entire Cleveland/Lake Erie expanse of cities and suburbs, and of course many smaller towns. While those markets do tend to overlap quite a bit, it also means that entertainment options are not concentrated around an individual metropolitan area. Back in the days before American car culture had proliferated people didn't have the means to travel across the state to go to an amusement park so lower-order towns were able to support a park.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008 1:22 PM

Spoken like a true Urban Geographer. :)

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Thursday, October 16, 2008 3:32 PM

^^What Toledo isnt good enough to warrent a spot on your list? Umbridge sir, umbridge.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008 4:09 PM

Toledo would be included in that Cleavland/Lake Erie stretch of places I was thinking of there. :)

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Thursday, October 16, 2008 4:41 PM

Cleveland has the Rock Hall, Science Museum, Browns, Cavs, Indians and Drew Carey.

Toledo has the Mudhens, Jeep and Jamie Farr.

Cleveland wins.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008 4:49 PM

Clevland and Toledo are 1.5 hours away with a bunch of rural area between them. Its like saying that Philadelphia is part of New York City.

And by the way wahoo, we dont have the Browns ergo we win by default.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008 6:26 PM

You guys forget about the world-class zoo in Toledo. This is oppsed to CP in Sandusky, which is just a zoo on weekends.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008 9:44 PM

wahoo skipper said:
Cleveland has the Rock Hall, Science Museum, Browns, Cavs, Indians and Drew Carey.

Toledo has the Mudhens, Jeep and Jamie Farr.

Cleveland wins.

Toledo's also getting the Walleyes next fall-- who were almost going to be called the Peckerheads, but that's another story. :)

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Friday, October 17, 2008 2:22 AM

Peckerheads....You are kidding right?

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Friday, October 17, 2008 8:27 AM

Well, the Browns knocked off the Super Bowl champs last Monday night so I'm not complaining. Also, the Browns have one of the largest fan bases in the NFL and is the only fan base that was able to pressure the NFL into giving them their team (with colors, history, etc) back after a move.

Toledo Zoo is nice...but so too is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo...and the Metroparks system in general is one of the jewels in community park systems in the country.

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Friday, October 17, 2008 10:20 AM

Hey Wahoo Skipper actually Eli Manning beat the Giants with his horrible play not the Brownies!

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Friday, October 17, 2008 10:52 AM

Bring it back to amusement parks, please.

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Friday, October 17, 2008 11:30 AM

Touchdown said:
Clevland and Toledo are 1.5 hours away with a bunch of rural area between them. Its like saying that Philadelphia is part of New York City.

I was referring to the southern shore of Lake Erie regionally. We were talking about Ohio specifically but for purposes of the discussion I could have just as easily been referring to everything between Detroit to Buffalo.


And speaking regionally you could make a fine case saying Philadelphia is part of New York City. Actually for the purposes of talking about the geography of amusement parks it could be useful to consider everything between Boston and Washington D.C. part of New York City.

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Friday, October 17, 2008 12:12 PM

This question is phrased backwards - shouldn't be "why did Ohio (and PA) have so many parks", but rather "why didn't other states have more?" IMO, the answer lies in the history of transportation....Henry Ford killed the first Golden Age! ;)

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Friday, October 17, 2008 12:44 PM

I think the larger a city is, the more difficult and expensive it is to get out to the sticks where the parks usually were. So in this area, where the cities are generally smaller and more spread out, getting out to a park was a matter of minutes versus hours.

That, of course, along with the prosperity and associated trolley lines.

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Friday, October 17, 2008 2:09 PM

We had Edgewater and Walled Lake in the Detroit area, along with Boblo (Canadian).

Of course, by the late 1960's, Cedar Point became the park of choice.

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