Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the days are numbered

I've never been one to do anything really crazy, but I have always been a sucker for abandoned and forgotten places. One of the best ones within driving distance is Chippewa Lake Park, which has been abandoned since the late 1970s.

When I was in college (grad school actually), my roommate and I drove over there with her camera to check the place out. We tried to get a couple guy friends to go with us but no one was free, and this whole venture took on a cliche horror movie feel (two college girls enter an abandoned amusement park and encounter a psychotic killer, etc, etc...).

The area itself feels like one of those photos you see of Appalachian regions in southern Ohio, with lots of trailers and rickety houses and stray animals everywhere. The park itself turned out to be more or less an open secret. Getting in was no trouble because there were people-sized holes conveniently cut into the fence all around. You could see the turnstiles through the bushes, and the frame of the old rollercoaster towering over the trees.

Further in, you could follow the pavement through the park, past the ballroom that had burned down, to the ferris wheel, the doodlebug ride, and the midway, full of collapsing stands.

What was so creepy about this place, though, was how abruptly it seemed to have been abandoned. Maintenance vehicles rusting away, all the rides still intact as nature took them over. I was completely jumpy the whole time, wondering if anyone was in these abandoned buildings, how fresh those other footprints were, but we had no such encounters.

I just found out today that someone has bought this property and plans to turn it into a resort with shopping, spas, resort hotels. I wonder who's going to drive this far and if they'll be able to handle the incredible amount of mosquitoes.

So if you're looking to explore this place, it's probably better to do it sooner rather than later.

1 comment:

Randal Graves said...

It's too bad no one ever buys property, cleans out clutter such as this, and leaves the future to nature instead of yet one more shopping mall.