Defunct Amusement Parks

Here at Neatorama, we've previously covered the eerie world of abandoned amusement parks. Joel W. Styer is assembling a comprehensive list of defunct US amusement parks, sorted by state, including pictures and video where available. Pictured above is a roller coaster from Chippewa Lake Park, Ohio, which closed in 1978. Photographer Dave Sandborg writes of his exploration of the park in 1997:

As for the condition of the coaster, it actually didn't look that bad from a distance. Most of the structure seems intact, except for a few missing handrails. The wood seemed in surprisingly good condition, given how long it's been neglected. I'm not a good person to judge how easy it would be to move or reconstruct this coaster, but I could clearly see several major problems. First, the ground near the back end of the coaster is pretty waterlogged. Second, there is one spot where a tree has completely fallen over the track and wrecked it. Third, the undergrowth around the coaster would be a major problem. There were trees growing straight through the brake run tracks. Finally, the cars themselves were in terrible shape.


Link via Hell in a Handbasket | Photo: Dave Sandborg

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I can only speak for Chippewa Lake, but they have been planning to tear it down for years now. The land was bought and there are plans for a hotel/resort next to the lake, but the whole project is on hold for financial reasons. They brought in bulldozes and ripped out all the trees, but the rides are still standing in this flat muddy wasteland. It's been that way for probably two years now and I don't know when they expect to start up again, probably not until the economy picks up quite a bit.

Remoteness is a big reason you'll see a lot of defunct amusement parks in the Midwest. Before places like Cedar Point and Six Flags, lots of small towns each had their own tiny amusement parks. You'd find one every couple towns and they each had maybe one roller coaster and a few smaller rides and a midway, etc. When the big parks came along, all the community parks went out of business, but they're just tucked away in little pockets of these semi-rural areas where there's not a lot of development going on. Chippewa Lake, because it's on the lake, had more land value as a possible resort area, so it's one of the few areas that is being developed.
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I posted in the upcoming queue a while ago about abandoned amusement park in North Korea. It never made it but thought it had some interesting and creepy photos.
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