Saturday, January 22, 2005

Idora Park and its roller coasters - 2000

Nothing is more a part of Youngstown's history than Idora Park, an amusement park which began as a trolley park on Youngstown's South Side in the late 1890's. After a fire in 1984 effectively shut down the park, Idora was no more. Another fire in 1986 would claim even more of the park, with a March 2001 fire claiming the abandoned yet famous ballroom. These photos show all that remained of the park in the summer of 2000. They were taken by roller coaster enthusiast Paul Drabek who runs the website The first photo shows the middle hill and brakerun of the Wildcat, the more famous of the park's two coasters. After it burned, seeing its yellow wood frame in the trees as you drive through bordering Mill Creek Park always created an eerie scene. The second two show the smaller coaster, the Jack Rabbit. During the 1984 park season, the coaster ran backwards and was called the Back Wabbit. This was done in a failed attempt to create a more dramatic ride. These efforts were not enough and that would be the parks last season, which only a few company picnics held in 1985.

Thanks to Paul Drabek for the use of the pictures. All rights held by Paul Drabek and used with permission.


Paul said...

Greatpost but you ended it by calling me "Doug Drabek" who is a baseball player where I am Paul Drabek coaster enthusiast. ;-)

Have Fun

Paul Drabek

Youngstown Pride said...

Sorry... no harm meant. I wrote Doug Drabek out of second nature. I am a huge Pittsburgh Pirates fan. Thanks for use of the photos.
- Joe

Anonymous said...

nice post, however many including myself have tried for years to purchase the land, only to be put aside by politicians protecting it for the church they are members of.
i have an extensive collection of Idora memorabilia including a Wildcat car as well as 4 Wildcat blueprints, as i still search for the lifthill, station, tunnels,blueprints and eletrical schematic....not to rebuild, as i would only want that done at the original site, but for memories.

so again thanks for sharing and the pics are sad as there is nothing really left at the site except for a stome fountain and the stone steps by the ballroom that led to the picnic well as the layout of all the buildings that were in the park at ground level.


Anonymous said...

As a Youngstown native, a lover of rollercoasters, just looking at the photos and bearing witness to the Truth of your words, "the eerie feeling" (when seeing the charred yellow tracks thru the trees in Mill Creek Park) made me reminisce of a childhood long gone. I remember being devastated upon learning that the Wildcat had caught on fire. I cried and cried for days at the feeling of loss and injustice with such a tragedy. I mourned the loss for a very long time. Those memories haunt me as I lived and witnessed the deterioration of a landmark park "Idora"as well as the city of Youngstown itself in the following Years. The death of the Steel Mills killed Youngstown's energy and spirit.