1895 - Euclid Beach Park opens. The Euclid Beach Park Company, owners of the park, had erected a fence surrounding the property, located eight miles east of Cleveland on the southern shore of Lake Erie. Admission was charged for patrons to enjoy a beer garden, games of chance, and a few mechanical amusement rides.
1899 - The Humphrey Family opens a popcorn concession at Euclid Beach Park but decides to leave after one season due to the unsavory atmosphere, the beer garden, side shows, and gambling.
1901 - Euclid Beach Park goes bankrupt, Mr. D. S. Humphrey learns of this while on a business trip in Chicago. He immediately returns to Cleveland. He offers the bankers a proposition. He cannot afford to purchase the property outright but offers to rent it. His premise is that turning it into a family-oriented attraction will succeed. The bankers, having nothing to lose, agree to his offer. The fencing around the property comes down, the park goes dry, and there is now free admission. Before 1/3 of the 1901 season was completed, the park was so successful that the Humphrey Family had purchased eighty (80%) percent of the company stock.
1902 - The Humphrey Family negotiated an agreement with the streetcar company to reduce passenger prices and charge a single fare. The new Euclid Beach Park advertising slogan became, "One Fare, Free Gate, No Beer".
1904 - The "Log Cabin" is moved to the park. It was originally the Forestry Building built for the Pan American Exposition held in Buffalo, New York in 1901. It served as a company or community picnic headquarters and as a dance hall.
1904 - The Roller Rink is built.
1907 - The Humphrey Family open the Elysium, an indoor ice skating rink located at East 107th and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio.
1909 - A new roller coaster met park patrons. Originally called the "New Velvet Coaster" it would eventually be called the "Aero Dips".
1910 - A new carousel is installed, replacing the one installed in 1905, machine No. 9 made by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC). The new carousel was also made by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, machine No. 19. Around the mid-1930's, Euclid Beach added a second "R: to the ride's name "CARROUSEL".
1912 - The Humphrey Family uses another of their inventions, a concrete pumping and pouring machine, to crate entire buildings as well as the pier and base for a circular pool. In later years a water fountain was added to the pool.
1913 - The "Derby Racer" roller coaster was built. The name was later changed to the "Racing Coaster". Two trains raced side by side on parallel tracks. One train was painted red, the other was painted green. After each race or ride they seemed to have switched tracks; a train starting on the west side of the loading station finished on the east side and vice versa. The ride was a single track with the trains traveling only half the track's length each time.
1921 - A water gravity ride is added. Named the "Mill Chute" it was manufactured by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company.
1921 - The "Great American Racing Derby" was also added. It was a carousel-like ride except that besides moving up and down, the four rows of horses also moved forward and backward as in a horse race. The ride was manufactured by Prior and Church. The ride was sold to Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio in 1965 and still operates there today as "Cedar Downs".
1921 - The automobile is no longer a novelty and more parking is needed. The main entrance Arch is constructed.
1924 - The "Thriller" roller coaster opened, designed by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company.
1930 - The "Flying Turns" is built. Designed by John Miller and J. N. Bartlett. Three articulated coaster cars free wheeled in an open barrel similar to a bob-sled.
1933 - Cleveland radio personality Tom Manning of radio station WTAM broadcasts an actual ride on the "Flying Turns" using an early battery powered transmitter.
1933 - Dudley Sherman Humphrey II dies at his home on the grounds of Euclid Beach Park. He was 81 years old. Leadership of the amusement park was passed to Dudley's son, Harvey.
1935 - The "Funscience Hall" opened, a walk through fun house that would see it's name changed to the "Surprise House". The public could see through the center of the building's facade and watch ride patrons attempting to walk over an arched moving walkway. At both outer sides of the facade, behind glass were a laughing man and a laughing woman swaying to and fro encouraging people to enter the "Surprise House". A fire in the "Surprise House" damaged the man who was removed and never replaced. The laughing woman survived and along with the main entrance "Arch" she remains another park icon. "Laughing Sal" occasionally makes appearances in the Greater Cleveland Area.
1937 - The "Mill Chute" under went alterations, the height of the drop was increased from 30 feet to 37 feet plus the inclination of the decent was changed from 20 degrees to 50 degrees. A new route for the channel was also dug. All the work done by Euclid Beach Park employees. With the changes came a new name, " Over the Falls".
