Editor’s Note: This story first published on Feb. 14, 2017.
Decades before Warren County’s Kings Island became a regional attraction in the early 1970s, Americana Amusement Park was a premier summer attraction for thousands of Southwest Ohio families.
LeSourdsville Lake began with Middletown resident Edgar Streifthau's desire to turn a former ice manufacturing facility into a place where residents could swim and have picnics
Construction began in 1921, and the park opened on May 8, 1922. Admission was 10 cents.
LeSourdville Lake was a popular entertainment venue for national music acts from artists as diverse as Fats Domino to Dick Clark.
Streifthau was forced to sell that park in 1960 after his partner, Don Dazey, died of cancer. However, Streifthau still had 20 acres of land next to LeSourdsville Lake, and he was eager to get back into the business, so he created a park designed for children ages 12 and under.
In 1963, Streifthau opened Fantasy Farm on his property next to LeSourdsville. It featured a petting zoo, a picnic area, a playground and rides. Fantasy Farm remained in operation until 1991.
LeSourdville Lake was renamed Americana Amusement Park in 1977. It closed in 1999.
One of Americana’s most famous rides was the roller coaster The Screechin’ Eagle.
The coaster was originally built by John Miller for a park in Zanesville, Ohio. The coaster, then called the Cyclone, moved to LeSourdsville in 1940.
The coaster was later called the Space Rocket, then the Screechin’ Eagle and was well-regarded by coaster fans.
The wooden roller coaster was torn down in 2011.
Jerry Couch, who owned a local RV dealership, bought the park in 2000.
The park was renamed LeSourdsville Lake – The Great American Amusement Park.
Couch reopened the park briefly in 2002 before closing it permanently.
After the park closed in 2002, it became part of the Couch’s Camper’s RV dealership.
Butler Tech officials said the $2.75 million purchase of 36 acres of the former amusement park will lead to a new adult education campus for the career school system.
The area will be developed in conjunction with the city of Monroe, which recently announced plans to convert a section of the former Americana property into park space.