Category Archives: Euclid Beach Park – Cleveland Ohio

Euclid Beach Park, Cleveland, Ohio

Euclid Beach Park – Cleveland Ohio – pt 3

The Miller and Bartlett Flying Turns

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John Norman Bartlett was born in England in 1892. During World War I he was an aviator attached to a flying squadron. After the war Bartlett came to North America where he developed his idea for a new thrill ride, the Flying Turns.

Bartlett’s early plan was for toboggan-like cars on castor wheels traveling down and through a twisting, trackless wooden chute resembling a bobsled course. Later, when the ride went into production, the cars resembled monoplanes.

Bartlett’s first patent for the ride was filed October 14, 1926. The Billboard described it as follows (July 9, 1927):

 

“….an amusement device, …a runway having bends therein and the bends banked, a passenger carrier provided with forward castor wheels and means for projecting the carrier onto the runway at a comparatively high velocity, the amount of banking at the bends of the runway being such that the passing carrier is self-steering thruout its travel.”

In 1928 Bartlett met John Miller and the two men formed a partnership to build the new ride. It is unlikely that Bartlett could have built the Flying Turns on his own, especially since he didn’t know “the difference between a ten-penny nail and a two-by-four,” according to one of Miller’s engineers. Miller designed the loading station, supporting structure, incline, and braking system. Bartlett worked on the cars.

The prototype ride was built and operated at Lakeside Park in Dayton, Ohio. (Miller had an office at the National Amusement Device Corporation across the street from the park.) The ride opened in July, 1929 and by November was heralded a success by The Billboard:

 

“John A. Miller and J. N. Bartlett’s new aviation gravity ride, Flying Turns…created considerable interest among amusement park men… The builders say the Flying Turns was developed to give the patrons the free feeling of flying, and that the half-barrel rolls that the car goes thru from one vertical bank to the opposite vertical bank reproduces exactly the movement as it would be executed in the air… Miller and Bartlett feel that in offering this ride to the park men they provide an opportunity to capitalize on the universal interest in aviation.”

Like a roller coaster, the Flying Turns was a gravity ride; unlike a coaster, there were no tracks. Cars were pulled up the incline by a chain lift and released into a cylindrical course laid out in a series of descending turns and figure eights. Traveling at considerable speed the cars continually turned and banked, often in a nearly perpendicular position to the horizontal. Because of the speed and centrifugal force riders experienced intense G-forces.

The second Flying Turns, located at Euclid Beach Park in Cleveland, Ohio, was the highest Flying Turns ever built. The ride opened for the 1930 season and proved to be the last Miller and Bartlett collaboration. This great ride was torn down after the park closed in 1969.


The Flying Turns at Euclid Beach Park, Cleveland, Ohio

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Postcard Image of The Flying Turns at Euclid Beach Park

 

The year 1929 brought the stock market crash and the start of the Great Depression. The 1930s were hard on the amusement park industry overall, and Bartlett was able to build only a few Flying Turns during those years at these locations:

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  • Rocky Point, Providence, Rhode Island for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, 1931.
  • Century of Progress World’s Fair, Chicago, Illinois, 1933. This ride was moved to Chicago’s Riverview Park in 1935.
  • Forest Park Highlands, St. Louis, Missouri, 1934.
  • Steeplechase Park, Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, 1934. This ride was destroyed in a fire in September 1939.
  • Palisades Park, Palisades, New Jersey. This was Bartlett’s new version of the Flying Turns called the Lake Placid Bobsled. The track was wider and cars were linked in seven car trains. A violent ride, it was removed from the park following World War II.
  • New York World’s Fair, 1939-40. This was Bartlett’s final Bobsled ride. After the fair closed the ride was moved to New York’s Coney Island where it operated until the early 1970s.

Euclid Beach Park – Cleveland Ohio – pt 2

More About Euclid Beach Park, Cleveland, Ohio

Shown below, from left to right: the 1929 Miller/Bartlett Flying Turns, the 1924 Philadelphia Toboggan Company Thriller, the 1913 Miller/Ingersoll Racing Coaster (originally called the Derby Racer). Grateful acknowledgment is given to David W. Francis for use of this photo.

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This article is by Russell Allon Hehr and is from The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.

