When Sunlite Pool was constructed in 1925 at Coney Island Amusement Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, it was and still is the largest recirculating swimming pool in the world, holding over 3 million gallons of water, measuring 200 x 401 ft., and ranging in depths from six inches to 10 feet. Although it’s capacity is 10,000 swimmers, luckily when my friends and I visited yesterday, there may have been 100-200 guests enjoying the picture perfect 90 degree weather! After lazing around on our rafts in the pool and sipping on a cold beverage, we were ready for some tubing fun on the Twister!
I don’t remember the first time I visited the pool–some time back in the mid-70’s–and the most recent visit before yesterday was perhaps 7-8 years ago. A lot has changed over the years.
Coney Island’s first name was Parker’s Grove (named after its owner, James Parker), opening in 1870 and consisted of a dining hall, dancing hall and bowling alley. People were transported the 10 miles from Cincinnati by riverboat before the automobile was invented. In addition to Sunlite Pool, Moonlite Gardens, an open-air dance hall was built the same year. Through the years, new rides were constructed and now the Park has 24 fun rides for both young and old to enjoy!
Due to its riverside location, six major floods have damaged the Park: 1913, 1937 (submerging it under 28 feet of water), 1964, 1972, 1991, and 1997.
In the early 1950’s, Walt Disney made a visit to Coney Island to get ideas for Disneyland.
Ownership has changed hands numerous times through the years, and in 1969, Taft Broadcasting purchased the Park and decided to build Kings Island, a new theme park in Northeastern Cincinnati. Coney Island closed in 1971 for three years, but Sunlite Pool continued its operations. Reopened in 1974, the Park began to come to life again and after the Riverbend Music Center opened in 1984, new rides and attractions were constructed.
Taken from Coney Island’s website: “Once given up for dead, a victim of its own success, Coney Island is alive again. While it is no longer the region’s largest amusement facility, it retains many of its beloved traditions-swimming at Sunlite Pool, dancing under the stars in Moonlite Gardens, picnicking and strolling along the Ohio River.”
The people of Southwestern Ohio are indeed fortunate. Their beloved local amusement park refused to die and gave its owners no choice but to rebuild it into what it does best — create memories.”