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LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park

LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park, later renamed Americana, was developed by Edgar Streifthau, and opened May 8, 1922. The park at 5757 Hamilton-Middletown Road, featured vacation cabins, picnics, swimming, games, rides and dancing.

Its Stardust Gardens, an open pavilion, featured some of the big dance bands from the 1920s into the 1950s (Ray McKinley, Glenn Miller, Stan Kenton, Skitch Henderson, Sammy Kaye, the Dorsey Brothers, etc.).

The park, once promoted as "Miami Valley's Chosen Playground," also hosted the company picnics of regional businesses, offering entertainment and food to employees and their families. That segment of the operation was emphasized after the 1972 opening of a nearby competitor, Kings Island. Through eight decades, the amusement park went through several changes in ownership and management. In 1978, when Howard Berni became sole owner, he gave it a new name, Americana.

A major setback was a fire Jan. 8, 1990, that inflicted more than $6 million in damage. Despite the disaster, the park opened in April 1990. The new owner in 1991 was Leisure International, formed by former park managers. Park River Corp., Cincinnati, purchased the park for about $3 million in 1996 and spent a million in improvements, but closed the operation after the 1999 summer season. Jerry Couch bought the property -- by then part of the City of Monroe -- in May 2000 and announced he would reopen it in 2001 as Americana at LeSourdsville Lake. Later, Couch canceled that plan. The 68-acre park reopened late in 2002 (June 7) and closed without notice the last week in August. Before the 2002 opening, it had been identified in news reports as the Great American Amusement Park at LeSourdsville Lake. (Also see Knorr.)

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