1909 Season

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1909 Season
Manager(s) Joseph W. Dusenbury, president
Will J. Dusenbury, secretary
The Olentangy Park Company
Opening Day April 25, 1909
Closing Day August 31, 1909 (theater)
October 10, 1909 (closed except Sundays)
October 31, 1909
New Attractions Arcadia
Ocean Wave
Automatic Vaudeville
Love's Voyage
Stock Company Weber Travesty Company
Rodriguez Musical Stock Company
Vaughan Glaser Stock Company
Band(s) The Ferulo Band
Neddermeyer's Columbus Concert Band
Power's Military Band

The Olentangy Park and Theater opened for the 1909 season on Sunday, April 25, 1909. The Ferulo Band of 50 players played during the opening weeks.[1][2][3] The park closed except for Sundays starting October 10, 1909.[4] It closed for the season on October 31, 1909.[5]

The park expanded by 25 acres to the north.[6]

Notable Events

A resolution was passed for Columbus to annex Indianola Park. It was seen as unfair to annex Indianola Park and not Olentangy Park.[7]

Past Olentangy Park grounds superintendent George T. Groce was appointed landscape gardener at Barracks Park.[8]

On Sunday, June 6, the park saw 5,000 more patrons than the heaviest day of the 1908 season, with 40,000 people attending.[9]

Henry T. Chittenden, Jr., inherited 34 acres of Olentangy Park land after his father died. Joseph W. Dusenbury had a 99-year lease on the property, paying $3,000 (over $1.02 million in 2024) annually.[10]

Japan natives and staff members Shingo Immamura and Toku Magaya were married at the Japanese Village on July 4 by Rev. Isaac, pastor of the 10th Avenue Baptist Church.[11][12]

The Ohio Veterans of the Spanish War held a reunion on August 21, 1909, at the park. Troop B of the Ohio National Guard, four companies of the Fourth Regiment, held a parade, and Company I, the machine gun company, took part in a sham battle.[13]

On August 5, kits to display a banner for H. Sage Valentine's mayoral run became tangled in the Circle Swing's lines, stopping the ride's operation.[14]

The first annual regatta by the Olentangy Canoe Club took place on August 28 at the Boathouse, where there were 22 canoes.[15][16] The event included:

  • 150-yard race, free-for-all, two men in a canoe
  • 75-yard dash, 17-foot canoes and over, one man in a canoe, no ballast
  • 75-yard dash, canoes under 16 feet, one man in a canoe, no ballast
  • Tilting contest, one man with a pole, one with a paddle
  • All-in-all out race


On July 17, Earl Sands, 14, suffered a bad injury after his leg became caught beneath the platform of the Ocean Wave, described as "a mechanical amusement device made to imitate the motion of a boat in the water."[17]

Rides and Attractions

New Rides and Attractions

The new attractions for 1909 included the Arcadia, Ocean Wave, Automatic Vaudeville, Love's Voyage, Shoot-the-Chutes, and the Whirlwind racer rollercoaster.[6][1]

New Shoot-the-Chutes

Main Article: Shoot-the-Chutes

The Shoot-the-Chutes was built in what The Columbus Dispatch called "The Great White Way."[18]

New Panama Canal Exhibit

Main Article: Panama Canal Exhibit

There was a Panama Canal exhibit operating in July that included a model of the canal.[19] It was most likely in the Colonnade.

Gypsy Camp

Main Article: Gypsy Camp

Madam Marea performed as a fortune teller. A classified ad said she was a "psychological reader" who had been at the park for the last two seasons.[20]

A larger camp of "Gypsies" was located north of the city, east of Crestview. It had over 100 members and lodged in tents and wagons. [21][22]

Dancing Pavilion

Main Article: Dancing Pavilion (Second)

The floor in the Dancing Pavilion was resurfaced for the season.[18]

Motion Picture Exhibit

Main Article: Moving Pictures

The park showed free motion pictures during the week of September 7.[23]

List of Rides and Attractions

Theater, Vaudeville, and Stunt Performances

Olentangy Park Theater

Main Article: Olentangy Park Casino and Theater

Prices were 15 cents ($5.12 in 2024), 25 cents ($8.53), 50 cents ($17.05), and 75 cents ($25.58) for evening performances, and 15 cents ($5.12), 25 cents ($8.53), and 50 cents ($17.05) for the matinees.[24]

