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Ten Years After Closing, Geauga Lake Amusement Park Has a Historical Plaque

Dale Van Voorhis (left) was part of the group that bought Geauga Lake in 1969 -- a turning point in the park's history -- and ran it for the next 26 years. He came to the plaque unveiling on Rt. 43 along with Jeff Clark (right) from Aurora's Landmarks Commission.
Dale Van Voorhis (left) was part of the group that bought Geauga Lake in 1969 -- a turning point in the park's history -- and ran it for the next 26 years. He came to the plaque unveiling on Rt. 43 along with Jeff Clark (right) from Aurora's Landmarks Commission.
Dale Van Voorhis (left) was part of the group that bought Geauga Lake in 1969 -- a turning point in the park's history -- and ran it for the next 26 years. He came to the plaque unveiling on Rt. 43 along with Jeff Clark (right) from Aurora's Landmarks Commission.
Credit KABIR BHATIA / WKSU
Dale Van Voorhis (left) was part of the group that bought Geauga Lake in 1969 -- a turning point in the park's history -- and ran it for the next 26 years. He came to the plaque unveiling on Rt. 43 along with Jeff Clark (right) from Aurora's Landmarks Commission.

Geauga Lake Amusement Park closed ten years ago. Community members gathered on the site over the weekend to unveil a plaque commemorating it.

The roller coasters and rides on the shores of Geauga Lake fell silent for the last time on September 16, 2007, a week before owner Cedar Fair announced that the park would never re-open. For the past decade, it’s been fenced-off and decaying as ideas for re-developing the property have been proposed but never actually implemented.

Yesterday, about 200 people gathered at the site to unveil the plaque from the Ohio History Connection. Aurora Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin says that while the city remembers the park fondly, it’s ready for a new chapter now that the Aurora portion has been re-zoned for a variety of uses.

“There’s recreational, residential, retail, institutional – we’d love to see a medical facility or an educational facility.”

City officials and the Aurora Historical Society worked with the Ohio History Connection on the plaque. Councilman John Kudley is president of the historical society.

“Staying in with the theme of the lake and the nice little boardwalk. Little shops [and] restaurants. The whole mixed-use concept with some commercial would be ideal.”

Geauga Lake opened in 1887 and at one point grew to become the largest amusement park in the country. A small water park operated on part of the property until last year.

Kudley adds that the historical society is also working on an oral history of Geauga Lake, and has an exhibit about the park and Sea World currently on-display.

Drone footage taken last year of Geauga Lake and the Big Dipper roller coaster – hours before it was demolished – is below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqT0bI-fBWc

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