For 100 years, from 1878 to 1978, Medina County had its own amusement park and resort on the shore of Chippewa Lake near the village of the same name in Lafayette Township, just south of Medina. The Rocket Ship Ride (long gone, but still an historical landmark on Google Maps) was a featured attraction on the park's midway.
The original picnic ground and beach was organized in 1875 by Edward Andrews as Andrew's Pleasure Grounds. In 1878, with the addition of a steamboat and the park's first (manually pushed!) roller coaster the amusement park came to life. In its heyday, the amusement park and swimming beach was a summer and weekend getaway for Cleveland and Akron residents who would arrive by train and later by car.
A businessman named Mac Beach acquired Chippewa Lake in 1898 and improved the park immensely. His son, Parker Beach, managed the park during its boom years: The Roaring '20s.
In 1925, the first modern coaster was built at the park. Originally named the Big Dipper, it became better known as simply "the coaster." Eventually, Chippewa Lake would feature three roller coasters, flying cages, a Ferris wheel, carousel, Tumble Bug and many other rides including the Rocket Ship before it closed in 1978.
Many who grew up in Medina County had some happy times at the park, laughing and screaming in the Fun House, hearing the click-click of the wooden coaster, cruising the boardwalk, shooting down the big slide, playing pinball in the arcade or watching fireworks from the beach.
Over the decades, the enormous dance hall hosted performances by popular big bands from Benny Goodman to Guy Lombardo. In later years, WHLO (Radio) Days brought in the crowds sponsoring dances with "rock 'n roll" music and where kids lined up at the Hamburger Factory between sets. Into the 1970s, the ballroom was the site of the spring charity ball (The Cotillion) where accomplished young ladies from around the county were "presented" in white ballgowns and elbow length gloves on the arms of tuxedoed escorts.
After closing, the park sat empty for many years and fell into decay. The dance hall burned down in 2002. With plans for redevelopment falling through, the empty park has captured the interest of "forgotten" buildings websites, photographers and filmmakers. A low-budget horror flick was filmed at the park as recently as 2009. Searches on the web and Pinterest will lead you to some eerily beautiful images of the park today, as well as shots of Chippewa Lake Park in its heyday.
The content of this post is derived from articles in the Akron Beacon Journal, Wikipedia, and cleveland.com, among others.