Brief History

Coney Island’s beginnings date back to 1860s when an apple farmer by the name of James Parker purchased 400 acres (1.6 km2) of land along the shores of the Ohio River. James soon realized in the early 1870s the popularity of the farm’s location, and added a dining hall, dancing hall, and bowling alley. He later sold the land to two steamboat captainsthat named the area “Ohio Grove, The Coney Island of the West” in an effort to link the park with the famous New York destination. Fortunate enough to be on a riverfront location, riverboat soon became the most popular method of transportation for park visitors. In 1887, “Ohio Grove” was completely dropped from the name as the park became known simply as “Coney Island”.

Over the years, the park became a full-fledged amusement park, complete with rides and carnival games. However, the park’s proximity to the river made it prone to frequent flooding. In 1970 construction began on a new site for the park that would be located in Deerfield Township of Warren County 25 miles (40 km) north of Cincinnati along Interstate 71. Coney Island closed its amusements on September 6, 1971, as most of its rides were moved to the newly completed Kings Island theme park. Kings Island opened in 1972!

Less than two years after closing, Coney Island would reopen permanently in 1973. The park was only a shadow of its former self but still featured several popular attractions. The Sunlite Pool — still the largest recirculating swimming pool in the world — was one of those attractions that helped Coney Island remain a popular summertime destination.

In 1991, Coney Island was restored as a traditional amusement park with familiar rides such as the “Tilt-A-Whirl”, bumper cars, carnival games and musical shows.