Remembering The Golden Age Of Central Ohio’s Amusement Parks

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Some of the top amusement parks used to be a street car ride away.

The destinations were situated at the end of each street car line. However, with the end of the Great Depression, came the end of the common amusement park in Ohio.

Street car lines spread throughout the heart of Columbus. Most people used the cars on their way to work and back, leading companies to think up a way to attract customers for rides during off hours.

Amusement parks featured dance halls, boat docks, zoos, rides and other attractions.

One of the largest amusement parks at that time was the Olentangy Park.

“It was the kind of place that, in an age where people generally took the street cars just about everywhere, this was the place where you ended up on a nice night in the summer,” author and historian Ed Lentz said.

The last building of the Olentangy Park burned down in the 1080s. Some original parts remain to this day, such as the fence with the distinctive O-symbol and the renovated “Merry Go Round,” purchased by the Columbus Zoo.

A park that provided mainly water entertainment was the Indianola Park, located on the east side of Ohio’s campus.

With the goal to attract more people toward the neighborhood properties, the park offered a large swimming pool, a bath house and later, a dance hall, a vaudeville theater and multiple rides.

Ultimately, the Indianola Park, as well as other parks, faded during the Great Depression and what is left is the former bathhouse, which today is a church.

Throughout the first four decades of the 1900s, Ohio saw a variety of parks rise and fall, leaving behind only memories.

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