1943 - During World War II Euclid Beach Park would occasionally open from 11:00 p.m. to 3 a.m. for local Clevelanders working long hours for the war effort.
1957 - The "Rotor" took over the spot that was occupied by the "Bubble Bounce". The rides opening was broadcast on a local Cleveland television station, KYW.
1962 - "Turnpike" opened, self driven, small, gasoline powered cars.
1964 - The "Roller Rink" was close, "Antique Autos" were installed inside the structure.
1964 - "Swingin' Gyms" installed near the ballroom.
1964 - Sometime after the park closed for the 1964 season, the "Aero Dips" roller coaster was razed.
1966 - Between the 1965 and 1966 season the "Great American Racing Derby" was removed, sold to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. It operates at the park to this day as "Cedar Downs". In its place for the 1966 season was a "Ferris Wheel" and "Tilt-A-Whirl".
1966 - Also, removed and sold was the "Dippy Whip" replaced with the "Coffee Break".
1969 - September 28th, the last day the park operated.
1978 - The Humphrey Company opens a new, smaller amusement park in Streetsboro, Ohio named Shady Lake Park. Rides at this park consist of all the kiddieland rides tha were located in the Colonnade (see Note), the Flying Scooters, Turnpike, Antique Autos, Ferris Wheel, Tilt-A-Whirl and Sleepy Hollow Railroad (miniature train). Also relocated to the new park were many of old Euclid Beach's green park benches, fencing and some signage. Adjacent to the park a building was erected where the Humphrey Company continued to manufacture their famous popcorn, popcorn balls and candy kisses. These items were available for purchase at Shady Lake Park and were now distributed to local grocery store chains for resale.
Note: The Colonnade was a large, 240' X 180' structure. It was erected in 1924 utilizing the Humphrey's own process of pouring cement. Besides kiddieland also under it's roof were; a lunch stand, souvenir stand, frozen custard stand and picnic tables.
1982 - The Humphrey Company, still family owned, decided to consentrate on it's popcorn business so in 1982 Shady Lake Park closed. Just about everything that was at the park found its way to a small amusement park located near Thortown, Indiana, Old Indiana Fun Park which closed in 1996. An auction was held at the park and all of the items from Euclid Beach Park were sold off.
The Humphrey Company moved its factory to Warrensville Heights, Ohio where it expanded into mail order. Available are, "Popcorn Gifts and Memories of Euclid Beach Park". Their web site is, http://www.humphreycompany.com/servlet/StoreFront.
COMPETITION - OTHER CLEVELAND AMUSEMENT PARKS
Opened on May 18, 1905, East side of Cleveland, Woodhill Road and Woodland Avenue. Closed at the end of the 1929 season.
Published by the Cleveland News Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Opened in 1905 on the shore of Lake Erie at East 140th Street, the site of Manhattan Beach Park. Sold to new owners and opened as Cleveland Beach Park in 1909. Opened in 1911 as Bay Park and soon closed.
Puritas Springs Park
Located on the West side of Cleveland above Rocky River Valley, opened in 1898. Closed in 1958.
Geauga Lake Park
Opened to the public on June 20, 1925 in Aurora, Ohio. Purchased in 1968 by Funtime, Inc. Premier Parks, Inc (later known as Six Flags) purchased Geauga Lake from Funtime, Inc. in the mid 1990's. When the park opened for it's 2000 season the name was changed to Six Flags Ohio. Early 2004 Cedar Fair purchased the park and reverted back to the park's original name, Geauga Lake Park.
Within a week after the 2007 season, Cedar Fair announces that the park would be downsized. The water park would open for the 2008 season, the amusements would not, instead they would be auctioned off.
Other Amusement Parks
Scenic Park - Rocky River, OH near Clifton Blvd. Rocky River Valley
Lincoln Park - 1906, site of Scenic Park
Forest City Park
Willoughbeach Park -1907/1925
Gordon Gardens - 1923/1927 East 72nd Street
Orchard Lake Park - 1927/Depression Northfield and Peninsula Roads
Mentor Beach Playland
Kiddie Playland - During the 1950's Northfield Road
Cleveland Zoo Kiddie Park - 1950's/1970's
Memphis Kiddie Park - 1952 to present. Brooklyn, OH, Memphis Avenue
Cleveland Amusement Park Memories, David and Diane Francis, Copyright 2004
Gray & Company Publishers, Cleveland, Ohio
Geauga Lake: Today and Forever, Web Site, Park History