There were rumors that men named James and Murphy were to take over management of the theater in 1910, but the Dusenbury Brothers denied it.[25]

The theater performances ended for the season on August 31, 1909.[26]

Joe Weber's Travesty Company

Joe Weber's Travesty Company performed for six weeks starting Memorial Day, May 31, 1909.[27]


  • L. J. Rodriguez, director and manager
  • Joe Kane
  • Charles J. Stine
  • Eddie Foy
  • W. Douglas Stevenson
  • Lola Hawthorne
  • Nellie Lynch
  • Grace Griswold
  • Edith Bradford
  • Ernest Wood
  • Lola Hawthorne
  • Oscar Ragland
  • C. C. Mills
  • Hazel Tuffer (or Tapper or Tupper)
  • Neil Walton
  • Fred Sydney
  • George L. Mortimer
  • Hera Hammer
  • Agnes Gilden
  • Mellie Hoffman
  • Lyda Franklin
  • Mabel Evans
  • The American Beatty Chorus
  • The Dancing Dolls

Grace (Hall) Griswold was from Ashtabula, Ohio, and wrote "His Japanese Wife" and "Billy's First Love."[28]


Week of May 31: "The Merry Widow and the Devil"

Week of June 6: "The Girl from Paris"

Week of June 13: "Hip, Hip, Hooray"[29]

Week of June 20: "In Gay Bohemia"[30]

Week of June 27: "Florodora"[31]

Vaughan Glaser Stock Company

The Vaughan Glaser Stock Co. performed starting July 12, 1909.[32]


  • Vaughan Glaser
  • Miss Courtney
  • Frederick Kerby
  • James Hester
  • Harrison Steadman
  • W. E. Ross
  • C. Edmund Roberts
  • Charles Carver
  • D. J. Sullivan
  • Patrick Garyn
  • F. C. Whittier
  • Dorothy Bernard
  • Jennie Dunbar (or Jenny Dunbar)
  • Lola Dowin
  • Olive Sherwood
  • Patric Garvin
  • Eleanor Lewis


Week of July 12: "The Warrens of Virginia," written by W. C. DeMille

Week of July 19: "Clothes," written by Avery Hopwood and Channing Pollack

Week of July 26: "Her Own Way," written by Maxine Elliott - Matinee records were broken during this week[33]

Week of August 2: "Sherlock Holmes"

Week of August 9: "St. Elmo"

Week of August 16: "Peaceful Valley"

Rodriguez Musical Stock Company

The Rodriguez Musical Stock Company performed "In Gay Bohemia" in July.[34]

Charles Waldren's Company

Charles Waldren's Company performed in August.[35]


  • Charles Waldren
  • Tully Marshall
  • Willard Robertson
  • Albert Meyers (or Meyer)
  • Jack Grey
  • Harry Larribee
  • Wilson Day
  • Florence Smythe
  • Gertrude Hitz
  • Margaret Sayre
  • Marie L. Day


Week of August 23: "The Man on the Box"

Stunts and Outdoor Shows

A Wild West show performed for the first few weeks[36] along with King Kelly performing balloon ascensions and parachute drops.[2][3]

Buckskin Ben's Wild West Show arrived on May 31 and performed for four weeks.[37] It included dog and pony shows with the Cowboy and Cowgirl Band.

Cleo, a lion tamer, wrestled with a Numidian lion every hour, and Mosi, a Yaqui Indian snake charmer, handled diamondback rattlesnakes and other venomous snakes starting the week of June 20.[38]

The Berkley Zouaves performed drill work and pyramid-building on July 4 and 5.[39]

J. W. Montgomery and Charles Hauck spent time at the park in July building two flying machines: a dirigible balloon and an airplane to fly on July 18.[40] The dirigible balloon was 75 feet long and held 14,900 cubic feet of air. The airplane's lifting surface was 375 ft.[41] They tested it during the end of July.

