A Michigan tradition…..in Ohio?
Yep, it sure is.

A jaunt down through the flat farmlands of Ohio and eastward is where many Michiganders journey each summer. It’s become a tradition for most of us, trying to get down there each year. I remember when admission was just three bucks for the entire day…THREE DOLLARS. Now its $45 or more.

Is it worth it, though? Spending all that hard-earned dough for yourself, your partner, and possibly some kids…..and then standing in line for two hours for ONE ride. If you go for the rides, then your time is mostly spent standing in line. Heck, I can go downtown and stand around for a few hours and it don’t cost nothin’.

Still, Cedar Point holds its attraction for many of us in Michigan, even though some of our favorite rides don’t exist anymore.

Cedar Point sits in a peninsula on Lake Erie not far from Sandusky. It looks wayyy different than what it used to be back in the 1800s. It started pre-1850 as a port for fishermen with its own lighthouse until 1867 when a railroad came through. Now with train travel added to arriving by boat, developers realized they could make a few bucks if they added some kind of tourist attraction…..and by 1870, a new amusement park was ready to open.

99.1 WFMK logo
Get our free mobile app

It began as a swimming beach with bathhouse, amenities for picnics, and concessions. In 1892, the park added something different: a roller coaster called the Switchback Railway. Afterward, more and more vacationers and tourists flocked to Cedar Point for a few days of camping, hunting, fishing, swimming, and fun. Throughout the 1890s, more and more people traveled to Cedar Point.

The Cedar Point Pleasure Resort & Company bought up the land in 1897 for $256,000, and even more money was spent on more additions and improvements. Each year that followed, there was something new, whether it was a ride, sideshow game, or concession…visitors could rely on something new every year. A few hotels were added so people would be tempted to stay more than one day and spend even more of their hard-earned dough.

People came by train, by ship and/or boat, automobiles, bicycles, hitchhiking…any way they could to get there.

New owners in the 1950s were determined to make Cedar Point known as the "Disneyland of the Midwest" and I believe they succeeded. Every year more people arrived and squeezed their way in…in 1965 alone they had over two million visitors.

The decades rolled into the new millennium, with more and more roller coasters being added – old ones being torn down, new ones in their places, and making extra room for even more. Now in the 2000s, they’re not just the "Disneyland of the Midwest" but also named the "Roller Coaster Capital of the World" and winning awards for America’s "Best Amusement Park".

Cedar Point has come a long way. Now look at the gallery below and see what it was like to spend a day or two at Cedar Point back in the late 1800s-early 1900s!

Vintage Cedar Point Photos


Prehistoric Forest Souvenir & Memorabilia Gallery

Abandoned Fun Country Amusement Park

White City Amusement Park, Then and Now

More From 99.1 WFMK