Local History #tbt Blog - Summer Memories at LeSourdsville Lake
A roller coaster ride, a refreshing swim, picnics and dancing to the sounds of a famous big band.
To many older adults in the greater Middletown area, these are memories of the former LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park on Ohio 4 between Middletown and Hamilton.
Long closed, but not forgotten, today the site is destined to become a new campus for the Butler Technology and Career Development Schools (“Butler Tech”). *
Also known as Americana Amusement Park in its long history, the park opened in the early 1920s after Edgar Streifthau and business partner William Rothfuss observed the need for a recreational facility in the area. ** Other historical accounts include Ernest Streifthau, Edgar’s brother, also as founder. ***
In its heyday LeSourdsville was the place for fun for all ages including teens and adults. In addition to swimming, arcade games, and park rides, LeSourdsville attracted some of the most famous big band leaders of the day to its Star Dust Gardens. Glenn Miller, the Dorsey Brothers and Stan Kenton were among the music royalty to grace its stage.
The world-famous singing McGuire Sisters, the pride of Middletown, returned to their hometown to perform at LeSourdsville on May 30, 1953. The occasion : the Middletown High School Prom Jubilee.
To kids, a visit to LeSourdsville wasn’t complete without a ride on the Iron Horse train or a thrill-inducing journey on the roller coaster.
But things change...
Today horses on the merry-go-round no longer carry young riders. The roller coaster no longer zooms along tracks high above park-goers. There are no more leisurely strolls while savoring a cotton candy.
But, then again, that’s what memories are for.
* “A Look Back at LeSourdsville Lake / Americana Amusement Park” by Jennifer Burcham, the Journal News, February 14, 2017. www.journal-news.com
** From “Middletown Diary : LeSourd” by George Crout, Middletown (Ohio) Journal, May 12, 1979. Available for reading in the MidPointe Library-Middletown Ohio Room Vertical File.
*** From “LeSourdsville Lake, Popular Resort, Steeped in History,” Middletown (Ohio) Journal, date unknown. Article available for reading in the MidPointe Library-Middletown Ohio Room Vertical File.
Iron Horse train photo from “Middletown” by David C. Clendenin and Roger L. Miller (part of the Postcard History Series), available for reading in the Ohio Room at MidPointe Library Middletown.
Photos and information about Star Dust Gardens, The McGuire Sisters at LeSourdsville and the park’s entrance sign can be viewed on the MidPointe Library Digital Archives at www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary > Digital Archives > LeSourdsville Lake.
LeSourdsville Lake advertisement from “The 1900s -- 100 years in the History of Butler County, Ohio” by Jim Blount, with contributions from George Crout and Dr. Phillip R. Shriver, available for check-out in the Local History and Genealogy Gallery of MidPointe Library Middletown.