Community gathers to remember Youngstown amusement park

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Idora Park has become as much of a Youngstown legend as almost anything else within the city

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Idora Park has become as much of a Youngstown legend as almost anything else within the city.

It’s an amusement park turned into a memory after a fire.

On Saturday, people got to take a trip down memory lane to remember what the park once had to offer.

Many parts of Idora Park are no longer around. It was destroyed by a fire in the mid 80s, but some of what’s left was on display at the Southern Park Mall in Boardman.

“So, we collected some of these things and brought just a few, very minutiae piece of our collection out here to the mall,” said Jim Amey of the Idora Park Experience.

Classic rides such as Rapids, which was later named Lost River, The Wildcat, Baby Wildcat and Caterpillar were remembered fondly.

Jim and Toni Amey wrote a book about Idora Park. They also run a museum called the Idora Park Experience. It’s become part of their lives.

“Because we wanted to save these things. A lot of them were in people’s yards, decaying, falling apart, and we’d find out about a few things and wanted to save them because they were a very important part of our history in this Valley, Idora Park,” Jim said.

The public got the chance to hear their story but also share their experiences about a park they grew up with.

“We did the haunted house. We did the Lost River. We did the Wildcat, the Jack Rabbit, the tilt-a-whirl, the Caterpillar. All the rides were great,” said Kelly Catania, originally from Youngstown.

“The Ball Room brought so many people together. The polka dances, the events, and I made so many friends through the events there in the Ball Room,” said Edward Matasy, of Boardman.

Idora park ran from 1899 to 1984, shutting down after the fire. Now, all that’s left are artifacts and memories.

“All in all, I’m kind of broken-hearted to see it all gone,” said Orville Ritchie, originally of Youngstown.

“But what’s going to be sad is when my generation is gone,” Matasy said. “There’s not going to be people remembering it. It will be a museum, like the Arms Museum, and just artifacts.”

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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