 

Euclid Beach Park, built on the site of the Cobb family farm between Collamer Ave. (E. 156th St.) and Ursuline Ave. NE, opened in 1895. A local trolley line ran to the gate on Lake Shore Blvd., providing access to the park in its early years. The 1,700-ft. sand beach and 75 acres of wooded parkland drew bathers and picnickers. Entertainment attractions were varied and constantly expanded. Opening day at Euclid Beach became a harbinger of summer for generations of Clevelanders.Nevertheless, the park was not an immediate success. The original investor group gave way in 1901 to the Humphrey family. The Humphreys, previously known in Cleveland as candy and popcorn manufacturers, brought Euclid Beach into its glory years. Inventive and industrious, they made the park into a family entertainment center. In order to counteract the reputation of parks and carnival midways as hotbeds of iniquity and sensationalism, the Humphreys determined that nothing in Euclid Beach would “depress or demoralize” their customers.

Further, they insured that nothing would physically injure their visitors by daily inspection of the rides. Finally, as an inducement to patrons, the Humphreys allowed free admission to the grounds and charged small fees for use of the attractions, among the more popular of which were LaMarcus Thompson’s 1896 reprise of the Coney Island Switchback, the baroque-styled carousel, the Thriller roller coaster, the Flying Turns, the Log Cabin, the Surprise House, the lakefront pier and fountain, the maple-floored dancing pavilion, and the skating rink, complete with a rococo-styled Gavioli organ. Over 100 rides and concessions made Euclid Beach the epitome of amusement parks.

As the years passed, Euclid Beach Park changed. Trolleys were replaced by buses. Families in automobiles began to arrive more frequently. The park made provision to host these new guests. Even so, attendance began to decline after World War II. Slowly at first, and then with startling rapidity in the 1960s, the once-loyal patrons turned to other diversions. The park closed forever on 28 Sept. 1969. Following a series of fires, only the entrance gate, designated a historic landmark, still stood in 1986 as a memorial to past glories. Still, in 1985 Ohio created Euclid Beach State Park on the easternmost 16 acres of the old amusement park. Some vestige of the land’s original purpose remained.

Euclid Beach Park – Cleveland Ohio – pt 1

Euclid Beach Park, Cleveland, Ohio

The Main Gate at Euclid Beach Park

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This article is from The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.

 

Euclid Beach Park, one of the nation’s best-known amusement centers, was located on the southern shore of Lake Erie at E. 156th St. and Nottingham Rd., about 8 mi. from Public Square. The park, incorporated on 23 Oct. 1894 by a group of Cleveland investors, was originally managed by Wm. R. Ryan, Sr., a local businessman and politician. Ryan patterned the park after New York’s Coney Island, offering a beer garden, freak shows, and gambling operations. Ryan severed his connection with the park in 1897 and opened a competing park, White City, nearby. Lee Holtzman became the new director of Euclid Beach, but the enterprise failed and was offered for sale in 1901.Dudley S. Humphrey II and 6 members of his family took over management of the park in 1901 after obtaining a 5-year lease. They had previously operated popcorn-vending machines and a concession at the facility, but they left in 1899 because they were dissatisfied with behavior at Euclid Beach. The Humphreys completely changed the character of the park in keeping with their own personal philosophy, which was embodied in the slogan “Nothing to depress or demoralize.” They added many entertainment features to the facility, expanded beach and bathing facilities, and instituted a policy of “one fare, free gate and no beer.” That allowed patrons to reach the park with only one street railway fare, and to enter free (paying only for whatever rides or facilities were used). This policy was maintained until the park closed. The Humphreys’ policies attracted many families, as well as company and community groups, to the facility.

The park was the scene of political gatherings, such as the local Democratic party “steer roast,” and in 1910 the site of an important exhibition flight by aviator Glen Curtis. Euclid Beach remained extremely popular into the 1960s, when changing lifestyles, lake pollution, rising operational costs, and racial incidents caused its attendance and receipts to decline. The park closed on 28 Sept. 1969. The carved archway entrance, declared a historic Cleveland landmark in 1973, is the only restored feature that remains at the site.


John Miller designed these rides for Euclid Beach Park:

Aero Dips (1909)
This small roller coaster was first called the New Velvet Coaster. It was later known as the New Velvet Ride, the Velvet Coaster, and finally the Aero Dips. It was operational until 1965. 

Racing Coaster (1913)
Miller contracted to build this innovative ride, originally called the “Derby Racer,” for the Ingersoll Engineering and Construction Company of Pittsburgh. Because the coaster had only a single track, the train starting on the east side of the station would finish on the west, and vice versa. Miller incorporated this design in other racing coasters, including the still-operational Racer at Kennywood. The Cleveland ride, shown below, was built at a cost of $45,000. It was torn down after the park closed in 1969.Miller’s Racing Coaster at Euclid Beach Park

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