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KatieF

Americana Park in Middletown OH

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Someone on my Facebook had posted this and I had never heard of this park before. Anyone here ever go to it?

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Also known, at other times, as LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park.

 

My parents took me there as a kid a few times, but I have no memories of the place. :(

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I can recall a little about LeSourdsville.  Mainly a pond with huge catfish that would eat anything, a huge pinball machine, and running around without any needed supervision.

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Loved the park best outdoor log ride, rapids, screeching eagle coaster incredible woodie, a whip, park had a flying circle flat at one time great train, so much fun.

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I believe that several rides also ended up at Coney Island as well. I believe the Roc-o-Planes and Tempest, and several kiddie rides came from there.

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Never got to visit while it was open. I first went coming up on five years ago, the Screechin' Eagle was still standing at the time. I was surprised to see how much was left.

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It was the poor mans alternative to KI. At the time it was open, Coney Island was slowly returning from transitioning to KI.

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Yes, the Rock O Planes and Tempest came from LeSourdsville Lake.  The Tempest was the first ride to come, and came when Park River Corp (the parent company that owns Coney) decided to close down and sell the park (that ride debuted at Coney in 2001).  The Rock O Planes arrived at Coney in 2007, after the new incarnation of LeSourdsville Lake didn`t survive.

 

None of the current kiddie rides at Coney came from LeSourdsville Lake.  Several of the full time staff at Coney came from/worked at LeSourdsville Lake though.

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I believe Americana was pretty popular at one time, but I don't remember much about it. I remember going there one year as a kid when what was then CG&E held their company picnic there and as I recall we weren't all that impressed with it. By the time I got my license and was able to go to parks like that they had closed. I never made it up there during the brief revival in the early 2000s before they closed again for good.

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I remember being excited about going there, and I think it was cheaper than KI so we went more often in a summer. But, I have no specific memories of actually being there, the way I remember Hanna Barbera Land at KI. Mostly I just remember the unusual name Lesourdesville, because my mom often forgot the new name and used the older one.

I recall it being very near (next to?) Fantasy Farm, which was geared very much toward small children. I know I was taken there as well when I was very small, but by the time I was old enough to remember anything, my older sister and cousins had gotten too old to enjoy FF, so our family trips were much more likely to be to Americana or KI.

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There are many, many posts and threads about the park here. Jeff Siebert worked there for a while, before he went to Kings Island.

The Screechin' Eagle was one of the very best John Miller coasters--with some VERY odd trains. The flume, by Barr Engineering, was more of a raging rapids ride than a flume. I saw more than one young boy dive into it, over the years. Miraculously, they lived.

I often worked Americana into my Kings Island trips. It was a very good park.

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I remember waiting to ride the flume and as i recall there were only a few boats. At one point they entered a tunnel before going up the final drop. While we were waiting we noticed that none of the boats had returned, and the crowd started looking around. Then we saw a couple of linebacker sized guys and a tiny woman come wading out of the tunnel. Apparently the waterfall inside the tunnel plus all of the dipping into the rapids filled the boat until it sank.

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At one point, the was the poor man's alternative to nothing at all. It was the only park around save for Fantasy Farm next door.

I have distinct memories of that park. I was particularly fond of Tombstone Territory, and loved the real glass mugs I got as free souvenirs.

 

I'm seeing a lot of people remembering walking around unsupervised, and that was one of my biggest memories, too. 

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I remember riding the sky ride with my mom and being 100% absolutely afraid I would fall into the lake...

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Couple of notes here:

 

-Americana/Lesourdsville Lake was NOT the poor man's Kings Island for most of its history.  Not until the last half decade or so of its existence.  It certainly was more inexpensive than Kings Island, but the town was big enough for both of them for a long time.  Granted, it's a push to say this was true from the 70's to the 90's, but it wasn't uncommon for cities to have many amusement parks.  Transportation wasn't easy like it is now, so getting from Monroe to Coney Island was more of a hassle than it was worth, especially before the highway system was built.  Even after the New Deal, many of these parks existed deep into the 20th century.

