Euclid Beach Park Now is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and memories of Cleveland's greatest amusement park for the enjoyment of current and future generations. Since 1989, EBPN has preserved artifacts and memorabilia of the park and continues to research the park's history and share our discoveries with our members in the quarterly newsletter The Arch.
EBPN's many activities include sponsoring memorabilia shows, multimedia educational presentations, and speaking engagements. Our organization maintains an active historical archive which is continually updated and has published a book chronicling the Park's rich history. We actively support the preservation of any remaining physical artifacts from Euclid Beach Park.
We welcome your membership and appreciate your support to help preserve the memories of Euclid Beach Park for future generations. Thank You.
1 year membership is $16.00, January 1st - December 31st
Membership includes The Arch, Euclid Beach Park Now's quarterly newsletter.
Send your check with your Name, Address, Phone Number and Email Address to:
Euclid Beach Park Now
P.O. Box 19535
Cleveland, Ohio 44119-0535
Or download the Membership form below.
Do you remember Euclid Beach Park, or have you heard stories about the amusement park from parents or grandparents? Help preserve the memories and history of Euclid Beach Park. EPBN collects fond memories of "the Beach" so not only will we have them preserved, but we can also make sure that Clevelanders will always be able to look back and remember Euclid Beach Park. Write or type Euclid Beach Memories and send to:
Euclid Beach Park Now
P.O. Box 19535
Cleveland, Ohio 44119-0535
Or download the Memories form below.
With your story, please include your name and contact information.
By submitting, you are agreeing to allow EBPN to use your submission as deemed necessary to further our Mission.
Are you a member of a club or organization interested in a presentation about Euclid Beach Park? Euclid Beach Park Now's resident historian and former park employee James Seman will gladly come and speak to your club or organization. Call 440-946-6539 or send an Email email@example.com. A nominal fee is charged.
THE ARCH Editor: John Marn
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Reprint of an article that appeared in The Arch, Euclid Beach Park Now’s quarterly newsletter: Food and Treats at Euclid Beach Park, Volume 14, Issue 2, Winter 2003. Authored by Wendell Kucera; Euclid Beach Park Now board member.
Any history or article on Euclid Beach Park (EBP) must start with popcorn. This is the park that popcorn built. After much financial adversity in the late 1800’s, the Humphrey family decided to get into the popcorn business by selling their own invention, a popcorn machine that allowed for stirring the heating popcorn kernels by hand till the batch was done. After selling these poppers to almost all vendors in the popcorn business in those days, sales fell0off. The Humphrey’s always felt that their family’s method of making popcorn was much better tasting than that of other vendors. The other vendors popped their corn exposed to the air and then added the seasoning while the Humphrey’s always put their corn into the hot kettle, mixed the lard and salt with it, covered the lid and stirred occasionally with a big spoon. They felt that this kept all the sweetness of the corn in the popped kernel and seasoned it at the same time. Their method of making popcorn along with their own invention of a stirrable popper allowed them to buy out many of their competing vendors and later open a popcorn and candy store on Public Square (where Higbee’s/Dillards Department stores later operated). (Note 1)
The Humphrey’s opened a popcorn concession at the original EBP in 1896, but by 1899 they pulled out of this park because of its catering to beer drinkers, gambling, and risqué side shows. By 1900 the original Euclid Beach Park, with its beer garden, gambling, and rowdies, went bankrupt. (Note 2) The Humphrey’s acted quickly to purchase the park with the idea that this area could be turned into a place for decent people to bring their families and enjoy the beautiful landscaping, the lake, and amusements that were clean and wholesome. Of course, this would be the perfect setting for their wonderful popcorn concession.
Later, the Humphrey’s purchased a farm in Wakeman, Ohio where they grew their own popcorn. (Note 3) A unique hybrid corn call Japanese Hulless Baby Rice Popcorn was grown which did not have a large kernel, was quite tender when popped and had very little hull; hence the printing on the familiar popcorn box “Humphrey Hulless Popcorn.” I know that all of us have enjoyed that bib box of popcorn at the Beach and remember the great flavor of the popped lightly salted product.
