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A look back at LeSourdsville Lake / Americana Amusement Park

Butler Tech has purchased a part of the former Americana Amusement Park site for a new school campus in Monroe, the Journal-News first reported.



Decades before Warren County’s Kings Island became a regional attraction in the early 1970s, Americana Amusement Park was a premier summer attraction for thousands of Southwest Ohio families.

LeSourdsville Lake around 1950. (CONTRIBUTED)

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LeSourdsville Lake began with Middletown resident Edgar Streifthau's desire to turn a former ice manufacturing facility into a place where residents could swim and have picnics

Construction began in 1921, and the park opened on May 8, 1922. Admission was 10 cents. 

A 1946 season pass to LeSourdsville Lake, complete with lipstick kisses. (CONTRIBUTED)

LeSourdville Lake was a popular entertainment venue for national music acts from artists as diverse as Fats Domino to Dick Clark.

Streifthau was forced to sell that park in 1960 after his partner, Don Dazey, died of cancer. However, Streifthau still had 20 acres of land next to LeSourdsville Lake, and he was eager to get back into the business, so he created a park designed for children ages 12 and under.

Fantasy Farm offered many fun hours of amusement for children and their families for nearly 30 years. (CONTRIBUTED)

In 1963, Streifthau opened Fantasy Farm on his property next to LeSourdsville. It featured a petting zoo, a picnic area, a playground and rides. Fantasy Farm remained in operation until 1991.

One of Fantasy Farm’s many rides was called the Skyliner, which was added to the park in 1973. (CONTRIBUTED)

LeSourdville Lake was renamed Americana Amusement Park in 1977. It closed in 1999.

Americana Amusement Park sits idle in 2000. (TY GREENLEES)
In 1999, Delilah Wallenda and her son Nikolas perform on a motorcycle attached to a wire over the lake at Americana Amusement Park. (WALLY NELSON)

One of Americana’s most famous rides was the roller coaster The Screechin’ Eagle.

The coaster was originally built by John Miller for a park in Zanesville, Ohio. The coaster, then called the Cyclone, moved to LeSourdsville in 1940.

The coaster was later called the Space Rocket, then the Screechin’ Eagle and was well-regarded by coaster fans. 

The wooden roller coaster was torn down in 2011.

RV dealer Jerry Couch purchased Americana Amusement Park in 2000. He is pictured here with the Belle of LeSourdsville and the Serpent. (TY GREENLEES)

Jerry Couch, who owned a local RV dealership, bought the park in 2000.

The park was renamed LeSourdsville Lake – The Great American Amusement Park.

A portion of the Monroe's proposed bike path will go through the former Americana Amusement Park off Ohio 4. The city and the property owner are working on a land swap. (TY GREENLEES)
Nicole DeMastry prepares to plant marigolds near the Serpent roller coaster at LeSourdsville Amusement Park in 2002. (Ty Greenlees)

Couch reopened the park briefly in 2002 before closing it permanently.

After the park closed in 2002, it became part of the Couch’s Camper’s RV dealership.

 

An employee inspects a ride in 2002 at the former Americana Amusement Park in Monroe. The park, built in 1922, went through several ownership changes before finally closing in 2002 when it was known as LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park. (STAFF FILE PHOTO/2002)
LeSourdsville Lake closed for good after 2002 and is now part of the Couch's Camper's RV dealership. (Gary Stelzer/MIDDLETOWN JOURNAL)
A fiberglass elephant lies on the side of a drained lake in 2006 after LeSourdsville Lake employees removed it from the closed amusement park. (Gary Stelzer/MIDDLETOWN JOURNAL)
Butler Tech purchased 36 acres of what was the old Fantasy Farm Amusement Park (pictured), Couch's Campers and part of the LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park, formerly Americana Amusement Park. (HANDOUT)

Butler Tech officials said the $2.75 million purchase of 36 acres of the former amusement park will lead to a new adult education campus for the career school system. 

Butler Tech purchased 36 acres of what was the old Fantasy Farm Amusement Park, Couch's Campers and part of the LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park, formerly Americana Amusement Park, near the intersection of Ohio 4 and State Route 63 in Monroe. The City of Monroe owns much of the LeSourdsville Lake land and school and Monroe city officials are jointly developing the property. Butler Tech plans for the lot to serve as its sixth campus, focusing on adult education. (HANDOUT)

The area will be developed in conjunction with the city of Monroe, which recently announced plans to convert a section of the former Americana property into park space.

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