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On a hot June day of 2002, the Eagle takes flight at sunset during its final summer.

Americana, also referred to as LeSourdsville Lake, was a small picnic park that saw over 100 years of operation. Closing forever following the 2002 season, ownership had changed hands and attempts were made to continue operation but after failed attempts to turn a profit, it closed permanently. The park's remaining rides and attractions were either demolished or sold, including an Ohio favorite (and considered by many including myself to be the best wooden coaster in Ohio). Americana immediately cast visitors into a 1960's era surrounded by classic rides, games, and food. Kings Island, which sits a mere half-hour to the east, is night and day in comparison.

Americana is most beloved for its classic John Miller out and back wooden coaster Screechin Eagle which stood until it was demolished in 2011 (well after the park closed). It is difficult to explain how different a ride on a classic wooden coaster at a small park always trumps those that have been severely tamed down at large parks for insurance reasons. I walked away from my first ride on Screechin Eagle and instantly knew it was a top 10 for me, and today (2014) I still find only a few wooden coasters that top it. Granted we have more designs today, such as the amazing twisters from GCI and Gravity Goup, but as far as classics go this was a gem. You were standing more than you are sitting (from airtime, not disregarding the rules!). The laterals and airtime combined to create a non-stop thrill machine that was worth the trip to the park alone. The trains were unique as well, having come from the original Elitch's Gardens' Wildcat coaster. The Eagle gave only a second to catch your breath at the turnaround, and unlike most coasters that peeter out on the return leg, this was the opposite. Many had wished Coney Island (Cincy) or Kings Island would buy it but that never came. I personally thought Coney would have been perfect as that park hasn't had a wooden coaster since everything there was ripped out (when Kings Island was built in 1972). I am glad my friends and I experienced one of the true legends of roller coaster history. Americana also had the world's BEST scrambler, a Rock-O-Plane, and a great Super Round Up among other classics. Many of my amusement ride models were inspired by the ones here.



Southwest Ohio Amusement Park Society

AMERICANA on Wikipedia


All images copyright Brad Sherman unless noted otherwise.