Geauga Lake was an amusement park located in Aurora, Ohio that operated for 120 years and was loved by all who visited there. Geauga Lake changed ownership several times over the years, and was once part of Sea World Ohio, operating on the lake for a span of over 30 years until finally finishing that stint in 2007. Although Sea World closed that location, the park continued to operate in conjunction with Wildwater Kingdom water park until 2016. The amusement park was vastly immense, situated on approximately 650 acres of land.
The closing of Geauga Lake was finalized on September 17th, 2017 with the dedication of an official Ohio historical marker in honor of Geauga Lake and the neighborhood that surrounds it. This marker was placed on Route 43 immediately south of the Geauga Lake Park ballroom near the lakeside property of the Geauga Lake Improvement Association. One of the famous Ohio amusement parks, Geauga Lake Park was established in the 1880’s by local residents who built a complex including a dance hall, picnic grounds, and other facilities and was initially called Picnic Lake Park.
Facts About Abandoned Ohio Geauga Lake Park
The neighborhood surrounding Geauga Lake flourished in the decades of the 1910’s and 1920’s and was very popular as a tourist attraction for big city dwellers who wanted to get away to the country for brief periods of time in the summer months. After the end of WWII, the neighborhood made a transition to housing people throughout the entire year and the GLIA continued on to be the guardian of surrounding areas.
The 650 acres of land that comprised the Geauga Lake Park as it was known has now seen all of the structures that once stood on the land as part of the park demolished. The iconic and beautiful Big Dipper wooden roller coaster, once known as the one of America’s oldest standing roller coasters, was finally demolished in the Autumn of 2016. The only remaining feature left from the original park area is the ballroom, and a desperate race is underway to save it from demolition by finding a new buyer for its redevelopment.
The Ohio Historical Marker program encompasses 1,500 markers throughout the state, and now the Geauga Lake marker has been added to that list. The marker commemorating the Geauga Lake Park grounds is double sided and formally recognizes the park as a formerly vital and transformative part of the history of the region. At the commemoration, people came from all over Northeast Ohio, and there was extensive coverage by radio, newspapers, and television stations throughout the regional area.
Geauga Lake: Memories and Reactions by Locals
At the commemoration ceremony, there was a group of people who are forming a project to create a documentary about Geauga Lake park and the area of Ohio that surrounds it. There were a number of speakers including Kudley Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin, the president of the GLIA, Mike Thal, the Chairman of the Aurora Landmark Commission, Jeff Clark, and a representative of the Ohio Historical Marker Program, Becki Trivison. It was reported that there was a large attendance and the weather was cooperative.
There were some groups of people who were trying to get petitions formed to be signed to try and avoid the closing of the park previous to the commemoration, and locals who grew up in the area would recount treasured memories to each other about experiences as young people with the park. Well-loved and hard to let go of was the Geauga Lake Park, and it’s closing has been generally looked at as a very unfortunate event, and there has been reports of darker forces at work that led to the closing.
In some reports it has been stated that it was nothing but greed that led to the closure of the Geauga Lake Park area and that no concern for the areas residents or their wishes was shown by those who were in charge of making the decisions about the fate of the cherished park and its wonderful history. Unsubstantiated reports often surface when things go awry in many situations, but there are citizens talking in the area and some are having a difficult time letting it all go.
The truth about what has happened that lead to the closure of Geauga Lake Park may not fully be known, and there is some controversy afoot about the nature of it’s demise. The future of the ballroom is up in the air, but many locals are rallying to affect the salvation of at least this one remnant of the historic park. If people won’t release their heritage without a fight there is little wonder why, and the fight for the ballroom to be left as a legacy of the once magnificent park is still being waged.