Tim's Turn | The Amazement Park’s Amazing Atlas
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 Guest 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 happens 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 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 and 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 seasons.
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…”