Ye Olde Mill (First)

From Olentangy Park Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ye Old Mill
Other Name(s) The Old Mill
Old Mill
Ye Olde Mill
First Old Mill
Type Water ride
Dark ride
Park Section Midway
Built 1904
Opened 1904
Closed 1911 (fire)
Fires 1911
Manufacturer Aquarama Company
Architect C.B. and N.A. McDaniel
Vehicle Type Boat

Ye Olde Mill, also stylized as Old Mill, The Old Mill, and Ye Old Mill, was a water ride and dark ride installed at Olentangy Park in 1904.[1] The ride was constructed under the supervision of C.B. and N.A. McDaniel of New York City and cost $15,000 (over $500,000 in 2023).[2] It was created by the Aquarama Company[3] and was first called "Aquarama" before becoming Ye Olde Mill. As was common with Old Mill rides around the country, it was also referred to by some park-goers as "The Tunnel of Love"[4] due to its pitch-black sections allowing couples a chance to cuddle and kiss.

A fire destroyed the original building in July 1911, and the second version of the ride was rebuilt for the 1918 season[5] further north with the Joy Mill being built on the original site.

Although the word "Ye" appears and sometimes is pronounced with a "Y" sound, the original pronunciation of the Y-like symbol is a "Th" sound, so "Ye" sounds like "The."


The ride was a water ride where boats with upholstered seats carried riders through "gloomy caverns, fantastic grottos, and unsurpassed scenery" with a torrent of water by an immense water wheel. After floating through subterraneous passages, they emerge into rooms containing electrically lighted scenic effects in scenes showing cotton plantations and Black musicians playing banjos. The next scene was based on Dante's Inferno with weird and ghostly effects, followed by "The Rock of Ages," with water flowing around a rock with a center of natural flowers. From there, riders pass through Arctic regions, then under the sea with serpents and numerous "uncanny figures of every description." Mirrors were placed to enhance the immersive ride. The ride looped around to the start for the next set of riders.[2][6][7]


Although the water was used from the mill ride to protect the Dancing Pavilion in July 1907[8], a fire started in the ride on July 16, 1911, destroyed the building along with four other structures: Johnstown Flood, Coney Island, Temple of Mirth, and the Penny Arcade. The buildings were wood-frame structures and most lined with burlap. According to the park manager at the time, J.W. Dusenbury, the buildings were not insured[9].


In 1907, ride managers John H. Leonard and William Manning were arrested for embezzlement. They were charged with embezzling about $15-$20 ($490-$653 in 2023) by taking the riders' tickets and then selling them back to the cashier, who divided the money. The cashier, an unnamed woman, provided witness testimony and avoided prosecution. The arrest was made by John K. Good.[10]. Manning pleaded guilty to embezzling $10 ($327) and was fined $25 ($817) and court costs. Leonard pleaded not guilty and was given a bond fixed at $15 ($490)[11].


The Aquarama Company sued Dusenbury in 1905 for not paying its agreed-upon percentages derived from the operation of the Old Mill ride.[12]


See Also


  1. "Olentangy Park, Theater and Zoological Garden." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 1 May 1904. Pg. 29.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Olentangy Park, a Coney Island Rival" The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 1 May 1904. Pg. 4.
  3. "Sue Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 10 September 1905. Pg. 1. Retrieved from the Columbus Dispatch Digital Archives.
  4. Barret, Richard E. "Olentangy Park: Four Decades of Fun." Columbus and Central Ohio Historian. Vol. 1. April 1984. Pg. 11.
  5. "Lavish Park Plans." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 23 September 1917. Pg. 56.
  6. "Olentangy Park." The Democrat-Sentinel (Logan, OH). 14 June 1906. Pg. 2. Clip 1 | Clip 2
  7. Barret, Richard E. "More on Olentangy Park." Columbus and Central Ohio Historian. Vol. 3. May 1985. Pg. 37.
  8. "Boy Leads His Two Sisters Out of a Fire at Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 5 July 1907. Pg. 13. Retrieved from the Columbus Dispatch Digital Archives.
  9. "Suspect Arson in Destructive Fire at Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 17 July 1911. Pg. 1. Retrieved from the Columbus Dispatch Digital Archives.
  10. "Managers of 'Old Mill' Arrested." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 27 May 1907. Pg. 9. Retrieved from Columbus Dispatch Digital Archives.
  11. "Makes a Confession." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 29 May 1907. Pg. 6. Retrieved from the Columbus Dispatch Digital Archives.
  12. "Sue Olentangy Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 10 September 1905. Pg. 1.