CRYSTAL LAKE AMUSEMENT PARK began as a quarry before being converted in 1922 to a swimming facility. In 1925, an amusement park complete with roller coaster, carousel, dodge-em cars, airplane swing, and numerous other rides was opened at a cost of $175,000 (more than $2.9 million in 2019 dollars). A dance pavilion capable of accommodating more than 1,000 couples on the dance floor at the same time was another highlight.
Following the beginning of the Great Depression in 1929, the park changed focus concentrating on dance bands including some of the top ones such as Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians. Numerous transformations took place over the next 40 years including the conversion of the dance pavilion to a roller rink and eventually to one of the first Rink’s Bargain City discount stores. After being virtually abandoned for many years, part of the former park is now a private residence with the remainder used for light manufacturing.
The story of CRYSTAL LAKE PARK begins with background information on the role of quarries in Marion County’s development and then proceeds to take the reader on a journey throughout the park’s history. Read about the 1/2 mile long roller coaster where a young man met this death during the first week in operation and another gentleman lost his glass eye. Learn about circuses which came to the park, dance marathons lasting more than 80 days, weddings held on roller skates, and much more as seen through many never-before-published photographs.
The publication, which is author Randy Winland’s third book featuring Marion, Ohio, contains more than 200 photographs and vintage advertisements on 152 pages in an 8.5″ x 11″ format. All proceeds from the sale go to benefit the Marion County Historical Society.