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THE HISTORY OF IDORA PARK

Idora Park was built by the Park and Falls Street Railway Company. The park opened officially on Decoration Day May 30, 1899. The park was originally called Terminal Park. The trolley company decided it needed something to get riders to the sparsley populated south side. They decided on an amusement park. They aquired a lease on 7 acres next to Mill Creek Park (the old William Smith Farm), so the trolley wasn't built to get people to the park, the park was built to get people on the trolley cars.

Idora was not the first amusement park in the area, in 1897 The Mahoning Valley Railway had opened Squaw Creek Park near Girad, Ohio (it was later called Ferncliffe Park and lastly Avon Park, it closed in the 20's, the Avon Oaks Ballroom still remains).

There is much speculation as to the meaning of the name Idora. The name Idora was choosen by a school teacher. In June of 1899 a contest was held to find the most popular teacher in the city. The name was made public on November 25, 1899 in an article in the Youngstown Vindicator. The name was choosen by the second place teacher, Jessie Coulter. No one knows why she choose this name or it's meaning.(There was also another Idora Park in Oakland California (1903-1929).

In 1902 Idora faced alot of competition from parks such as Woodland Beach Park in Ashtabula Harbor, Lakeside Park in Stonesboro Pa, Exposition Park (Conneaut Lake Park) in Conneaut Ohio, Waldameer Park in Erie PA, Euclid Beach Park in Cleveland Ohio and Monarch Park in Oil City PA.

In 1955 Walt Disney World in California opened, this park would become the standard by which all other parks have to live up to.

In 1966 Patrick Duffy Sr. died at the age of 87, he had been with the park since 1905.

In 1969 a group of executives from Cedar Point took over the floundering Geauga Lake Park (no new rides had been introduced since World War 2). They quickly built new rides and had now become a great competition for Idora, as did the eventual opening of Sea World.

Idora had a hard time competing with parks such as Cedar Point, Geauga Lake, Kings Island and Kennywood as Idora had no space to expand, this combine with the Mill closings in Youngstown made for declining attendance.

Idora was put up for sale in 1982, the reasons given for this were long hours, bad weather, and an uncertain economy.

In 1984 a fire destroyed part of the Wild Cat roller coaster, the park did not survive the loss.

Important Dates in Idora History


1893
*
The Youngstown Parks and Falls Railway Company in incorporated.

1894
*
April-Park and Falls petetions County Commisioners to operate a line running south of the city from Hillman Street to Mill Creek Park.


1897
*
The Railway gets permission to run the franchise they had asked for.


1899

*May 30th The park officially opens.
*The park is owned by the Park and Falls Street Railway and is called Terminal Park.
The park in the first year consisted of:
*Casino
*A Theater
*bandstand
*Swings
*Drinking Fountains
*Picnic Tables
*Toilet Facilities
*An Electric Merry go Round with wooden carved animals (by Gustav Dentzel)
*Later on a new refreshment stand and booths for games were added.
*Directors also approved plans to enlarge the dinning hall to accomodate a bowling alley and shooting gallery.

1900
*A three acre lake is proposed (nothing ever comes of this).


1902

The first roller coaster is built at Idora Park, it is a three way figure 8 tobaggon slide(built by Fredrick Ingersoll)
It was 85 feet wide and 225 feet long.

1905

*Mysterious House added


1906

*Park and Falls Railway taken over by Mahoning&Shenango Railway and Light


1908

*Drinking fountains equipped with cooling devices. *Automobile sight seeing tours given.


1910

*New dance pavilion designed by Angus S. Wade
*Roller skating rink added
*Circle Swings added (Harry Traver)
The circle swings originally had wicker basket cars.
*Photo Gallery added
*Parking lot set aside for Automobiles
*Street car line extended


1911

*Dentzel Carousel replaced
new model that featured animals that moved up and down (also designed by Dentzel)
*Mahoning&Shenango Rail consolidates with Republic Rail and Light


1912

*Casino Theater renovated


1913

*Casino Theater presents the Idoragraph (moving picture show)


1914

*Pony rides added
*The Dip the Dips Roller Coaster opens (TM Harton Comp.)
Has a 4000 foot track and a car speed of 23 mph.
*The Theater changed from Vaudville to legitimate theater


1915

*More land aquired, doubling the size of the park
*A new enterance to the park is built
*Panama Canal ride added (combination old mill and chute ride)
*Bowling alley renovated
*The Roller Rink converted into a dinning room
*Baseball field built
*May 23 Daniel Denehy is killed on the Dip the Dips Roller Coaster
*A locally filmed motion picture is filmed at Idora
"The Princess's Visit to Youngstown"
*A new roller rink is erected with a 60x130 Foot floor
(located near picinic pavillion)


1916

*Idora announces that the Philadelphia Tobaggon Company will construct a new coaster called A Race Through the Clouds, this coaster was never built.
*Eight city lots are purchased adjoining the park to expand the baseball field.

1918

* Idora baseball field transformed into an elaborate facility with grandstands and bleachers.

1919

*Mangles Whip Ride added (designed by William F Mangles)


More History, the 1920's F