Look Back at 137 Years of Coney Island History

Written by the Genealogy & Local History Department and Joe Armstrong, Content Specialist, Downtown Main Library

It's an end of an era for amusement and water park fans, with news released that Coney Island will be permanently closing at the end of 2023. While we look forward to the exciting plans already in to transform the area into a one-of-a-kind entertainment campus, take a look a trove of historic photos housed in CHPL's Digital Library of this memorable Cincinnati destination.

View historic images of Coney Island in CHPL's Digital Library.

137 Years of Memories

In 1886, apple-farmer, James Parker sold 20 acres of land along the Ohio River. By June, the Ohio Grove Corporation opened “Ohio Grove, The Coney Island of the West” to the public. Since its original opening, Coney Island has been through various changes over the years. 

Civil Rights activists including Cincinnati’s Marian Spencer fought to have Sunlite Pool desegregated in 1955.

Riverbend Music Center was added in 1984 as an outdoor concert venue and by 2019 the amusement rides were being sold off to accommodate upgrades for Sunlite Pool.

To see more historic images of Coney Island visit CHPL's Digital Library.

What are your favorite memories of Coney Island? Let us know in the comments below!