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Columbus’ amusement parks once were entertainment hot spots

Ed Lentz

The story of the amusement palaces of Columbus is a tale worth retelling. We would do well to remember the great parks because, in an age of hard work and hard times, they brought a lot of pleasure to a lot of people.

Historically, amusement parks evolved from a number of different sources. Medieval trade fairs attracted people looking to buy, sell or trade all sorts of things. The fairs also attracted acrobatic acts, jugglers and musicians, and by the 1800s had become attractions of their own.

The mechanization of rides in the 1860s led to roller coasters, Ferris wheels and carousels – all of which needed to be mounted somewhere permanently. The 1800s also saw the arrival of World’s Fairs and other trade expositions, which combined these attractions and drew a lot of people.