Another delicious snack at EBP was a natural outgrowth of the popcorn popularity, and that was popcorn balls. The sweet coating on these treats was made from salt, sunflower oil, sugar, vinegar, and lecithin (a preservative). Who can’t remember the mixing of this syrupy mixture with the fresh popcorn in those big copper pots? The Popcorn Stand crew would use large wooden paddles to mix the popped corn and syrup together by lifting and turning the mixture till the proper coating was achieved. Then each ball was formed by hand on the metal tables just inside the windows of the Popcorn Stand. After forming the balls, the crew then packed the balls four to a bag and threw the bagged product to the end of the metal tables where they were packed in cartons ready for sale, I remember that the packing crew would sometimes throw the packed balls at the window of the stand to startle the young kids watching the process from the outside. Another old factory memory that returns when thinking of EBP is the sweet smell of the vinegar mixture when anywhere near the Popcorn Stand.
Inside of the Popcorn Stand was an area where the always popular Candy Kisses were made. A mixture of sugar, vinegar, butter, cream, and vanilla flavoring were heated to a high temperature and the thickening mixture was poured onto a water-cooled table (a Humphrey invention) until ready for the pulling process. The pulling was done by hand in the early days of EBP. The cooling mixture was the color of tea when fed into the “pulling” machine where two sets of thick rods rotated independently to pull and bend the taffy mixture. As the taffy was pulled, air was mixed into the product and it was white when the process was completed. The pulled taffy was removed from the machine and placed on another metal table where the worker pulled it even more by hand to form a taffy “rope” approximately one inch in diameter to be fed into the cutting and wrapping machine. The worker had to keep his hands coated with a white, powdery substance (probably corn starch) to keep the taffy from sticking to his hands. The wrapping machine was a wonder to behold. It had many moving parts with a giant roll of yellow wax paper at the top and as the taffy “rope” was fed into the machine it was cut into the proper size. The familiar yellow paper was then cut to size and two sets of fingers put the final wrapping twists at each end. The finished piece was now ready for bagging.
Under the same structure that housed the Popcorn Stand was the Drink Stand. The treats offered at this stand in the early days (the teens) were phosphates, ice cream sodas, Vernors Gingerale, Hires Root Beer, and Phez Loganberry Juice. We all know how the Humphrey’s, in order to maintain a wholesome family atmosphere in EBP, went to great lengths to ban not only alcoholic beverages but also those imbibe in them from the park. A look at the cold drinks available let us know to what lengths the Humphrey’s went to maintain this atmosphere; no “respectable” imbiber who might smuggle a bottle of flask into the park would use Vernors Gingerale, Hires Root Beer, or even Loganberry Juice as a mixer for his drink. Most of us do not remember Phez Loganberry Juice at the park because of a memorable incident. The stand workers apparently left a jug of the Loganberry Juice Concentrate under the counter too long and it started to ferment. A few of the workers became imbibers and hence the disappearance of Loganberry Juice. It should be noted that on sales of Loganberry Juice the Humphrey’s grossed approximately $42,000.00 in one of the years during World War I.
Some of us “older folks” remember when the syrup for the Hires Root Beer, Vernors Gingerale and Orange Soda was visible in large glass containers that looked like inverted hearts. On dispensing a drink another Humphrey invention added carbonation to the water then this was portioned with the syrup to make these tasty beverages. During this era, drinks were served in real drinking glasses. When the customers finished their drinks at the stand, the worker inverted the glass and inserted it into a cylindrical opening in the counter which caused hot water to squirt into and around the glass, cleaning it for use by later customers after being allowed to dry over a metal section of the counter. In later years the syrup and carbonated water were mixed much like they are today. By the sixties, the stand was replaced by drink vending machines.
Also under the same structure that housed the Popcorn Stand was the Hot Dog Stand. This stand contained the hot dog steamer, bun warmers, and condiments. As you may remember, the hot dogs were Sylvana Brand supplied by the Hildebrandt Provision Co. and later were provided by Sugardale. Hot dogs were also available at the Main Lunch, Lake Lunch, Colonnade Lunch Stands, and at the Boulevard Stand.
Note 1: Public Square in Cleveland, Ohio. Higbee’s a department store, moved into a 11 story building which was part of the Terminal Tower complex around 1929. In 1987 Higbee’s was sold to the Dillard’s department store chain. The name was changed to Dillard’s in 1992. The building is now home to Jack Cleveland Casino.
Note 2: In the book, “Euclid Beach Park is closed for the season”, it states that Dudley S. Humphrey II while in Chicago picked up a Cleveland newspaper. An article informed him that Euclid Beach Park had failed, and the land was to be sold off and developed as an allotment. Bankruptcy is not mentioned.
Note 3: In the twenties, the Humphrey family repurchased the Wakeman-Townsend farm which they lost in the 1800’s.
Part 2, Will appear on August 1st: Ice Cream, Coffee, Lunch Stand Fare, Cafeteria Dining, and Epilogue.