Order your copy today!
Order your copy today!
Without making this sound like an endorsement (sort of) or a review (kind of), I need to tell you about the book I am currently enjoying. I might add to start off with, I am quite awestruck with it.
"Rolling Through The Years: A Cedar Point Atlas & Chronology," is the biggest book ever written about our industry. Literally. It weighs over 10 pounds and is 12 inches by 18 inches, and if you sit for too long with it on your lap, your legs will go numb. It's the work of longtime Cedar Point seasonal associate Ken Miller, and it took him seven years of research to compile, write, and design everything in this book.
"I didn't start with the idea it would be this large," Ken told me. "But I have 75 maps in there, and I didn't want to reduce them to the point where you can't read all the details. So since 12 by 18 is a stock paper size, I went with that, and the maps look great."
As a seasonal employee at the Sandusky, Ohio, amusement park since 2000, Ken spent the last 17 years working in Guests Services, assigned to the Town Hall Museum, which is the official museum of the park.
"I was working at the front gate one very hot and humid day when I was asked if I would go back and fill in at the museum, which happened to be nicely air-conditioned and comfortable," Ken said. He readily accepted the invitation and has been able to report back to Frontier Town every year since.
At the museum, guests perennially ask all sorts of questions ranging from information on the steamers that brought the original visitors to the Point, to information about the latest rides and shows.
"If I didn't know it, I would research it and write it down," Ken said. "I figured I would put it down in a manual so others working there would have the answers to a wide variety of questions at their fingertips." An information resource for the museum was his goal. Ken mightily surpassed that.
Published by 1870 Publishing Group, the 396 page book contains more than 1,200 images and includes just about everything you would expect in a history book with "Atlas & Chronology" in its title.
The first 192 pages are dedicated to park history. My favorite parts of this section are the lists and photos of defunct, as well as modern, rides and attractions. It is an extensive listing and is in itself worth the price of admission! The second half of the book is an amazingly researched chronology. Served up by decades from 1870 to 1959, it then goes year by year from 1960 to 2019. Each of these year-by-year chapters lists opening and closing dates, temperatures on opening day, admission prices, a list of seasonal happenings, the park map for that year, and other visuals.
I could go on and on about this book. It has more information than any single amusement industry tome I have ever opened, and it is feeding my anxiety about not visiting my "home park" for several season.
I kidded Ken about the major task of creating a sequel. He won't commit to it but notes that he has discovered a whole bunch more stuff about the park since publishing this behemoth. He also mentioned that it would be a tough act to follow. But on page 382, he left the door open for a sequel. In a very large, bold-faced font, it reads: "To Be Continued..."
Tim O'Brien is a veteran outdoor entertainment journalist and is a longtime Funworld contributor. He has authored many books chronicling the industry's attractions and personalities and is the only journalist in the IAAPA Hall of Fame.
The amusement industry has seen a fair share of books and publications dedicated to many amusement parks and their unique histories. To reach a milestone of 150 years is a rare feat, but Cedar Point traces its roots back to 1870, making it one of the oldest amusement parks in the country.
A new book has been published that captures a century and a half of details, stories and images on a colossal scale. It undeniably depicts what has been dubbed The Amazement Park and America’s Roller Coast like nothing before. Rolling Through The Years: A Cedar Point Atlas & Chronology wasn’t just thrown together in honor of the park’s anniversary. Author Ken Miller has been accumulating an incredible amount of research for seven years and the compilation is a masterpiece described as a Cedar Point atlas and chronology.
There are two main parts of the book.
Its first half organizes an immense volume of material into groupings: historical markers, former and current rides, ferryboats and steamships, roller coasters, carousels, the Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad, major buildings, hotels and more. The orchestration of each topic not only makes it easy to find information, but also a pleasure for the reader to be drawn into the fine details he or she may remember or is learning for the first time. With more than 1,200 images, the book captures Cedar Point in visual abundance. Photographs, artwork, brochures, advertisements and souvenirs vividly portray the park and its attractions with color and character. Some photographs have not been seen for decades.
The second section serves as a history of the park. Both a chronological timeline and an atlas that includes 75 maps, the reader is taken on Cedar Point’s journey year by year. What was added that year? What was removed? Rolling Through the Years: A Cedar Point Atlas & Chronology answers each question.
Miller explains part of the reason the book is so large — a gigantic 12 by 18 inches — is so the maps can be appreciated. The book isn’t just large in dimensions either. It is just shy of 400 pages, and with its hardcovers weighs in at almost 11 pounds. During the last seven years devoted to research, Miller has examined more than 100,000 newspaper and magazine articles and has spent hundreds of hours in museum archives. The atlas and chronology are a true testament to dedication, and the results clearly show.
The book is published by 1870 Publishing Group and is available through its website. The price tag is $100, but the sheer bulk of the publication confirms it is worth every dime. Shipping is included in the purchase price (tax is additional). The audience for this book is vast. Whether a seasonal employee who worked the park in his or her youth, an avid Cedar Point fan or a fellow colleague in the amusement industry, there is much to love by anyone who acquires this major accomplishment.
It is with sad cruelty that the coronavirus pandemic has the park postponing its full 150th celebration until 2021. “Our team determined that a celebration of this magnitude must be done right,” said Park President Jason McClure in a May statement. With that in mind, this book helps carry the anticipation for the big event.
Not every park can boast 150 years, but every park has a unique history worthy of being told. Most amusement parks can wish that a book like Rolling Through The Years was created for their parks. Which begs the question, “Why aren’t they?” This one shows how it can be done.