Of all that's changed about Chippewa Lake since the glory days, from the grand roller coasters to the lively bandstand and dancefloor and Independence Day fireworks displays of yore, nothing is sadder by contrast than the present condition of the park's lakefront. As you can see in the historic photos, the beach was once a major part of the daily (and nightly) festivities at Chippewa Lake.

These days a rotten dock, encroached on both sides by vegetation run riot, is all that leads you to the lakeshore. Even that is hard to find at the other end of a maze of overgrown paths.

At the end of the dock (which doesn't extend into the water at all anymore) you'll find yourself on a dirty scrim of beach with the pitiful remains of a canoe- and paddleboat-rental hut.

This frame is part of the picnic pavilion which once stood here, from what I've read. To give you an idea of where the present path cuts through the original park, I've drawn an arrow on the old aerial shot.

There was a beach and a pier, which meant swimming and boating. At various times you could also enjoy the Chippewa Park Hotel, picnic area, and Sunset Dining Room. In the postcard below you can see swimmers way out in the blue summer water on the Bathing Beach, with the Bath House (another attraction long since flattened) visible at the shore.

The lake is still pretty, no doubt about it, but it's painful to think just how many beautiful summer nights were spent partying on this beachfront, making use of the rides and games and concessions the amusement park had to offer and maybe participating in one of those dances at the bandstand and picking up a member of the opposite sex while the music echoed out across the water and you formed memories you had no idea would make your heart ache years later. It must have been beautiful. Cedar Point, which has a much grander lake to make use of, pretty much ignores it, which is just another reason that the loss of Chippewa Lake Amusement Park meant far more than just the loss of another place to ride the bumper cars.

Pictured here from both the front and the back is the late, great Chippewa Park Hotel, a place to rent a room at the park which literally overlooked the lake itself. The hotel fell apart for years and was finally finished off by arsonists, much like the grand ballroom at the other side of the park.

When the weather was warm, Chippewa Lake's lakefront was known as the Bathing Beach, as you can see in the postcards above. The water was clean and safe for boaters and swimmers alike. Aside from renting individual canoes and paddleboats, visitors could take a seat on Miss Chippewa or one of its ancestors for a tour around the lake. The official scenic tour boat was popular up through the park's final decade of service.

Although you'd never be able to tell it from the way the beach looks today, this sandy stretch along one of Ohio's few natural lakes was once a major recreation spot. Many of the rides were situated along the lakefront to take advantage of the view, but the ones that haven't been disassembled are overgrown with weeds, leaving a rotten paddleboat kiosk to mark the place where families once came to eat seafood dinners and ride the tourboat.

If you haven't seen the rest of the Chippewa Lake section, be sure to visit the pages dedicated to roller coasters and other rides and games, the ballroom and other buildings, and historic images of the park.