Euclid Beach Park

In 1901, Dudley S. Humphrey became the owner of Euclid Beach amusement park, vowing to make the park a respectable, family friendly place for recreation. He had previously run a popcorn stand at the park, though the prevalence of alcohol, freak shows, and gambling under the old ownership did not mesh with his Protestant values. Humphrey's new Euclid Beach - where everything was guaranteed to be 'of a highly moral and elevating character' - instantly became a success. The park no longer had an admission fee, so one could enjoy a day at the park for little or no money. Streetcar companies introduced single fare service to the park, making getting there cheap and convenient too. Euclid Beach Park proudly touted these new, improved features with the motto: 'One Fare - Free Gate - No Beer.'

The Humphrey's vision of Euclid Beach Park, sadly, also involved the strict regulation of African-American visitors, who were admitted to the park but prevented from using all of its facilities. These practices culminated in a series of protests and violent incidents during the summer of 1946, prompting the mayor to order the park closed a month early. From that point on, the park's dancehall - whose racial policies had been the target of many of the protests - remained closed to the public. Nevertheless, Euclid Beach remained popular in the years after World War II but ultimately closed in 1969.

Although it has been closed since 1969, Euclid Beach amusement park lives on throughout Northeast Ohio in a number of ways. Indeed, even those too young to have visited the park themselves can still take a ride on the rocket car, crunch into an authentic Humphrey popcorn ball, and hear the quavering cackle of Laughing Sal. In addition, the park's 1910 carousel, lovingly restored after being rescued from a shuttered amusement park in Maine, will soon be open for rides again in its new location at the Western Reserve Historical Society in University Circle.

Video

Euclid Beach: "I'd Give Anything..."
James Seaman shares his memories of Euclid Beach Park. ~ Source: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
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Images

Audio

The Sounds Of Euclid Beach
James Seman remembers the sounds of Euclid Beach Park while growing up in a nearby neighborhood
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A New Start for Euclid Beach
Jim Seman explains how the Humphrey Family came to own Euclid Beach Park.
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