Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hot Summer Sun & Fun for Everyone!

I've been meaning to explore this place for almost a year now. Anyone who grew up in the Cleveland-area of North-East Ohio should be familiar with the popular jingle: "Dover Lake, the Waterpark Place, Hot summer sun - and fun for Everyone! Dover Lake!" Similarly, you can imagine my surprise when Vienna and Chippewa native friends had never heard of Dover Lake Waterpark, nor Fun 'n Stuff.

Dover Lake Waterpark, according to my research, was owned by Marc Glassman of MGI until 2006 when it closed, and was sold to Boston Mills/Brandywine Ski Resorts -- the property's neighboring local artificial snow aficionados. (Interestingly, further research indicates that Marc Glassman is the founder and owner of Marc's stores - ie: the cheap Save-a-Lot competitor!? Go figure! So Marc's used to own, and sold Dover Lake!) The park's website has been down for some time, but thanks to the magic of the internet - you can see what it once looked like on say, February 9th, 2006? According to the "Way-Back Machine" this was the second-last time the site was updated before being removed in late 2006. According to that update, they changed it to say "now accepting applications for the 2006 seasons" but they closed before the season started. Hm, guess the decision was made pretty late. This ClevelandScene review covers things like admission, a break down of the amenities offered, etc. for any other history buffs looking into this place. (For people trying to find this abandoned place to explore, I like to offer all info I can on a silver platter :D.)

GoogleEarth view.

Anyway, so I've known the park was closed for a few years now -- and I finally today got up the nerve to go try to explore it! (Plus I was having a bad day, so two abandoned buildings in one weekend was a sure pick-me-up.) Me and Sarah grabbed our Urban-Explorer grins and marched off to Sagamore Hills, Ohio. Now, without further ado...

We followed a near-by National Park towpath, which I determined was safer and got us closer to park property while being on public property longer than say - oh, walking up the drive way. After finding the "Jaite Paper Mill" (pictures will be posted some day soon I'm sure) we found a dramatic "No Trespassing" sign...

and a few minutes after ignoring that for the most part, we journeyed into the bridle trails -- and finally, over the hills and through the woods -- could see in the distance: slivers of the park!

It took a lot of walking through thorn-bushes, and though we were a little worried about the "audio-surveillance" and video cameras, we eventually hit the first signs of the park: piles of scrap wood, metal, torn apart concrete, dozens of plastic garbage cans and tops -- and two pontoons.

We freaked out for a second about what we thought was a security person's voice, but quickly determined it to be a duck quacking. Moving on, I had fun with a few panoramas, documenting how much grasslands had taken over the park.

It also shows how many of the buildings/structures had been torn down. Yes, urbanites, I'm afraid if you were hoping of walking the empty loop that was the whirlpool or observing the scum growing in the wave pool you will be sorely disappointed. All of the identifiably Dover-Lake-attractions have been removed or torn down. We proceeded to the next nearest building, deciding screw that camera/microphone security bluff --

And found this creepy bio-bed looking thing! Inside this first building was a loud buzzing that I determined was electrical equipment (even though there was nothing for the electricity to run now that I think about it...) and Sarah though could be a huge bee's nest. The next nearest major building (two chicken-coop looking gas-line/electric-meter stations did not seem worth exploring) was the "Polar BLAST" building which looked new, and if there was security - they probably worked from inside there. We kept our distance.

We moved on to a wooden structure I *do* remember existing, but I don't remember going into it too much. But I could remember seeing it from the beach area. Now it was filled with TONS of birds flying around, and paint and work stuff. Dunno what's goin on there, but on the side of it were two functional snowboards.

From there we walked over to the first recognizable 'ride' which confirmed for me we were where I thought. The 75ft high drop-double slide, was gone. All that was left was an impression on the ground where the slides' flattening out parts once stood. Sarah and Amanda called this the "wedge slide."
The shaded parts on the top right, yeah, that's where the slide used to be. Which confirms that hill was where the ridiculous tube maze thing that went down used to be! That was the awesomest part of the park, ride a tube down the hill for like 20 minutes. Ahh, the memories.
Well, not much is left. The ski resort next door took out the tubing and pools, and added the snow-makers. From here, it was a short walk to where you used to be able to take out paddle boats into a little cordoned off part of the lake (Dover Lake? Official name? I can't find it on the map...) all that remains is this sinking mess:

From here, we saw a big pile of metal things. Upon closer inspection, they were the former ski-lift chairs that took you to the top of the tube thing you took 20 minutes to go down. Dozens of them!
And that was pretty much it. With the exception of the parking lot which we didn't deem worthy of exploration (the thought of audio surveillance still being active in our minds.) So we headed out. Sigh, all the cool things I was hoping to find were filled in, torn down, and taken out. All that remains are the lakes themselves and a few wooden structures. You pretty much can't tell a water park was ever there! But we all remember the awesome times there, I know I remember going there with Ryan and Amanda back in the day. Ah, the memories. Goodbye Dover Lake, we hardly knew ye, and Ohio is not as fun without you at all!

We went on other adventures today, but I wanna keep this blog topic-focused. And I didn't really mention how many thorn bushes we had to go through, I came through relativly unscathed - but Sarah's legs look crazy scratched up! :( Next time pants. Gotta do some homework for my last week of summer classes!

Song of the Day: "Paper Gangsta" by Lady Gaga. Trying to pick less Gaga for my songs of the day, but I just heard this song the first time the other day. Thought I knew all the Lady Gaga songs - but recognized this as the one the girl in the prison yard in the Telephone video is listening to! The meaning of the song really has no significance.

Quote of the Day: "You get 30 points for sassy!" - Sarah, about Amanda -- making a Veronica Mars reference. I'm so proud!

Lol, in the Veronica Mars episode: "Rapes of Graff" - they go to a college Campus, and a frat douche is trying to get her to sleep with him. He tells her how many points she'd be worth (as a compliment) "...40 for being a blond, 20 more for being a natural... 30 points for sassy." Adding up to like 230 something. She later gets him in trouble with his frat for a bunch of things from rape, lying about sleeping with her, etc (watch the episode!) and says something about "my 260 points", he responds "It was 230"
Her: "You undercounted the sassy!"

Video of the Day: While doing some internet research on Dover Lake for this blog, I could not find the old commercial with the jingle on Youtube :( I did however find this band performing an old song there, when I was 4 months old. Enjoy! It does not really show any of the park unfortunately, except a little of the tube slide in the background of the first five seconds.


Anonymous said...

God I used to love this park and it was destroyed for know good reason. Thanks for the info and the pictures. Would love to steel one of those old lift chairs I might have to make a clandestine stop thier myself.

GarE said...

I know this is an old article, and I'm not sure you even see comments on it anymore, but I couldn't find an email address for you, so I just wanted to make a quick comment and say thanks for this post! I loved Dover Lake and I love pictures of abandoned things so I really dug this page. Although it made me really sad, too. It was a fantastic water park and there's nothing like it in the area anymore. I really miss it!

Will said...

I was so sorry to hear this place closed. We only visited once while in Ohio to visit relatives, and we friggin' loved it. Thanks for the PI-style update.