Cedar Fair: Big Dipper to be demolished at former Geauga Lake park

Geauga Lake to tear down Big Dipper

AURORA, Ohio -- Goodbye, Big Dipper.

The historic wooden roller coaster will be demolished in the “next few weeks,” according to Bainbridge Township trustee Jeffrey Markley.

“It really is very sad,” he told WKYC.

Big Dipper, an out-and-back scream machine, first debuted in 1925, making it one of the world's oldest existing roller coasters.

After decades of thrills, it has since been sitting in silence after Geauga Lake closed its gates forever in September 2007.

On Saturday, Cedar Fair Entertainment, which owns the property, released a statement confirming the demolition:

"Cedar Fair Entertainment Company has announced that the demolition of the Big Dipper roller coaster will begin in the coming weeks. We have worked cooperatively with the City of Aurora and Bainbridge Township to preserve select artifacts from the ride. There are no other plans to sell, relocate or salvage the structure at this time. Cedar Fair will continue to work with Aurora and Bainbridge on the positive future development of the property."

Markley said he toured the coaster’s site several weeks ago with Cedar Fair officials when the township was notified the coaster was being removed.

He said the township has been given permission from Cedar Fair to salvage some Big Dipper memorabilia, including a section of its rickety track and ride cars.

Markley said his goal is to create a site that brings back nostalgia of what Geauga Lake used to be.

Late Friday afternoon, the group American Coaster Enthusiasts -- a non-profit Texas-based group -- released a statement::

"American Coaster Enthusiasts always have preservation at the forefront of our goals. Geauga Lake's Big Dipper was not only an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, but dated back to the 1920s. It was a classic ride that really exemplified what a wonderful experience a roller coaster ride can be. We were hoping that an opportunity could develop that the coaster could be a part of some new development and could be saved. It's unfortunate that the situation was not a willing seller/willing buyer scenario. If it inevitably does come down, it will be sorely missed. It was a wonderful piece of art."

There remains no “master plan,” however, regarding what will happen to the footprint once held by the soon-to-disappear coaster.

Markley could not confirm an exact date in which demolition would begin.

He said Cedar Fair officials declared part of their motivation to demolish the ride was for safety reasons as the Big Dipper has become an attraction for trespassers who climb atop the rotting ride.

Markley, who once worked at Geauga Lake, said he holds a special place for the Big Dipper in his heart.

“You had to have a strong back and a strong neck to ride it.”

Coaster enthusiasts have been trying for years to find a way to spare Big Dipper from the wrecking ball based on its historic significance, but every attempt was unsuccessful through the years.

Last month, Cedar Fair forever closed the remaining water park side of Geauga Lake leaving the entire stretch of land empty of the thrills it once delivered.

Cedar Fair is the parent company that owns numerous parks across the country including Cedar Point and Kings Island.



© 2017 WKYC-TV


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