The Story of Idora Park



The history of Idora Park could easily take up more space and time than I have available, so this will be a very brief summary for those who aren't familiar with the park. Check out the links page for pages with more detailed history sections. You can also check out you local library for information about the park especially if you live somewhere with a large library or if you're near Youngstown.

As always, there will be inaccuracies in this information, so don't take it as the be all end all of Idora Park information. If you have corrections, please email me at


Idora Park was what is known as a Trolley Park. This is a term you will see nearly everywhere when researching older amusement parks. Basically how it worked was that trolley companies made most of their money during the week taking people to work. Since there was no money coming in on the weekends, and the trolley cars were sitting, the companies would build parks at the end of the line so that people would take the trolley there on the weekends. It worked. What probably wasn't expected was that the parks outlasted the trolley lines by years once the car became popular.


The Park and Falls Street Railway Company was the trolley line that built Idora Park. It opened in May of 1899 and was called Terminal Park. A short time later, the park was renamed Idora in a local Youngstown area contest. Where this name comes from seems to be unknown.


Idora thrived for years with shows in the ballrooms, coasters being built and replaced by newer and better ones, new buildings, annual events, and the works. As with any amusement park, times slowed during the depression, but the park pulled through. In the 50s, Disney world came along, and hurt business for the smaller parks. This is another thing that you will find often when researching old amusement parks. Many of them cite Disney as a major downfall. Lake parks were hurt probably more than Idora as they were cottage based places where people would spend their vacations. Once Disney came along, people were going there instead of the cottage. Ironically, Cedar Point is adding cottages again!


In the 80s, I dora was starting to have a tough time. It had lasted much longer than many of the similar parks in Ohio, but it was the others closed, the remaining Ohio parks were getting bigger. Idora didn't have the space to grow as much as some of the others. This was also a very tough time for Youngstown as far as the economy was concerned. Mills throughout the area were closing down. Downtown Youngstown stores were closing and moving away. Many people were without jobs in the area and an amusement park visit was probably one of the very first things to give up. Also noteworthy is that many local Mills had company picnics at Idora. This was business lost once the Mills closed.


In 1982, the park was put up for sale. In 1984 work on the log flume ride sparked a fire that quickly spread to the Wild Cat roller coaster. The Wild Cat was one of Idora's main attractions as it was one wild roller coaster. From there, the fire spread to some of the parks buildings including the office that housed the park documents. All said and told the Wild Cat, log flume, and various buildings were destroyed and would never be used again. The carousel survived the blaze thanks to the efforts of fire fighters who worked very hard to save it. The park opened for its normal season with the rides burnt, and with trailers in place of the stands and shops that were destroyed. Business was minimal.


In September of 84, at the end of the season, the park closed its gates forever. On October 20, 1984 an auction was held. Many of the rides were sold as were minor belongings such as game prizes and things of that sort.

In 1986 another fire destroyed some of the buildings near the WildCat turnaround, the funhouse, bumper cars, and the Heidelberg Gardens building. At this point the park had been officially closed since the end of its 1984 season.

What remains of Idora today.

Over the years, the Mount Calvary Pentecostal Church, who bought the land the park was on, has let the grounds rot. Many of the buildings have been torn down by the request of the local government due to their lack of upkeep and care.

Most recently the ballroom was lost to a fire. On March 5th 2001, the ballroom burnt to the ground. It was one of the few remaining buildings in the park. The previous year marked the loss of the French fry stand and the kiddy land building (once the pool building). Shortly after the loss of the ballroom, the park was demolished entirely. There are nearly no remains other than some foundations, stairs, and wood.




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