Select Page

Amusement Park

Chippewa Lake Park – A Glimpse into the Past

By GAYLE FOSTER, President, Chippewa Lake Ohio Historical Society


What began as a “pleasure resort” that offered fishing, swimming, camping, and relaxation soon evolved into an amusement park complete with a primitive coaster, swings, and a picnic grove. By 1878, the site had evolved into a full amusement park on the shore of Chippewa Lake in Lafayette Township under the leadership of Mac Beach from Seville. As time passed, Mac’s infant son, Parker, grew and eventually took the reins, and Chippewa Lake Park became a thriving operation drawing thousands from all parts of Northeast Ohio and beyond.

In the early days, folks traveled by train and the Interurban rails. As cars became more popular, families rediscovered the area as a place to escape the heat of the city. Cottage rentals and campgrounds were popular. Swimming, boating, fishing, and the thrill of the carnival-like midway entertained young and old alike. Businesses from Akron, Cleveland, Canton, Wooster, Medina, and in between offered employees a day of fun and games every summer with a “company picnic.” Medina County schools closed for one day each spring to offer “Nickle Day,” a much anticipated and fondly-remembered event.

Highlights of Chippewa Lake Park included boat rides from the self-driven Putt-Putt boats to Miss Chippewa, a launch that carried as many as fifty guests on a leisurely ride around the lake, to the speedboats Dynamite and Firecracker that offered a more thrilling adventure.

Evening ballroom dancing offered everything from square dancing to swaying to the Big Band music of famed orchestras such as Lawrence Welk, Benny Goodman, the Dorseys (with Frank Sinatra), Glenn Miller, and Vaughn Miller, to name a few.  In its final years, rock and roll bands like Paul Revere and the Raiders, Tommy James and the Shondells, Herman’s Hermits, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Lovin’ Spoonful, Neil Diamond, and many more, had their times at Chippewa.

Sadly, it all came to a halt when “the Park” closed for the season in 1978, never to reopen.