Monday, July 28, 2008

Last Walk Down the Midway?

This past Sunday afternoon, the wife and I decided that we were going to take a little drive. I found some information on the net about an antique shop in Meadville, Pennsylvania that we had not visited yet. My wife and I enjoy antique shops, along with several other things that all seem to involve the past.


This post has not so much to do with the antique shop, although it was such an interesting place I feel compelled to mention it. Troyer’s Antiques is just north of Meadville on Route 19. If you can imagine a three story tall aircraft hangar type of building literally stuffed with remnants of the past, Troyer’s is a must see. Even if you are not an antique collector, the experience alone is well worth the time spent. I should also mention that it is only guaranteed open on Sundays.


When we had finished browsing, we decided that we would take a ride over toward Conneaut Lake Park. This is of strictly local interest, the park is a place where a good amount of the folks in the area where I grew up spent countless hours of enjoyment as children. As mentioned in a previous Errand post here: http://theabsorbingerrand.blogspot.com/2008/02/requiem-for-old-friend.html




The main ballroom of the park was a victim of an arsonist in February of this year, and another major building in the park suffered a roof collapse shortly thereafter. The park has been financially strapped for decades, and this is very likely the end of the century old amusement park.
The day was perfect weather-wise, and the draw to visit the park one more time was irresistible. We spoke of pleasant memories recalled from highly anticipated visits to the park so many years ago. Somewhere inside we both knew that this visit was going to be more like visiting an old friend who’s illness has left him in a greatly diminished state. A friend who’s future is very doubtful. Rumors of condo development on the site are starting to circulate, but how much of the park, if any, will be preserved is still unclear.


For those of you who have not gone out to see the park in its present state, I did a walk through and took some pictures. The ballroom is entirely cleared away now, but the condition of the “Ultimate Trip” building has worsened considerably. The skeletons of rides, and the silence of the once proud “Blue Streak” coaster was eerie on such a beautiful summer day.
http://s42.photobucket.com/albums/e335/the-absorbing-errand/Conneaut%20Lake/?albumview=grid


I apologize for the sentimental drivel, but it truly is sad.


After our sobering tour of a silent amusement park we came upon a sign that pointed out that Linesville, Pennsylvania was six miles west, so we turned the painfully inefficient and very politically incorrect SUV right to see another site common to people in this area. Just about everyone from around here has been to the Linesville spillway at least once, but to attempt to explain the spillway to someone who has never been there is a pretty tall order.
In 1932 the State of Pennsylvania flooded the Pymatuning Swamp and created a flood control area called the Pymatuning Reservoir. There is a point in this man made lake where The water on one side of the causeway that crosses the lake is a few feet lower than the other, and the water cascades through a man made spillway if the level on the high side becomes too great.


Maybe someone can fill us in on how this all started, but for as long as I can remember we would go up to the spillway, buy a few loaves of stale bread, and feed the incredible mass of carp that congregate around this spillway. At one time it was billed as “Where the ducks walk on the fish.”. This was not a tall tale at all, but you almost have to see it to believe it. Thousands upon thousands of hungry carp turn the surface into a churning sea of mouths and eyes as the ravenous fish await a handout. This has become such a draw that last year the state spent a great deal of money building a beautiful new concession building and a very nice landscaped walkway to view the astounding site from.


This is the stuff that nightmares are made of.

1 comment:

MiMi said...

I have to thank you for the photo trip down memory lane. I worked at CLP for 3 years (87-89).These were some of the best times of my life. I was sad to see the state of the park.For those of you that are familiar with the park, you will understand this...they should have never put up the fence.I remember days when we served 20,000 people.
We hosted company picnics and family reunions.I understand that time passes by and that the park was old when I worked there, but it is still sad to see it fall away.