#tbt - History of Cedar Point, 1980s style

Walt's avatar

This video was produced by Cedar Point back in the mid-1980s to showcase the history of the park. I remember watching this slideshow presentation in the Cedar Point Convention Center while on a field trip at the park as a seventh grader in 1986. It was one of my first introductions to the park's incredibly rich history and likely the trigger for my fascination with the park's past.

A year or so later, I was lucky enough to record the show when it was broadcast on the local cable access station out of Sandusky.


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All of the old photos and video have been wonderful. Keep them coming, please!

In the slide around 14:34 in the video, is that the Glassblowing Amphitheater as seen from what is now Thunder Canyon's queue? My memory of the area is fuzzy pre-Thunder Canyon. Wasn't there a trading post or some kind of craft shop roughly where the ride is now? I've never really seen any photos of that.

"Thank the Phoenicians!"

kylepark's avatar

Found an interesting home video featuring CP in 1989 and figured to post in this topic since it's about the 1980s. Video quality isn't the best, but found the audio to be very good. Picks up the cool original sound effects from Magnum's tunnels!

kylepark's avatar

Here's some more old video, from Summer 1983, featuring Mill Race and Oceana Dolphin Show:

Kylepark, i watched video one. Some of it anyways. A few things-
1. I had not realized until I watched this, but there have been occasions where I close my eyes and let my mind wander (like when your going to sleep or whatever). I apparently had been flashing back to the beginning/end of Mill Race where you get on and off. Bizarre, I know. Just one of those random memories that are stuck in my brain from childhood.
2. I don't remember Calypso ever having shades over the cars. I also don't remember being allowed to go on the top of the pirate ship outside of Pirate Ride.
3. My dad pointed out to me today (we were at CP) that Cedar Downs was likely a one of a kind carousel. We don't know this for sure. But there is no noticeable central drive unit (my guess is that there is a motor under the access panels on the platform where you exit). There is also nothing else to the carousel other than the deck with the horses and everything BELOW it (there is nothing overhead that is part of the actual carosuel). Also, the horses move forward and backward as the carousel moves, which we've never seen on another carousel ever.
Anyways, thanks for sharing. I love retro Cedar Point videos!

kylepark's avatar

Over the years, pieces of Calypso started to disappear. First was the shades off each car, then the back panels after the ride was relocated when the park built Raptor.

If I'm not mistaken, there wasn't many rides built like Cedar Downs. There may even be one other left operating somewhere. This one originally operated as The Great American Racing Derby at the now defunct Euclid Beach Park.

I believe there are only three racing derby rides left. Two in the United States (Cedar Point and Rye Playground in New York) and one in England.

I believe the one in England is at Blackpool.They were built by Prior and Church.

The Racing Derby at Blackpool was built inhouse after WWII using Prior & Church plans. There actually were a number of these built prior to the Great Depression, and about a half dozen survived until the 1950's. By the mid 1960's only three survived in North America. The Euclid Beach machine (now at CP) the Rye Playland ride, and the former Sunnyside Park machine at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in Toronto. The latter was dismantled and scrapped when Conklin shows had to remove the permanent rides they had there.

Last edited by Dutchman,
Paisley's avatar

Cedar Downs is the only one of the 3 racing derbies (last I heard/read) that was still racing as it was meant to. The other horses don't move back and forth anymore.

JohnMosesBrowning's avatar

Neat old video from my days working in the park. I still think it is a damned shame that the Grand Ballroom sits unused. We had weekly employee dances there. Do they still do that? Even then, only about half of the ballroom was used.

Thabto's avatar

They use it as a makeup area for screamsters during Halloweekends.

Valravn Rides: 24| Steel Vengeance Rides: 27| Dragster Rollbacks: 1

I've heard that there are several reasons why the ballroom is not used as often as it used to. One is the accessability issue, the other I believe has to do with the fire marshal. I remember the after closing employee dances up there, but that was forty some years ago

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