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The Fate of LeSourdsville Lake/Americana


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Since the park's closing in 2002 the fate of LeSourdsville Lake/Americana amusement park has been in a limbo state. Potential buyers come and go. The current owner continues to expans his camper business. Rides are occasionaly sold. Etc.

In 2006 it was announced by current owner Jerry Couch; that the park would "never exist as a traditonal amusement park again." Couch announced plans for a campground to be built on site the could include rides such as the legendary Screechin` Eagle rollercoaster and Raging Thunder log flume. The months came and went and soon 2007 arrived. Construction on the site could be seen but no official word came from the park owners. Occasional views of what the park looked like on the inside came from illegal guests who tresspassed with cameras, but too little was still known as to what fate may become of the park.....that was.....untill July of 2007.

This past summer, I was invited (along with Boddah1994 and Dane) to enter the LeSourdsville Lake property, meet with owner Jerry Couch, and document the park in its current condition through photographs and video alike.

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So now I invite you to read the article which lends clues to the park's possible future, see a video of the park in its current situation, as well as photos you can't see anywhere else all over at www.queencitydisco.com.

You can read the entire article here. A link to the full gallery and video are at the bottom of the article.

What is your guys take on the park? Did anyone attend there when it was open? What do you think about it's future? All comments are welcome.

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Since the park's closing in 2002 the fate of LeSourdsville Lake/Americana amusement park has been in a limbo state. Potential buyers come and go. The current owner continues to expans his camper business. Rides are occasionaly sold. Etc.

In 2006 it was announced by current owner Jerry Couch; that the park would "never exist as a traditonal amusement park again." Couch announced plans for a campground to be built on site the could include rides such as the legendary Screechin` Eagle rollercoaster and Raging Thunder log flume. The months came and went and soon 2007 arrived. Construction on the site could be seen but no official word came from the park owners. Occasional views of what the park looked like on the inside came from illegal guests who tresspassed with cameras, but too little was still known as to what fate may become of the park.....that was.....untill July of 2007.

This past summer, I was invited (along with Boddah1994 and Dane) to enter the LeSourdsville Lake property, meet with owner Jerry Couch, and document the park in its current condition through photographs and video alike.

17.JPG

So now I invite you to read the article which lends clues to the park's possible future, see a video of the park in its current situation, as well as photos you can't see anywhere else all over at www.queencitydisco.com.

You can read the entire article here. A link to the full gallery and video are at the bottom of the article.

What is your guys take on the park? Did anyone attend there when it was open? What do you think about it's future? All comments are welcome.

Nice tribute. I returned here in 2001 and meant to go back, but life gets in the way and good intentions get forgotten. I regret that now. The small parks just don't have a chance.

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Thank you for the pictures and story. It's always sad when one of these classic parks closes forever (RIP Geauga Lake). I had been to Fantasy Farm on school trips before, but never to Americana. I only got to visit LeSourdesville Lake once, in 2002. I was looking forward to finally getting to go, but unfortunately, my wife and I had the worst experience here that we've ever had at any park. :( The company that Mr. Couch hired to run the place definitely did not have the best employees.

We were in line for The Whip, and we witnessed a teenage girl laying down, with her head in the seat, while the ride was running. I would think this would be a safety concern, but the ride operator did nothing about it.

When we went to The Raging Thunder log flume, the ride operator running the controls was smoking. Now I have no problem with smokers, but to do this while operating a ride was something I had never seen before or since, not even carnival rides. I commented to my wife, he's smoking, the entire structure is made of wood, is that even smart? Also, they were stopping every log at the top of the lift hill before the final drop. We thought this odd. When our own boat gets up there, the ride operator at the top of the lift stops our boat and undoes the plug in the back of the boat and drains the water out of it. I asked him what he was doing, he said he had to do it for every boat, every time. It killed the momentum of the ride having to wait for every boat to get drained, I would think there would be a way to fix that.

A couple of the rides ran to long to be pleasurable. I usually love the "round up" rides, but operator let Electric Rainbow run way too long on the cycle we rode. Everyone around us was complaining that they wanted off, as did we.

The "flippy" ferris wheel, where you're in a cage and your car can turn all the way upside down, also went too long. The operator even unloaded cars before us that had loaded after us. It was like he didn't keep track of what order he was loading/unloading. My wife and I kept yelling at him that we wanted off everytime we got down next to him, but it took forever to get him to unload us.

The worst experience was at the Tilt-a-whirl. We were let into the ride area, but my wife and I didn't get a car, as the operator let too many people in. We went back to the entrance gate that we had just come through and the ride operator, who was smoking at the time, said "Where do you think you're going? The exit's over there." I told him what happened and we were getting back in line. He got within three inches of my face, blew smoke at me and said "Don't get smart with me, boy!" :angry: This is when I started getting mad. I told him that maybe he should count better next time. This got him going even more, he started yelling something else at me and my wife started pulling me away.