Captain V. Edwards and his Transcontinental Goats and Burrows performed the week of July 18.[42]


The Ferulo Band played during the opening weeks.[1][2]

Neddermeyer's Columbus Concert Band performed on May 23, and Power's Military Band performed for the rest of the season.[43]

The Reeves Military Band performed on July 1 for a Canal Dover excursion that brought 3,000 people to the park.[44]

For July 4 and 5, the trumpet corps of the United States Barracks gave concerts in the afternoon and evening.[12]

The English Grand Opera Company performed for nine days at the park during State Fair Week, producing "Madame Butterfly," "The Bohemian Girl," and "Aida.""[45][46]

Jessie Colkins and Adelaide Strang sang with the Power's Military Band during August.[47]


New Bowling & Pool Building

A Bowling & Pool building was built at the north end of the Midway[48] but six pool tables and two box ball alleys were put up for sale the same year, meaning the building might have only served that purpose for a year.[49]

List of Activities


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Olentangy." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 11 April 1909. Pg. 5.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 30 April 1909. Pg. 24.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 1 May 1909. Pg. 10.
  4. Ad. The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 10 October 1909. Pg. 35.
  5. "Olentangy." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 23 October 1909. Pg. 10.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Panoramic Views of Olentangy Park Showing Many New Amusement Structures Being Erected on Newly Acquired Tract of 25 Acres to North." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 28 March 1909. Pg. 1.
  7. "Columbus is Now Third Greatest City of the State." Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 3 January 1909. Pg. 1.
  8. "Barracks Park is to Be Beautified." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 29 January 1909. Pg. 2.
  9. "At the Theaters." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 7 June 1909. Pg. 12.
  10. "H. T. Chittenden Estate of $300,000 Goes to Children." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 8 June 1909. Pg. 1.
  11. "Shingo Immamura and Toku Magaya" The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 27 June 1909. Pg. 13.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 2 July 1909. Pg. 18.
  13. "Soldiers to Have a Big Reunion at Olentangy Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 25 July 1909. Pg. 2.
  14. "Mayoralty Fight Not Lacking in Real Originality." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 8 August 1909. Pg. 3.
  15. "Canoeists Will Organize a Club." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 26 August 1909. Pg. 2.
  16. "Canoeists Have Fine Sport in a Regatta." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 29 August 1909. Pg. 8.
  17. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 19 July 1909. Pg. 2.
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 9 May 1909. Pg. 5.
  19. "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 9 July 1909. Pg. 20.
  20. Classified ad. The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 2 May 1909. Pg. 9.
  21. "Romany Wanderer Loves the Poetry of All Outdoors." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 16 May 1909. Pg. 1.
  22. "What the Dispatch Staff Photographer Saw in the Big Camp of Gypsies Located East of Crestview North of the Corporation Line." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 16 May 1909. Pg. 1.
  23. "Olentangy." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 7 September 1909. Pg. 14.
  24. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 28 May 1909. Pg. 20.
  25. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 20 August 1909. Pg. 16.
  26. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 27 August 1909. Pg. 18.
  27. "Olentangy." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 17 April 1909. Pg. 10.
  28. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 3 June 1909. Pg. 14.
  29. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 10 June 1909. Pg. 14.
  30. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 18 June 1909. Pg. 18.
  31. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 22 June 1909. Pg. 7.
  32. "Glaser Stock Company." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 28 June 1909. Pg. 10.
  33. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 30 July 1909. Pg. 16.
  34. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 9 July 1909. Pg. 20.
  35. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 6 August 1909. Pg. 16.
  36. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 23 April 1909. Pg. 20.
  37. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 20 May 1909. Pg. 14.
  38. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 21 June 1909. Pg. 14.
  39. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 5 July 1909. Pg. 10.
  40. "Summer Amusements: Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 16 July 1909. Pg. 16.
  41. "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 18 July 1909. Pg. 31.
  42. Ad. The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 18 July 1909. Pg. 31.
  43. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 19 May 1909. Pg. 16.
  44. "Canel Dover Outing." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 27 June 1909. Pg. 21.
  45. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 7 July 1909. Pg. 14.
  46. "Next Week." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 14 August 1909. Pg. 10.
  47. "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 8 August 1909. Pg. 31.
  48. "Olentangy Park midway, postcard." Columbus Metropolitan Library Collection. Columbus Metropolitan Library: Columbus in Historic Photographs. 708O451916. Original Date: 1916. Date Modified: 23 December 2021.
  49. Classified Ad. Columbus Evening Dispatch. 1 August 1903. Pg. 17.