"Have you ever..." Scenic Railway 1

One of Indianola's original attractions was a scenic railway.

The scenic railway was a slow, gentle ride that took the rider up and down gentle hills and around curves as it passed through a pleasant landscape of trees, streams, and flowers, augmented with some artificial mountains, castles, temples, etc.

Sometimes referred to as the "Trip to Reno," Indianola's ride might have had a Wild West, mountain, and desert theme.

Other scenic railroads in other parks had themes like "A Trip to the Moon," "Pike's Peak," "Over the Rockies," "A Visit to the Orient," and "Scenes from the Bible."

There was even a scenic railway in which riders were swallowed by a dragon and passed through its entrails.

A key part of Indianola's scenic railway was the tunnel section where the track passed into an artificial cave filled with glittering stalactites and stalagmites and dramatic lighting.

Though park management tried to discourage it, the dimly lit tunnel section of the scenic railway became a popular location for young lovers to hold hands and steal kisses.

Scenic Railway 2

Every good amusement park needs a carousel and Indianola was no exception.

Billed as "the delight of the young always," Indianola's carousel was about 50 feet in diameter and featured carved wooden horses, zebras, pegasi, and chariots.

The carousel house was decorated with flags of all nations and, at night, its outlines were traced with electric lights.

Back in 1908, rides were 5¢ each or 6 for 25¢.


Images above and to the left from the 1908 promotional booklet, Indianola: the elite amusement resort of Ohio.


In addition to the scenic railway, the carousel, the roller coasters, and shoot-the-chutes, Indianola offered adventurous park-goers many other amusement rides.

In the 1900s and 1910s, "The Human Laundry" was a popular funhouse that tumbled park-goers head-over-heels like so many dirty dish towels and then wrung them out between giant rollers.

In the 1920s, patrons could make like race car drivers on the wildly popular Custer Cars (named after their Dayton, Ohio inventor), experience terror in the dark on The Caterpillar, or soar like aviators on The Seaplane Swing.

The circle swing at right is from Olentangy Park but is nearly identical to the one that would have graced Indianola. The principal difference is the the swings at Indianola featured planes instead of boats.


Image courtesy of Biography, History, and Travel Division, Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Circle Swing