We walked down the midway, I was severely ticked. We saw a manager walking and I asked him if he was over the rides deprtment. He said yes, and I told him what happened. He weakly apologized and started walking away. I asked him what he was going to do about it, he said, "I guess I can talk to him." We followed him to make sure that he did. He went up and talked to the ride operator, the operator got in the manager's face yelling, blowing smoke in his face and waving his arms wildly. The manager walked away from him and started going back down the midway. I stopped him and asked what was happening. He said, "Well, I talked to him, that's all I can do". I told him that wasn't good enough and he suggested I go to Guest Relations.

We went there and were brought inside the office. The woman working there listened to our story and Jerry Couch himself happened to come in at that time. We had seen him earlier in the day walking around some ACE members that I recognized from various coaster shows on tv. He was standing in there cooling off I guess, and was listening to us while we were telling the GR woman about everything that I listed above. He looked very uncomfortable being in the same room where someone was criticizing the park. He wandered off back outside before we were done. The GR woman, while kind, was not able to do anything for us. I thanked her for her time and told her that we would be leaving and never coming back. Which it turns out wasn't an issue because the park closed two weeks later.

The highlight of the trip was riding The Screeching Eagle. I had heard raves about this coaster, and we did have fun on it.

I think Mr. Couch got in over his head when purchasing and trying to operate the park. While he seemed like a nice enough guy himself, the staff he had was not very high quality. It takes a lot to run a park, and I'm sure he did his best with what he could get. But still, definitely a sad situation when classic parks like this are forced to close.

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Gator Head, sorry to hear about your bad experience and thak you so much for providing your story. Whether good or bad, its nice to hear what people experienced at the park in its last days. I think Mr. Couch had good intent with the park but the management company he hired we're very sleazy. They eventually went bankrupt and had to have rides re-possessed. They failed to pay money owed to Couch and failed to pay employee wages towards the end of their mangement and were eventually sued by Couch. From what I've heard some buyers have come and gone but Couch wanted to keep things local and only sell to local buyers who were few and far between. From what he told us, if a youth camp or his campground materializes I would like to see them keep the eagle or Raging Thunder.

You mentioned the extremely long cycle on the Electric Rainbow (round up). Stricker's Grove purchased it and had it open this past summer. I rode it once and the cycle was very long. Too long to even be enjoyable. I felt very sick on it. That thing was intense.

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You mentioned the extremely long cycle on the Electric Rainbow (round up). Stricker's Grove purchased it and had it open this past summer. I rode it once and the cycle was very long. Too long to even be enjoyable. I felt very sick on it. That thing was intense.

Kind of good to know it wasn't just us, but I kind of already knew that from the people riding with us. Too bad it's still that way, they should shorten it. I rarely feel that ill on any ride.

I agree with your assessment of Jerry Couch's intentions. I was rooting for him when he reopened the place, but, yeah, the management company left a lot to be desired. Hopefully most of the rides can be salvaged and/or sold.

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I personally think Couch is an idiot for what hes doing. If your going to buy an amusement park then use it as one! There is plenty of available land that he could be doing the same thing on.

Hes spending more money by removing the rides than he could be on maintaining them. If its going to be a camp ground then working the rides into the landscaping would be great, but he doesnt really seem to care about the rides at all.

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  • 8 months later...

I know I'm a bit late on this thread but I saw the link on the 'worst parks you have ever been to' and thought I would post about my experiences at Americana! The first time I went to Kings Island I was about 5.....the second time I went I think I was about 11 or so....but in between that time we used to go to Americana almost every summer! My grandma would always take all of us(and there are 17 grandchildren in the family) so it was definitely the most affordable thing to do! NOt all of us went of course but I can remember a lot of us piling into my grandparents' old blue van and taking many trips there! I can remember riding the skyride and the Serpent as some of our first rides of the day! I think the Serpent was actually my very first 'big' coaster! We used to ride Tilt-a-Whirl and I remember one horrible experience of the ride lasting WAAAAY too long and my mom was yelling at the guy to let us out because my face was GREEN...lol. I've never ridden one of those rides since then!! (My brother just now talked me into going back on the Monster at Kings Island ;) ) I loved the Electric Rainbow ride. The giant slides were one of our favorites too! ANd I remember when I was finally brave enough to ride the Screechin' Eagle and I rode with one of my older cousins and I was about to pee my pants but it was so much fun!! I know we used to ride the train and one of our last rides of the day would always be the log flume(can't remember what it's called!) I just remember it being a nice little family amusement park that we had fun going to every summer. After we made our big trip to Kings Island when I was 11,12(?) we got passes there almost every summer and Americana kind of faded away and we never went back after that. It is really sad to look at all of those pictures and see everything looking all dead and vacant. I know I would probably never go back there even if it was open because our whole family is geared more towards places like KI and CP but it's still sad to see it go! I'll have to see next time I go to my parent's house if I can dig up any old pictures...if not there I'm sure my grandma has some! You will be missed Americana :(

~Ash

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You mentioned the extremely long cycle on the Electric Rainbow (round up). Stricker's Grove purchased it and had it open this past summer. I rode it once and the cycle was very long. Too long to even be enjoyable. I felt very sick on it. That thing was intense.

My last ride on the Electric Rainbow was very reasonable in length. It was up for about 1-2 rotations, and then went back down. We were probably on it for about 20min (seemed like an hour) the last time I rode it at LeSourdsville. I know what you mean. I'm glad that this is my only bad memory for LL.

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