Sunday, June 09, 2002

Mini-museum houses fond memories of park


Prize possessions

By Marsie Hall Newbold
Enquirer contributor

        Who: Scott Fowler, 41, of West Carrollton, co-founder of the Southwest Ohio Amusement Park Historical Society, author (his book From Ferris Wheels to Fires is due to be published this fall), Web master of the Unofficial Americana Amusement Park & LeSourdsville Lake Web site (www.americanaamusementpark.com) and curator of a mini-museum featuring souvenirs from the former LeSourdsville Lake/Americana Amusement Park.

[photo] Scott Fowler has the walls and table of his dining room full of LeSourdsville Lake memorabilia.
(GLenn Hartong photo)
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        Where: In his single-guy dining room. “If I was married it probably never would have happened,” he chuckles.

        In the beginning: Mr. Fowler didn't set out to turn his dining room into a museum. It evolved as part of a Southwest Ohio Amusement Park Historical Society project. The group had been deliberating an exhibition of their collectibles.

        “I wasn't sure how much stuff I actually had,” he recalls. “Really, I was just trying to get an idea of how much square footage I was talking about.”

        Great memories: Mr. Fowler's interest in the Middletown attraction began when he was employed in the restaurant located on the park's midway in the late '70s and early '80s.

        Gotta start somewhere: His first collectible was a heavy, glass LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park Tombstone Territory mug that he brought home from the job. One of the perks of his employment was free drinks.

        Since then, he has amassed more than 200 items including matching glass pitchers, ash trays, felt pennants, game tokens, soft drink cans, press kits, copies of newspaper articles and photographs dating back to the 1930's.

        Nothing to sneeze at: The most unusual article in his collection is what he describes as “A very unappealing looking handkerchief. I have no idea why they sold them,” he says. “It is imprinted with the words LeSourdsville Lake and has artists renditions of the most popular attractions.”

        Most kids who work at amusement parks spend a summer or two earning money, then move on. Why does Mr. Fowler feel such an affinity for the old LeSourdsville Lake/Americana Amusement Park?

        “Probably without a doubt the atmosphere,” he muses. “There was a tight-knitness that made it comfortable to be in. Whether you worked there or went for fun, there was a kind of small town atmosphere. Most employees knew each other and the employers knew the employee's names. It was a nice, small park that you could let your kids run around in and not worry about them getting lost.

        “I have a lot of good memories of working there,” he concludes. “It was probably the best time of my life.”

        Share your prize possessions with Marsie Hall Newbold by mail: c/o The Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; E-mail: marsolete@aol.com.
       

       



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