Willow Beach Roller Coaster, 1934
Print features Blade Archive original Toledo News-Bee photo of the popular roller coaster at the former Willow Beach Park — includes digitized authentic Blade nameplate from the original date and caption text contextualizing the event. (Customization available.)
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CAPTION TEXT ON PRINT:
Willow Beach Park, Aug. 25, 1934, near Summit and 101st-105th streets in Point Place.
The Willow Beach amusement park opened in 1929, with the help of a group of Toledo businessmen, including casino and gambling house operator Jimmy Hayes. In addition to the popular roller coaster, the park had a twirling seaplane ride, a centipede ride, bumper cars, a fun house, and a dance pavilion that was also used as a roller-skating rink. The park also had a large sandy beach that offered swimming, sunbathing, and boat rides.
Swept by fire in 1932, then partially rebuilt by 1934, the park operators let their lease expire, and it reverted back to the original landowner, Frank Lux, who did his best to keep the park going. In 1937, the land was annexed into Toledo. In 1947, a 17-year old girl fell from the front seat of the roller coaster and died. The park never quite recovered from the tragedy. It was abandoned by 1949.
The City of Toledo bought up to 15 acres of the former amusement park property in 1954 for $50,000. It became a boating and fishing area, and a seaplane ramp was converted into a boat launch. The park and marina are now named Cullen Park after Edward D. Cullen, a Toledo city councilman from 1917-1922.
BLADE ARCHIVE PHOTOS/TOLEDO NEWS-BEE