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Amusement Parks: Conneaut Lake Park – a Potted History

Jenkinson’s Broadwalk / Steel Pier / Seaworld San Antonio / The Kemah Boardwalk 

Conneaut Lake Park is an amusement park located in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania.

The amusement park began life as Exposition Park way back in 1892 and was simply a summer picnic area to take advantage of the lake nearby. A carousel was added to the amusement park closely followed by other rides and a midway but a fire practically destroyed it in 1908.

The amusement park changed its name to Conneaut Lake Park in 1920 and its image was transformed too with many more rides and other amusements added to reflect the changing times. However, with the area more famous for being a hotel resort as opposed to a traditional amusement park, more tragedy befell it when, in 1943, a large part of the Hotel Conneaut was also destroyed in a fire. 

The amusement park tried adding other attractions throughout the 1960s and subsequent decades, such as Fairyland Forest, but by the 1990s, the amusement park was suffering from a steep decline in the number of visitors and due to increased competition which, inevitably, led to it closing down for a year in 1995. Then, just a year later, what had been hoped for as a ‘saviour’ in the shape of an Ohio businessman, Gary Harris, turned out to be a false dawn when he was convicted of tax evasion. After a long legal battle, he ultimately relinquished ownership of the amusement park to a court appointed trustee but throughout the 2000s, problems with finance and the lack of investment meant that the amusement park was closed again for the summer of 2007.

However, as of 2009, the amusement park’s fortunes have turned around for the better and it reopened on Memorial Day weekend that year with the hotel, the Beach Club, Camperland and the amusement park itself all being open. 

The amusement park has around 29 rides, including 3 roller coasters and 2 water rides. Its most popular rides include Skydiver, Witches Brew, Flying Scooters and Devils Den. In 2010, the amusement park is also hard at work trying to raise funds to restore its magnificent Blue Streak wooden roller coaster.

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