Side A: Geauga Lake, a scenic destination for visitors to northeast Ohio, was initially named “Giles Pond” after settler Sullivan Giles (1809-1880). In 1856, the predecessor of the Erie Railroad stopped at “Pond Station,” spurring the area’s growth. In the 1880s, locals established picnic grounds, a dance hall, and other facilities for those seeking a country getaway. Picnic Lake Park, later Geauga Lake Park, opened in 1887 and thereafter offered rides, a roller rink, photo gallery, billiard hall and bowling alley, among other attractions. In 1888, the Kent House hotel opened on the southeast side of the lake. In the century that followed, more attractions were added, including SeaWorld of Ohio, and the park expanded. In 2007, the melodic sounds of the carousel and the echoing screams from the “Big Dipper” roller coaster ceased when the park closed. (Continued on other side)
Side B: (Continued from other side) Geauga Lake began as a cluster of summer cottages occupied by vacationers to Giles Pond. Residential growth began in earnest with the formation of two allotment companies: the Geauga Lake Orchard Company (1915) and the Western Reserve Land Company (1920). In 1921, the Geauga Lake Improvement Association (GLIA) was chartered to protect the residents’ access to the lake. During Prohibition, this rural setting was the site of speakeasies and dancehalls such as the Magnolia Club. Because of gas rationing during World War II, the GLIA’s lakeside clubhouse doubled as a church, with services offered by Reverend J.R. Hutcherson (1905-1996). The postwar era housing shortage and improvements in transportation brought a transition to the community with year-round housing. As of 2017, the GLIA continues to be the guardian of the adjacent area.