1897 Season

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1897 Season
Manager(s) Columbus Street Railway Company
Opening Day May 21, 1897
Closing Day September 26, 1897
New Attractions Four new bowling alleys
Band(s) Fred Neddermeyer's Famous Band

Opening on May 21, 1897, was the second season the park operated after being named Olentangy Park.[1] Fred Neddermeyer's Famous Band played on Sundays throughout the season.[2] At this time, Olentangy Park was 40 acres while nearby Minerva Park was 159 acres.[3] Visitors to the city could take yellow street cars labeled "Olentangy Park" on a 25-minute ride and five-cent admission (just under $2 in 2022) to the park.[4] The park closed on Sunday, September 26, 1897, with a special concert and kinetoscope exhibition.[5]

Notable Events & Exhibitions

Governor Bushnell and Staff

On Tuesday, July 20, 1897, the park exhibited the first presentation of a life-sized picture of Governor Bushnell and staff with a military escort at a parade at New York's Grant Memorial. Fred Neddermeyer's Band performed a special program for the event.[6][7]

The music program included:

  1. March - Enquirer - Brand
  2. Overture - Grand Union - Bendix
  3. Japanese Mazurka - Carne(?)
  4. Euphonium Solo - Mr. Davis
  5. Charge of the Light Brigade - Puerner
  6. March - Ohio State University - Howe
  7. Die Banditenstreiche - Dalbey
  8. March - Governor Bushnell's Staff - Neddermeyer
  9. Selection - Gay New York - Kerker
  10. March - The Ohio Nepoleon - Neddermeyer
  11. The Star-Spangled Banner

Kineroscope Views:

  1. Umbrella Brigade
  2. Employees Leaving the Lumière Factory[8]
  3. Serpentine Dance[9]
  4. Fire Department
  5. Waves
  6. Governor Bushnell and Staff
  7. Hurdle Race
  8. Black Diamond Express

July Flood

A flood on July 20 of the Olentangy River caused waters to carry away a pontoon bridge at the park as well as a similar bridge at the nearby Dodridge Street Bridge. Since it was temporary and the Scioto River appeared unaffected, it was suggested a cloudburst was the cause of the flooding.[10]

Big Boil

An event called the "Big Boil" took place in September. Eight 90-gallon cans and four 50-gallon cans (a total of 920 gallons) of Burgoo, a type of stew, were cooked and 400 feet of tabling was set up. Tents were set up on the west side of the ballpark with furnaces in front and tables in the north.[11] Everything but the meat was in by Tuesday afternoon the week of September 20 and various committees were put to work preparing 10 barrels of potatoes. Also served was coffee, sandwiches, and tobacco. The food was first offered to old soldiers, identified by their badges.[12][13][14][15] About 8,000 attended the campfire at the park that included members of the Union Veterans Legion and the Army of the Cumberland.[16]

Rides and Attractions


Kinetoscope views were shown to audiences every evening[17] and "Coney Island Kiss" was added to the list in September.[18]

One list of pictures included:[19]

  • The Bruning Stable
  • The Cock Fight
  • The Watermelon Contest
  • New York Fire Department
  • Dragoons Swimming Horses
  • Morning Bath
  • Black Diamond Express
  • Miller's Mishap
  • Hurdle Race
  • A Game of Cards


Main article: Merry-Go-Round

The Merry-Go-Round was free for children under 10 years old between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.[17] A Dispatch reader wrote in to complain about how out of tune the organ was so out of tune, "it [was] an imposition upon humanity to oblige [park goers] to listen to such an instrument of torture. To the sensitive even the prospect of passing the thing is capable of causing a bad fit of distemper while to seat yourself near it is equivalent to taking your place in the old time dentist's chair." The reader suggested replacing it or fixing it.[20]

List of Rides and Attractions

Music and Performances

Fred Neddermeyer's Famous Band played on Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.



Main Article: Boathouse

The launches were 5 cents ($1.75 in 2022) for a roundtrip and row boats were 15 cents ($5.28) per hour.[17]


Main Article: Bowling alleys

Four new bowling alleys were added during the 1897 season.

List of Activities

Poem Involving the Park

Caleb Green Jr. wrote this poem that was published in the Columbus Evening Dispatch on August 19, 1897:[22]

In Olentangy
Amid the glint of evening dews,
Collected thick on dusty shoes.
Two weary tramps their bearings lose,
And wander in the dark.
While yet their brains are in a daze
There flit before their bleary gaze
The shifting lights that cast their rays
From Olentangy park.
They saunter through a gateway near
And strange re-echoes plainly hear
Of stranger sounds vibrating clear
Throughout the covert land.
Where in seclusion's silent reign
They listen to the subtle strain
That quivers in each sweet refrain
From Neddermeyer's band.
A new, impartial sacrifice
Unequaled, with a strange device--
A water barrel labelled "ice."
That mocks their thirsty hope.
New wrinkles in their lives unfold
An on their brains impressions mold
When first their wondering eyes behold
The new kinetoscope.
The long pavilion's waxy floor
Entices them, they lightly soar
Into a "copper's" arms galore
And end their jolly lark.
Patrolmen's threats they soon defy
And fling them back the faint reply
"Say au revoir, but not good-bye
To Olentangy park."


  1. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 20 May 1897. Pg. 7.
  2. "A Correction." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 23 June 1897. Pg. 7.
  3. "Size of Two Parks." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 8 July 1897. Pg. 4.
  4. "Olentangy Park." The Bucyrus Evening Telegraph (Bucyrus, Ohio). 25 June 1897. Pg. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/107087253/olentangy-park/
  5. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 21 September 1987. Pg. 7.
  6. Ad. Columbus Evening Dispatch. 19 July 1897. Pg. 2.
  7. Ad. Columbus Evening Dispatch. 20 July 1897. Pg. 5.
  8. As "Employes Leaving Factory"
  9. There were a few kinetoscopes with this name. Not sure which one this was.
  10. "More Flood Damage." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 21 July 1897. Pg. 7.
  11. "Burgoo Cans." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 18 September 1897. Pg. 7.
  12. "All in Readiness." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 21 September 1897. Pg. 10.
  13. The Marion Star (Marion, Ohio). 17 September 1897. Pg. 4. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/107102124/burgoo-feast-at-olentangy-park/
  14. "Union Veteran Legion." The Oshkosh Northwestern (Oshkosh, Washington). 23 September 1897. Pg. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/80088413/union-veteran-legion/
  15. "Grand Parade of Union Vets." Knoxville Sentinel (Knoxville, Tennessee). 23 September 1897. Pg. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/107102614/grand-parade-of-union-vets/
  16. "Pittsburger Is Commander." Pittsburgh Daily Post. 24 September 1897. Pg. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/107102835/pittsburger-is-commander/
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Ad. Columbus Evening Dispatch. 31 July 1897. Pg. 6.
  18. Columbus Evening Dispatch. 9 September 1897. Pg. 4.
  19. "Ten Pictures Will Be Shown by the Kinetoscope at Fairgrounds Tonight." The Marion Star (Marion, Ohio). 9 September 1897. Pg. 8. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/107090335/ten-pictures-will-be-shown-by-the/
  20. "To the editor." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 20 July 1897. Pg. 4.
  21. "Three Picnics." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 22 July 1897. Pg. 10.
  22. Green, Caleb Jr. "In Olentangy." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 19 August 1897. Pg. 10.