Tim Chatlos

Published: June 28, 2014 at 12:30 PM

This season the park really seems to have focused on making Frontier Trail a "place" again with improvements like the Barnyard and the Trail Tavern. The addition of the Frontier Folks last year and the Bluegrass Jamboree this year have brought new life to the entire Trail. One of the more pleasant and subtle changes has been the switch in the area music to instrumental bluegrass instead of contemporary country. It might be the same loop (bluegrass "covers" of rock and pop songs) that now plays at Knott's Ghost Town. Area music may seem like a small thing but it goes a long way toward establishing a mood/vibe for a themed section of a park.
Rob Pastor

Published: June 28, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Fantastic article. In the mid 70's my company transferred me to Toledo. We were just 30 to 40 minutes from Cedar Point, so we went there often. The Western area and the Frontier Trail were my first experiences with themed areas of amusement parks and I thoroughly enjoyed them.They were by far my favorite areas of the park. I always wished Cedar Point would have continued with developing themed areas but I guess the economics of the situation caused them to go in a different direction with converting from a couple of mild coasters into arguably the premier coaster amusement park. It's good, though, to see that they have stayed the course with these themed areas. Perhaps, it's influence generated from Matt Oumitt similar to what he's doing at Knott's.
Rob Pastor

Published: June 28, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Just to add a bit. During those times they also had the themed Riverboat area through the swamp/waterway in the middle of Cedar Point and the themed island where they had an excellent Jungle animals/show attraction. Cedar Point sure looked a lot different in the 70's. Barely recognizable to what is there now, since so much of the island/peninsula that Cedar Point is on was then woodland and water passages/swamps.
James Koehl

Published: June 28, 2014 at 6:36 PM

Rob, those waterways were dug in the late 1800's/early 1900's to allow coal barges to bring fuel directly to the Cedar Point power generating plant without having to unload and haul it overland. Before Cedar Point became such a high-energy resort, these waterways also provided a relaxing location for courting couples to rent rowboats and canoes and explore some of the more "private" locations on the densely-forested Cedar Point peninsula.

The jungle island you mentioned was Jungle Larry's Safari Island, and was an island in these waterways accessible to visitors via a floating bridge. It was located roughly where Power Tower is now. It had a wide variety of animals that performed shows throughout the day. These animals spent the summer at Cedar Point and the winter season in Florida.

Rob Pastor

Published: June 28, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Jungle Larry, that's the name I was trying to remember but couldn't. Thanks for the reminder & that's a very interesting story about the canals. Yes, the park was especially beautiful then. Not that's it's still very scenic, but perhaps a bit more pristine then. But there are very more attractions now.

Published: June 29, 2014 at 3:51 AM

A fantastic article! I can remember going to the top of Fort Sandusky when I was a wee tot. The first steps have been removed and the top floor is now occupied with equipment for the former Starlight Experience and is not open to the public. The only correction I have for you is that the old midway-side for the Frontier lift was where Coasters restaurant is now, not the Iron Dragon station. (I checked some old aerial photographs to verify). Great article!
Brandon Townsend

Published: June 29, 2014 at 3:53 AM

Great article, thanks. I grew up in Texas and Six Flags was my home park, so I never got to see Cedar Point in the 70's, but your descriptions make me wish I had. I started visiting CP in 2003 and have not missed a year since. Thanks again.
James Rao

Published: June 29, 2014 at 4:19 AM

Great article, James. You really painted Cedar Point in a new light, one which I am excited to witness in person come August.

Based on your descriptions (and pictures) Frontier Trail seems to have a lot in common with Silver Dollar City down in Branson, MO (my favorite park outside of Orlando and SoCal). I think you would get a real kick out of SDC especially since they do not have a Panda Express ruining the theme.

Tim Hillman

Published: June 30, 2014 at 5:30 AM

Great article, James! I had no idea that Cedar Point had themed areas like this since most of what you hear about CP is about the coasters, but your article is making me reconsider the ranking I've given a trip to Cedar Point on my bucket list.

Published: July 2, 2014 at 6:28 AM

Great article!! Now retired, I remember Frontier Town and the Frontier Trail being added as an attraction to Cedar Point. Our kids at that time are now grown up and have families(our grandkids)of their own. We still try to make going to Cedar Point an annual affair but now with all the older "kids" and the Grandkids and always take the walk down Frontier Trail, a real memory Lane. Thank you so much for giving us this memory.

Gene Ellerbrock
Kalida, Ohio