Remembering Idora Park over the years - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Remembering Idora Park over the years

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -
The opening of Idora Park dates back to the summer of 1899, and it outlasted most of the urban amusement parks that existed in cities across the country. Here in the Mahoning Valley it wasn't really summer until Idora opened it's gates.

"It was an event and so people look forward to that. It was kinda like the beginning of summer and then when Idora closed, well, that was it. That was the end of summer," said Rick Shale.

That's why "The Last Ride Of Summer" is the name retired Youngstown State University professor Rick Shale gave to his book about Idora Park. In doing his research, Shale found that everyone who experienced the park as a child, a parent or grandparent had special memories.

"Everybody has an Idora story. People will say, I had my first date there or I met my husband there or I met my wife there," said Shale.

Up until the 1960's there was no admission cost at Idora.

"Of course, you had to pay for rides, or food, or dancing or whatever, but if you just wanted to come out and bring your own picnic lunch,"
said Shale.  

But it was hard to resist Idora's most popular ride, the Wild Cat.  "Idora Park's Wild Cat routinely was ranked among the top ten wooden roller coasters in America, " stated Shale.

Shale added that Idora had a certain charm about it that you don't find much anymore, "I think it's one of the few places where the classes, the races, the different ethnicities, they all mingled and they were all here for a common purpose and they all had fun."

Sadly, it all ended in a burst of flames. On Thursday at 6 p.m., Glenn Stevens looks at the fire of 1984 and those who battled the blaze. 
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