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John Peck's Retro Photo Trip Reports


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Americana was a park NW of Kings Island. It was a picnic park around a man-made lake for the most part and had a handful of very nice rides. The park had a pool and kiddie pool area and well over a dozen picnic pavillions. A small park called "Fantasy Farm" used to sit right next to Americana, and that closed in the mid 80's.

 

Americana (formally LeSourdsville Lake, and changed back again) was home to the Classic 1927 John Miller Screechin Eagle - which was moved here in the 1930's from Moxihala Park. Americana was purchased by Cincinnati's Coney Island Parent Company, "Park River West" in 1996 and was operated until after the 1999 season when they gave up on it.

 

In 2001, Jerry Couch, owner of Couch's Campers Purchased the park with the intend to open it to it's former glory. He hired well-known operator Pugh Amusements to operate the rides and concessions as Jerry really didn't know what he was getting himself into. Jerry's plan was also to move his campers site and place it next to the park which is there still.

 

Though Pugh shows operated the current rides, they came in and set up a few of their own including a Zipper, Music Express, Tip Top, kiddie bumper car and Huss Pirate.

 

The park opened in 2002 and had a positive effect on the locals. They loved having their park back. Pugh shows had their own painting division, and began putting a lot of work into the old rides. He even purchased The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalks old "Wave Jammer" ride and set it up, though it never ran. He also told me he was looking into buying a huge Ferris Wheel for the park.

 

However, not all was well with Pugh shows. Money began disappearing, paychecks were bouncing and Jeff Pugh somehow had a lot of fingers pointed towards him. I do know for a fact that he spent $100,000 to re-track the Screechin' Eagle.

 

Jerry who spent little to no time at the park, found himself there a lot at the end of 2002 going through books and watching over his team.

 

He eventually would throw Pugh out, keeping his rides and searching for an operator which he never found. He called it quits a few years later and sold off many of the rides, but there are a few still there, including the coaster, giant slide and a few others.

 

Currently, the man-made lake has been filled in and he uses the land for summer camps, or so I've been told.

 

Below are some photos I took for the park commercially. They hired me to design the park brochure and marketing and I was gathering pictures to do so. Other than photos, I never got anything else done on the project because of the closure, I didn't get paid either for taking those, but thats okay, because they let me go enjoy the park after I finished. So in a way, I bartered for them.

 

I only have a few photos scanned, I have a bunch more, but the park had a Whip, a Calypso (relocated to Fun Spot), a Super Round Up (relocated to Stricker's Grove), a Chance Carousel, a pool, Tilt A Whirl, Tip Top, many kiddie rides, sky-ride and a ferry boat.

 

EDIT: For some reason, not all of my pictures wanted to load, so I need to work through them some more

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Heres a copy of a small map i found online its from 1997.

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Scrambler.. this ran at 12rpm... most should only run at 11

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Looking towards the front of the park

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Log Flume.. you'd get soaked on this

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The Flyers and HUSS Pirate (One of Jeff Pughs Portable Rides... and still on-site)

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These Flyers went to Fun Spot in Indiana

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I count myself as fortunate for being able to visit this park before it closed... sadly, it was when I was much younger and could not really ride anything. I hope that it can reopen one day (as it would become the closest park to me when at home), but I'm not holding my breath. What I would've given for a chance on the Screechin' Eagle!

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Though I never visited myself, many of my friends went on a regular basis and had a great time. It was also a cheaper destination for the chior and band trips for those groups around my area.

 

About two years ago I was getting lost trying to get to a Kroger meeting and wound up driving past the old park. You could still see a few rides from the road, sad really.

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Some good memories from my two trips in 2002. Screachin' Eagle is THE BEST "standup" wooden coaster ever. The airtime was so furious that it forced you to stand!

 

I loved that park. It's a shame it is still sitting idle.

 

~Rob Willi

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  • 1 month later...

A group of us made a trip to New England in 2003 and were able to tour the closed Whalom Park.

 

Yes.. we did have permission to go inside the park... it was actually a nice treat. We were only going to take a few shots while we walked around the perimeter of the park, and this nice guy, who actually was the head maintenance, saw us and asked if we would like to see inside. So he unlocked the gate, and let us in for about an hour. He was optimistic that the park would reopen, but The Coaster Motor had been sold and several rides were taken out.

 

Rides On Site Then:

Scrambler

Flyer Comet (Trains on site.. no picts)

Carousel

Clown Bounce

Roto Jet

Satellite Jet

Paratrooper

 

Rides I knew were Missing:

Tilt A Whirl

All Kiddie Rides

Sea Dragon

Yo Yo

Round Up

Ferris Wheel

Tumble Bug

Flying Scooter

 

Whalom Park ran until 2000 and after the park closed, they began to sell off the rides. Vandals broke in and burnt down the Ballroom around 2002.

 

I'm not sure what is in the parks place now, but I know it was bulldozed a few years ago to make way for Condo's... I'm not sure if they ever got built.

 

Now.. onto the pictures...

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These gates would never reopen to the public

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Waterslides near the lake

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Flyer Comet from the back parking lot. I think the park had 3 small lots

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Winterized Scrambler (This ran backwards)

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Inside the entrance (note the Rocketship Car)

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Roto-Jets

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Paratrooper

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Round-Up site

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Midway

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Carousel Building and Looper (the power had been cut to this ride one week earlier.. otherwise he would have let us try it)

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Clown Bounce (The ride platform was made of Wood)

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This Satellite Jet ride came from Palisades Park in New Jersey

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Whip Building

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Flyer Comet Station

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The Flyer Comet Coaster with the Former Tumble Bug Foundation

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Coaster

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  • 2 weeks later...

I fixed the LeSourdsville Pict's.

 

Does anybody know if the ever built the condos on the Whalom Property?

 

Has the Carousel Pavilion and the two other remaining building been razed yet as well? They were given the green light to do so I think about 2 years ago, shortly after bulldozing most of the park.

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