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Lifestyle


Meyers Lake amusement park remembered
Like a lot of parks that existed the the mid-20th century, Meyers Lake was a popular spot for corporate picnics each summer
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI


Senior Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
Meyers Lake amusement park closed in 1974
Courtesy of McKinley Museum
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A new exhibition at the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in Canton looks at the ways Stark County residents entertained themselves in the 20th Century. That includes the German singing societies that were formed when the city first started, and balloon launches even before the Wright Brothers took flight.
But as WKSU’s Mark Urycki found, the items likely to attract most locals will be about an old-fashioned amusement park.

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McKinley museum Curator Kim Kenney wrote a book about the aviation pioneers in the Canton-based Aero Club of Ohio.  But she knows the exhibits that attract people will be about the long-gone amusement park in the northwest corner of the city.  "Meyers Lake was the gem of Canton and people just adored going there for a hundred years."

An amusement park was on the shores of Meyers Lake since the 1880’s. But what most people today recall is the park established there by George Sinclair in the 1920’s.

It had a wooden roller coaster called the Comet, a ride spinning on the ground called the Bug and one spinning in the air called the Butterfly. Most prominent was a large tower that flung three large chrome rocket ships on cables round and round out over the lake. Each rocket was about 20 feet long with four rows of seats.

One of the permanent exhibits at the McKinley is the Laffing Lady, or Laffing Sal, or Beulah, an automaton that stood outside the scary “Laff in the Dark” ride.  Kenney "one thing we wish we had - there is not one photograph of the Laughing Lady in her original location. We know when she came to us she was not wearing her original dress but we have no clue what her original dress looked like."

Theexhibition also features a restored cart that would transport people through the Laff in the Dark ride.  Like most of the older amusement parks of its day, Meyers Lake had a ballroom. And this one attracted notable talent in the 1940's like Tommy Dorsey and Gene Krupa.  The park suffered when companies that once held annual picnics there began cutting back. It closed in 1974 and there are little if any remnants left but collectors hold dear any parts or items from the park. The Meyers Lake carousel is still operating - in Hartford, Connecticut.  The Meyers Lake area is now a housing development.  

The exhibition, “That’s Entertainment,” runs through May 27th at the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in Canton. Museum Curator Kim Kenney is hosting a tea with a discussion of the exhibition March 19 from 10 until noon. 


Listener Comments:

When I was a kidd I went to School with GeGe Sinclair. We rode the rides and had a great time. Latter we were the kidds that had a closed down park to play in. How lucky was we. I talked with an old friend just the other day. This was a memory for a life time. He sed gist scuba do . I sed up the movie in the rocket's over the lake. What do you Remember


Posted by: Scott Gardner (Tampa Fl) on September 5, 2014 8:09AM
Our big summer outing was always a surpise trip to Myer's Lake Park. We would spend the day there leaving exhausted, but rode all the rides, played games and had great family time. It was all our family could afford with three children driving from New Philadelphia. It was such a sad day when I learned it was closing. Memories kept forever of Myers Lake Park.


Posted by: Jo Ann Moore Fesler (Myrtle Beach, SC) on January 14, 2014 8:01AM
I'm looking for information concerning the carousel at Meyers Lake. My question is where and when did it arrive at Meyers Lake. I know it was built in NY in 1914 where did it go after being built. and when did it arrive in OH.

Thank You


Posted by: Al (Canton) on August 28, 2013 8:08AM
I remember going every year with my girlfriend's Mom and Dad and their son and my cousin who was best friends with their son, the guys always took their girlfriends ( of course it was a different girl every year!) I never tried the roller coaster but remember that the silver rockets ride was a way to cool down on a really hot day. I also remember every year I played the "fish" game and always won a salt or pepper shaker, y poor Mom had a bunch of them. Great memories, I loved the pictures!


Posted by: Connie Allen Vinson (Meyers Lake) on June 27, 2013 10:06AM
My brother worked there right before they closed the park. His initiation was to "oil the tracks" of the Comet while 2 other guys held him by the ankles. Some fun!


Posted by: Nancy Stewart (Canton, Ohio) on April 28, 2013 7:04AM
I have great memories of Meyers Lake Park. My dad worked at Bliss Co. and later at B


Posted by: Jim Knight on March 9, 2013 11:03AM
In my mid-teens, I worked in the concessions in Myers Lake Park. (circa 1961-63). Also woring there was my sister, Rebecca Wharton, my Cousin "Chippy" Forest Myers, and my friend, Lee Mason, my Mother, Penni Wharton, and my father, Charles Robert Wharton. We worked 12 hour days with many work days running over that amount. Looking back, it was a privilege to be employed by George Sinclair, Jr. I never stole as much as a dime for a coke. Most of the kids did, however. I think they felt entitled.
They, George Sinclair and Howard somebody, used to make a couple of trips a day to collect all the money in wheel barrows that were heavy laden with proceeds. I worked in the games: darts, water pistols, Wheel of Fortune, Guess Your Weight, et al.
How dear Meyers Lake Amusement Park is to my store of memories.
C. Lamont Wharton


Posted by: C. Lamont Wharton (Phoenix, AZ) on August 24, 2012 10:08AM
No it wasn't Cedar Point, but when I was a kid growing up in East Sparta, it was the best place in the world to end up on a Sunday afternoon. I have very fond memories of Meyer's Lake. It is a real shame it couldn't have been saved. One time about 25 years ago while back visiting, I took my kids there, hoping to find something left to show them. No such luck, nothing remains. It was really hard for them to understand what was so great about the empty field we stood in, but the memories poured back in my mind while we stood there. The custard cones, the French waffles sifted with powdered sugar, the petunias everywhere, the old merry go round. Thank God Tuscora Park was saved. My kids remember going there when home for visits, just as much as the trips to Cedar Point.


Posted by: John Carpenter (Rochester, MN) on April 25, 2012 7:04AM
What memories this story brings back. No it wasn't Cedar Point, but it was good, affordabe fun for those who lived within driving distance. My then girl friend and I, later wife, used to ride the Comet again and again. My father worked 40 years at Timken Co. I am 62, but I will always remember those times at Meyer's Lake. Thanks for remembering.


Posted by: Tom Wallace (Lakeville, Ohio 44638) on March 19, 2012 7:03AM
Thank you for bringing back many fond memories of Myers Lake Park. We would ride the comet all day long.


Posted by: diana shirey (canton,ohio) on March 19, 2012 3:03AM
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