In 1879, local hardware store owners L.W. Loomis and H.E. Parks established a summer resort that became one of the leading tourist destinations in the state. The High Bridge Glens and Caves Park, located on the banks of the Cuyahoga River, featured one of the nation's first amusement parks and was surrounded by stunning natural beauty.
Visitors could dance to their favorite bands, enjoy several restaurants, ride mechanical rides and explore the nearby trails that circled the massive gorge.
At the height of its popularity, the park attracted more than 8,000 visitors per day, including then-congressman William McKinley.
The High Bridge Glens Park was so beloved, reporters dubbed it the "Niagara of Ohio" and predicted that it would become a worldwide attraction.
Unfortunately, a series of mistakes and poor circumstances led to the park closing faster than anyone could have guessed. Local sewage was dumped into the river, making the trails and caves less appealing to visitors. Then, the addition of a new dam downriver backed up water and cut off access to many of the more popular areas. Finally, the Flood of 1913 destroyed the remaining stairways and rails. By 1920, the park was nothing more than remnants when it closed.
Today, Gorge Metro Park stands near the site of the original High Bridge Glens and Caves Park. It features some of the same views of the gorge along with fishing, picnic areas and ice-skating in the winter.
And although the High Bridge Glens amusement park and resort faded quickly into obscurity, visitors can still relive the beautiful views and recreational activities today.
October 31, 2017