Reprint of an article that appeared in “Euclid Beach Park Nuts Newsletter” predecessor to “The Arch” Euclid Beach Park Now’s quarterly newsletter: Issue 4, August 1990. Authored by Rich Heileman and Angelo Datellis.
Note: When founded in 1989 the organization was called; Euclid Beach Park Nuts. The name was changed to Euclid Beach Park Now in 2005 when the organization filed for non-profit status.
If EUCLID BEACH was the premier amusement park in the Great Lakes Region in the first half of the 20th Century, it was due in no small part, to the talents and abilities of its Chief Engineer, Dudley Humphrey Scott.
Scott joined the Cleveland Engineering Society in 1917 and served as a member of its Board of Trustees and as the Society's Treasurer, Vice President and then President until his death in 1938.
He was employed for several decades by the Humphrey Co. and held the title of Chief Engineer and Gen. Mgr. of Euclid Beach Park. Scott also designed the refrigeration system for the floor of the Elysium Ice Skating Rink. He also worked there for many years. (Note 1)
EUCLID BEACH PARK opened in 1895 and had enjoyed a tenuous reputation until it was rescued by the Humphrey Family in 1901.
During the first two decades of the new century the Humphreys were to change the park's image as in institution catering to gamblers and drinkers, to that of a place where wholesome fun and entertainment could be enjoyed by all.
The family added rides and attractions which gave EUCLID BEACH the stature of a major amusement park.
Dudley Humphrey Scott was born January 30, 1887, in West Clarksfield, Ohio, the son of Mina Sherman Humphrey and Alexander Dillon Scott. He attended grades 1-8 in a one room school house in the small midwestern town. Scott moved to Cleveland around 1900, where he attended East High School and later received his engineering education at Case School of Applied Science.
He married Maude “Louise” Carpenter on May 13, 1918 in Cincinnati. Dudley and Louise became parents of Marion, Carol and David. The three children lived the dream of many youngsters, having spent their childhood years in residence in the EUCLID BEACH grounds.
As President and Founder of the EUCLID BEACH NUTS CLUB, David recalls how, during those early days at the park, his dad, Dudley Humphrey Scott, would take him on his shoulders from powerhouse to powerhouse, as he checked the temperature of the motors and examined oil levels to see that the bearings were getting proper lubrication.
According to the book “Euclid Beach Is Closed For The Season”, Scott was “dedicated to safety and all Park men were urged to constantly watch for possible malfunctions, that could be detected by a sound.
As the parks' Chief Engineer Scott frequently made trips throughout the United States investigating new developments in amusements.
Known as a talented photographer, Scott took his Bell and Howell wind up camera along with him, so that he could visually record the unusual aspects of new rides for possible adaption to the need of EUCLID BEACH.
Scott, who was enamored of the Old West, was no stranger to cross-country trips. He crossed the U.S.A. in 1914 with his uncle in a Model-T Ford. For many years, Scott kept a car, completely outfitted with camping equipment, in the west. He frequently used this vehicle to tour Yellowstone Park to the Colorado River. He also traveled to Paris, France, in 1927.
Scott counted among his hobbies: photography, particularly the Old West, amusement park (naturally), classical music, history and (as we could expect) travel.
While employed at EUCLID BEACH, Scott took many slow-motion pictures of existing rides. His aim was to analyze the workings of the various ride mechanisms. Scott's goal was to bring new, exciting and safe rides to the Park.
Among the attraction which Scott helped to bring to the Park were the glistening silver Buck Rogers style Rocket Ships, a thrilling, tower mounted circle swing and the popular Witching Waves.
A ride ahead of its time, installed in the 1920's anticipated the surfing craze of the 1950's. The ride was designed as an oval track with an undulating floor made of sheet metal. A series of cam-like devices operating beneath the floor caused the sheet metal surface to move up and down, mimicking the waves at sea. Patrons in cars were challenged to “catch a wave” which would give their car momentum enough to catch a second wave, and then a third and keep the ride going. Scott made the ride more fun by adding small battery-powered motors to the cars. This provided power to the front wheel and made it possible for patrons to pursue their own wave and keep the ride in motion. The Witching Waves survived until 1931 when they were replaced by the Laff In The Dark, which was built on the same foundation.
Scott was instrumental in developing many unique lighting effects found in the popular Fun House and he is credited with having developed the famous “black light” which is widely used today to create special effects.
According to EUCLID BEACH IS CLOSED FOR THE SEASON, keeping the Park neat and clean was no picnic. The book says for this purpose, Scott, in the early 1920's introduced a huge vacuum cleaner. The details were executed by Park employee Bill Parker, as one of his first assignments. “When the dirt greedy vehicle was finished, it picked up everything from loose hair to good sized stones. Having an appearance not all reminiscent of an Italian sports car, the monstrous machine was effective, but complicated to operate.” It was Bill Parker, the machines' designer, who was assigned to operate the machine “since he was the only one who could handle the eleven levers required to manipulate it.” (Note 2)
Scott also was responsible for bringing other talent to the Park. It was in 1921 that he brought Walter Williams to EUCLID BEACH. Williams, whose last day at the Park was September 28, 1969, the day EUCLID BEACH closed for all seasons, helped to install The Great American Racing Derby, which continues to operate at Cedar Point. Dudley Humphrey Scott died of a heart attack after returning home from a business trip in 1938, at the age of 51. The Cleveland Engineering Society's “Bulletin” ran a tribute to Scott on the front page of its March 10, 1938, edition. The article acknowledged the vast amount of engineering knowledge he had exhibited in his ability to design and operate the many attractions at EUCLID BEACH. The Bulletin said that the Society's members had been entertained by Scott's movies and color slides. “In his (Scott's) travels as in his other associations, he constantly made new friends. No man of more even disposition ever lived. He was never heard to raise his voice in censure or protest, even under some of the most trying circumstances. The Society has lost a loyal member, he will be difficult to replace.”
Note 1: The Elysium was built by the Humphrey's in 1907, located at East 107thand Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. Built after the liquidation of Forest City Park in 1906. Forest City Park, which was in existence since the latter part of the 1800's, was located on Cleveland's east side. This park was purchased by the Humphrey family in 1902. The Gavioli band organ was first installed in the Elysium for ice skating, moved to the roller rink at Euclid Beach Park in 1910. Reference: “Euclid Beach Park is closed for the season”.
Note 2: A photo of the Big Vacuum Cleaner, appears on page 144 of “Euclid Beach Park is closed for the season.”
THE ARCH Editor: John Marn
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Due to Covid-19 publication of The Arch was held up. These three issues were sent out in one mailing on October 26, 2020.
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DUDLEY HUMPHREY SCOTT, A Short Biographical Sketch
Mr. Scott was Euclid Beach Park's Chief Engineer
Reprint of an article that appeared in the Euclid Beach Park Nuts quarterly newsletter: Issue 4, Augusrt 1990. Authored by Rich Heileman and Angelo Datellis