Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums
Cedar Point, Ohio
Scope and Content
The Cedar Point Amusement Park photographs and business records are a part of the Great Lakes Collection assembled by the late Charles E. Frohman of Sandusky, Ohio. Originally, the Cedar Point images were in the possession of Ernst Niebergall, a Sandusky, Ohio photographer. Later, Frohman expanded the collection by the addition of the early business records. Due to the fragile nature of the images, patrons are encouraged to use the notebook containing photocopies of all 122 photographs.
In 1870, Louis Zistel, a German immigrant and Sandusky, Ohio cabinetmaker, opened a beer garden and bath house at Cedar Point, Ohio. From this inauspicious beginning, Cedar Point grew to one of the nation's premier amusement parks and summer resort destinations. Sandusky, Ohio entrepreneurs, William Slackford and Benjamin F. Dwelle, were the first to realize the potential of Cedar Point as a commercial leisure venture. Cedar Point's beaches, improvements through the 1880's, and inexpensive steamboat service brought instant success. However, by 1888, with Slackford ill, Dwelle formed a more lucrative partnership with Cedar Point landowners Louis Adolph and Adam Stoll, as well as Jacob Kuebeler and Charles Baetz. They announced the construction of the Grand Pavilion, a structure noted for its unusual architecture and technology. It remains an integral part of the park today. The partners sold out to the Cedar Point Pleasure Resort Company of Indianapolis, Indiana. The gifted George A. Boeckling soon became the mainstay of Cedar Point. Under his direction, the park reached its greatest popularity. He constructed the famous Breakers Hotel, a new amusement center, employee dormitories, and a roller coaster. Vaudeville acts, bands, stunt fliers, and actors attracted enormous crowds. As auto transportation replaced steamship and rail travel, the resort began to suffer. Owners placed greater emphasis on the amusement park, but crowds diminished in the face of the Great Depression and WWII. Not until the 1950's renovation, under the ownership of Roose and Legros, did the park regain its popularity. Greater disposable income and increased travel and leisure time returned Cedar Point to its former glory days.
Scope and Content
The collection includes early business records of the Cedar Point Pleasure Resort Company as well as those of the Johnson's Island Pleasure Resort Company. The silver gelatin prints represent some of the earliest images ever taken of Cedar Point. They provide a record of the transition in leisure and recreation in the Midwest - from simple work-related family activities to sophisticated commercial ventures aimed at the masses of middle-class Americans. See also: Frohman Vertical File and Local History File.
Business Records: Organizational records of Cedar Point and Johnson's Island Pleasure Resort Companies
1. Cedar Point Pleasure Resort Company articles of incorporation, by-laws, and minutes of
shareholders' and directors' meetings, 1897-1903.
2. Cedar Point Pleasure Resort Company stockholder ledger, 1905-1935.
3. Advertising artwork, ca. 1911 (5 pieces)
4. Scrapbook containing drawings from a Cedar Point brochure, ca. 1916.
5. Johnson's Island Pleasure Resort Company shareholders' and directors' meeting minutes,
Photographs: Mounted silver gelatin prints, depicting Cedar point facilities, amusements, crowds,
and beach scenes. Ca. 1878 - 1930. (Subject index available in the reading room.)
Cedar Point photographs 1 - 30
Cedar Point photographs 31 - 60
Cedar Point photographs 61 - 91
Cedar Point photographs 92 -122