The 1930's History on this page
Links to Others 1920's
The Park at the Lake had been purchased and enlarged by the Interurban Company to have something for the riders to enjoy at the end of the traction ride in the early 1900's. Then John J. Carlin, Sr., from Baltimore, Maryland, became owner of the Park in the 30's and hired the imaginative, Park Manager, A. M. Brown "Brownie".
In 1931 Brownie was thirty-four years old and came from a background of running a dancing school in Connecticut to building amusement rides. He built the "Dips" at Lakeside Park in Dayton, Ohio. He also worked at parks in Cleveland and Detroit. When he came to work for Mr. Carlin, who also owned a park in Baltimore, Brownie was placed in charge of the newly built Crystal Ballroom.
During his second year the growth of the Park began. Brownie worked with his men and was a popular manager. These were depression times and it took a few years to get big changes made.
Mr. Brown brought in marathon dances which were held in the skating rink and couples danced for days for the cash prizes. Name bands began to make their appearances at the Crystal Ballroom and Pier Ballrooms.
The "Pier" area was owned by James Gratziano and Carl Carlin (no relation to John J.). Carl had sons Neil and Jack. This "Park" was located to the west of John J. Carlin's "Park"---two parks that most visitors thought to be one.
Penny Day became a regular feature at the Park when rides would cost 1 penny. With the ending of prohibition, Harry Flinn remodeled the merry-go-round building to become the Pink Elephant Nite Club right at the entrance to the Park.
Summerland Beach, at the other end of the Lake, was also working to get crowds to their area . In 1935 they brought in the famous Siamese twins Daisy and Violet Hilton who danced, sang and played musical instruments, also acting as starting judges for the outboard regatta.The ladies, according to their photo, seemed to be joined at their hip. Mr. George Fuller was the lessee and operator of Sunimerland Beach during the 30's and stated that the roller rink (built during this time) was open for business. They had bathing in open water with a long dock for fishing and canoeing. Many family reunions were held there at this time.
Excerpt from My Buckeye Lake Story By Donna Braig
The Park's most famous ride was the roller coaster, the Dips, and every brave visitor would not call his day at the Park complete without a ride on the coaster. Locals were familiar with the sound it made, the "click, click, click," as the cable met the cog that pulled the coaster car to the top of the first hill. We knew that in a few seconds the screaming would begin as the coaster made its way down the highest incline, out over the Little Lake, making its turn and roared back into the station. The Dips belonged to the Park Company and had been built around 1930. Henry Langham was the man in charge (in the 40's) each day at 10:00 to 12:00, they walked the Dips looking for loose boards, nails, bolts or anything that would cause trouble. The Park didn't close at night until the Dips closed so everyone watched the Dips to see when they turned out their lights. The Dips didn't run in the rain as the brakes would not work. There was always a cop stationed at the ride to watch for drunks or to watch the money as many a day
the ride brought in $5,000. There was usually a long line to ride the coaster. It was rare when someone was killed on the ride, but a man from Baltimore, Ohio was killed when he stood up on the turn. In 1937 a man either jumped or fell out and was killed. A little child, last name Wolf, was playing on the framework and fell into the Little Lake and drowned. Quite a record for such a ride until 1958 when it gave its last ride. The night it crashed, eighteen people were on board the three cars which were just beginning the last trip of the night. The cars were going up the first big incline and were nearly to the top, when the cable broke and a one inch pin that was to stop the cars if this happened, sheared off, and the cars came roaring back down the hill.
Carl Biddle witnessed the mishap and said one of the passengers told him that it was his first ride and thought nothing of the fact that it was going backwards. Bobbie McKay, son of Park manager Bob McKay, was at the ride and hopped in for the last ride of the night. He was not hurt!!
No one was killed! Most severely injured were Sylvia Seagle, an O.S.U. student; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Long of Zanesville, John Cruit, age 18, Lancaster; Robert Levenson of Bexley; Arlene Rosenthal, age 16, of Bexley and Owen Miller of Columbus.
The coaster was twenty-eight years old at the time of the mishap, and a check with state offices in Columbus showed that the ride had last been checked in 1955 (this was 1958), but the state inspector felt it had been checked more recently than that.
The Dips never ran again. Each year it went into a worse state of disrepair and pictures were constantly being printed in the papers showing its neglect, until one day, with the help of God, a big storm blew it down into the Little Lake and then, indeed, another era ended!
Click Here for Photo of The Dips
When someone mentions the old Buckeye Lake Park, the point always comes up that we were famous for the name bands that played here during the 30's-40's-50's.And indeed, we had them all! Remember, we had two big Dance Halls, the Crystal Ballroom at the main Park, and the Pier at the smaller Park. Crowds of people came to the area. 50,000 people on a special day was not unusual!!
You were able to dance at the Dance Halls using two plans: The Social Plan sold tickets in advance and for the price of the ticket, people could dance all evening. Of course, this plan was used for the name bands. The other plan, the `Park Plan', sold tickets for 10 cents a dance set. The set would include two songs, one fast and one slow. The patrons would buy tickets for however many times they wanted to dance, and then they would line up by the ropes to be let out on the floor. As soon as one set was finished, the floor cleared, and the process began again. The Ballrooms were big, but they tried not to let more than one hundred dancers on the floor at one time. There were no tables or chairs then, just benches along the wall. If you did not want to dance, you could come in and listen for no charge. This made playing for the dancers rough, as the band had to play twelve sets an hour with a fast and slow song having to be played every five minutes. There were no "breaks" for the band, no intermissions. Band members could get a five minute break, but - the band "played on..." Never a lull in the music. Eventually, the Ballrooms at the Lake switched to the social plan and put in tables and chairs.