Unless you’re a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) or one of the few thousand people who live in Northwestern Pennsylvania, you probably haven’t heard of Conneaut Lake Park. Since my guess is probably not many people who stop in here are ACE members, I’ll give you a brief rundown.
Opened in 1892 as Exposition Park, the resort area began to expend wildly beginning with the remodeling of the Exposition Hotel into what would become what is now the Hotel Conneaut. After its remodeling in 1902-03, the hotel boasted 150 guest rooms for the reasonable price of $1.00 per day and the park . Guests stormed to the area to check out the new Figure Eight roller coaster. Soon the area was bustling with tourism (there were at one point over 12 hotels in the surrounding lake area) and in order to give the park a more “amusement park” feel to it, it was renamed Conneaut Lake Park in 1920.
By the early 1940s, Conneaut Lake Park boasted several rides, such as the Tumble Bug and the ACE famous Blue Streak. And then, like everything in Northwestern Pennsylvania that was at one point grossly popular, fire struck the park. Specifically Hotel Conneaut. Half of the 300 rooms were destroyed in a fire in 1943, and with it, the hopes and dreams of the region went up in smoke as well.
Since the fire of ’43, Conneaut Lake Park has had well documented legal and financial problems that have resulted in, at times, the closing of the park. Its biggest claim-to-fame since the ’40s has been the fact that the park was so rundown, producers of the post-apocalyptic film ‘The Road’ selected Conneaut Lake Park as one of the crown jewels in a world devastated by disaster.
However, after going through all of that, there’s a real opportunity for the community to again embrace what was once a historic and beautiful area. Through the Arts and Culture division of Pepsi’s “Refresh Everything” campaign, Conneaut Lake Park is up for a $50,000 grant to repair and reopen the Blue Streak rollercoaster.
Take a minute and cast your vote for the Blue Streak here. You can link your vote directly to your facebook account, or submit an e-mail address if you haven’t joined the facebook community like the rest of the world.
Will $50,000 restore Conneaut Lake Park to its once glorious and successful state? Absolutely not.
But it’s a step in the right direction.