 

-Although Lesourdsville didn't offer the amount of rides that a modern park would, it wasn't an uncommon design.  You have to remember that parks weren't all about thrill rides and water parks throughout all of history.  Dance halls, race tracks, picnicking, and pools plays a much larger role for most of the 20th century.  The "modern" amusement park was kind of started with Six Flags over Georgia in 1967, followed quickly by Kings Island in '72.  Before that, parks were more like Coney Island today (plus some sort of roller coaster) than what you're used to.

 

-Ready for your Kings Island tie in?  The late 1980's through the early 2000's was a breeding ground for some really good people who made strong contributions to Kings Island:

-Bill Mefford (Kings Island PR / VP Comm for Taft / VP Comm for Australia's Wonderland) had a strong had in the last few years of Lesourdsvile.

-Jeffrey Siebert (Paramount's Kings Island Marketing Communications Manager / VP Comm Schlitterbahn / Marketing Dir Six Flags Fiesta Texas) can trace his roots back to Lesourdsville Lake.

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I remember riding the sky ride with my mom and being 100% absolutely afraid I would fall into the lake...

We used to foolishly stick our legs out straight in front of us, with the 5 year old thinking that if the gondola should fall, we won't break our legs.

Boddha is correct, it was a great place to go for general entertainment, which is probably where the memories of being unsupervised come from. We didn't rush from ride to ride, we meandered around more- except for the "Fasssinaytion" parlor. The old ladies scared me.

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Gosh, I spent WAY too many summer days at this park!  When I was really young, we used to  visit Fantasy Farm next door to this park.  Once we got older though, we graduated to Americana. 

 

We used to joke around saying that basically Americana was the poor man's Kings Island and that Fantasy Farm was the poor man's Americana lol.  Although I basically visited all three parks growing up.  Each park was unique to itself and offered things that you couldn't get from the others.  Fantasy Farm had caves that you could explore, it's own version of Disney's Flying Dumbo ride, and a horribly designed, low-budget haunted house.  Americana's rides were somewhat bigger, and they too offered a variety of unique attractions.

 

I remember this park well!  They had some pretty fun rides and interesting attractions.  I remember they had a ripoff version of Disney's Country Bear Jamboree in the building that was close to the train station.  Even though it was pretty ghetto, I found the show rather interesting.  It was, though, about on the same level as the show from "Lester's Possum Park" in A Goofy Movie lol.

 

I remember they used to have some kind of circus show/magic act in the big tent-like theater. 

 

I remember riding the sky ride and thinking how unsafe the thing felt and clinging on for dear life when I reached the other side and went around the big wheel to send my chair back around to the loading station.  I was always afraid of coming unhinged and falling into the lake with the giant catfish.

 

This place was fun enough, but really couldn't compare to the type of stuff they had at Kings Island.  I do, however, consider myself lucky that I got to grow up and experience these types of parks, even Fantasy Farm next door.  There was something that was sort of unique about them and they gave you a different type of experience that you couldn't get from the bigger parks.

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One other tidbit to throw in, is the Tilt A Whirl that now operates at Coney Island, used to reside at Fantasy Farm.

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My mom and dad would take my brother, sister and I to LeSourdsville Lake / Americana and Fantasy Farm at least once every summer around visits to Coney Island and Kings Island. I remember a lot about both parks from my childhood. Always had a good time. 

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Sadly, I never made it up to LeSourdsville Lake/Americana.  I wish I would have made it up there before it was closed.

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Sadly, I never made it up to LeSourdsville Lake/Americana.  I wish I would have made it up there before it was closed.

 

I wish you could have, too. The closest I've seen is the depiction in "Adventureland", and I believe they used Kennywood as the set. Of course, it wouldn't be as immersive as actually going to to the park to achieve the small park affect.

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My mom loved that park! She tells me about all the visits our family used to make, however sadly I wasn't born/was too little when they were open. I've heard wonderful things about it though.

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