Olentangy Park - History - The Dusenbury Brothers (1899 To 1909)

The Dusenbury Brothers (1899 To 1909)

In 1899, 100 acres of "The Villa" were purchased by the Dusenbury brothers of New Lexington, Ohio. They renamed the area Olentangy Park and developed the amusement park concern. The first addition was a roller coaster called "The Figure Eight". The 1904 World's fair was held in St Louis. At its conclusion, the Dusenbury brothers purchased the "Japanese Gardens" exhibit and installed it at Olentangy park. The gardens became a beautiful, tranquil retreat from the Park's rides and noise. By 1910, the brothers had added considerably to Olentangy Park. A zoo, with monkeys, bears, and elephants was built near the Park's southern end. A boat house, known as the "Canoe Club" was constructed along the banks of the Olentangy River. Visitors could rent a canoe for a quiet afternoon of boating on the Olentangy. An arcade was constructed along the northern end of the Park which featured rows of enclosed rides such as "The Olde Mill," and the "Tunnel of Love." A restaurant replaced the tavern. Near the river, a large theatre was constructed. At the time, it was the largest theatre in the United States. A formal picnic area was cleared in the ravine which separated the north and south ends of the park. Wooden walking bridges were built over the ravines connecting the Park's various points. Electric lighting was added throughout the Park. The North High Street Trolley was diverted into the Park. Trolleys could exit North High Street at North Street, travel through a large "castle gate" and arrive at the Park's exclusive trolley stop. Olentangy Park became one of a growing number of "Trolley parks" becoming more common at the time in the United States. Visitors could reach such a park from every corner of their city.

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