CLEVELAND - On soft summer evenings during strolls through the historic Euclid Beach Amusement Park, just as the sun set in the western end of Lake Erie, the lights of all the rides made an almost mystical glow through the area.
The lights were coupled with the rolling clank of the chain hauling the roller coaster to the top of the first dip. Together, they created an aura of excitement in the small amusement park which had operated in the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland from 1910.
Some of that excitement is returning. The horses of the famed Euclid Beach Park carousel are destined to gallop again. Some of the steeds are stoic now, but they will run again in the round-and-round of the carousel. The Cleveland Euclid Beach Park Carousel Society, which owns the now-dismantled merry-go-round, has formed a partnership with the Western Reserve Historical Society, which will soon house the fun ride.
In a news conference, the two organizations said through fundraising, there would be enough money to operate the carousel at the WRHS building in Cleveland's University Circle.
"It will be visible all the time to anybody who wants to not only come by and ride it, but who just wants to stroll by," said Gainor Davis, President and CEO of the WRHS.
With a backdrop of bits and pieces of rides from the old Euclid Beach Park, which closed in 1969, after its 68 years of life, the two societies talked about the efforts to raise a $6 million to cover restoration, placement, and operational costs.
Also at the news conference location was "Laughing Sal," the huge motorized mannequin which marked the entrance of the park's fun house. "Laughing Sal" seemed to set the tone for the event with her large belly laughs.
The carousel has long been discussed and remembered by those old enough to have visited Euclid Beach Park. Compared to today's large amusement parks owned by corporations, Euclid Beach was small. It was family-owned, a park built by the Humphrey family in 1901.
The great grandson of the Humphrey owners, Dudley Humphrey, was excited about the plans to bring back the carousel. He admitted that during his youth, he was probably the envy of tens of thousands of Northeast Ohio kids. "I lived at Euclid Beach; I lived in the park itself," said Humphrey. "So the carousel was one of my favorite rides."
Officials of the WRHS said they are expecting the Euclid Beach Park carousel to be back in operation in 2013.
For those who remember its melodic turns with its calliope whistling upbeat tunes, and the flared nostrils of the merry-go-round horses moving up and down on the poles to which they were attached, children squealed in delight.
Their parents held on to the little ones or rode along with them. In the days when many women wore sun dresses to amusement parks, the women rode side-saddle on the carousel while their male dates held romantically to their waists of the women.
For many who remember those times, to think back to Euclid Beach brings nostalgic moments of the innocence of those times.
The Western Reserve Historical Society and the Cleveland Euclid Beach Carousel Society are counting on nostalgia to permeate the carousel once it is put back in operation. For those too young to remember Euclid Beach, the two societies are figuring new memories will be made in the round-and-round as the old horses will be put through new paces.
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Latest News Headlines
Route 18 at Windfall Road is closed due to a serious injury crash, according to Medina police.