Monday, October 6, 2014

Michael's Locust Park

An early listing for Michael's Locust Park, in
the 1954 Lorain County Farm & Rural Directory 
While researching the house overlooking the golf course, I came across a name in the city directories that I hadn't heard in a long, long time: Michael's Locust Park.

From the 1950s to the 1990s, Michael's Locust Park was a very popular setting for a variety of social functions, including wedding receptions, picnics, clambakes and as a place for clubs and organizations to hold their meetings and get-togethers.

Michaels' Locust Park was owned by Benjamin A. Michael. According to his obituary, he was born in Amherst Township and lived in the area his entire life. He was a retired farmer, and owned and operated his park facility for many years. He had also been a 15-year member of the Black River Fire Department.

The facility has been closed since the late 1990s. Is it still there? Drive down Jaeger Road today, and it is difficult to see back into the woods where the park was located.

But, according to the Urban Exploration Resource website, the buildings were still there in 2007, when a guerilla site visit was undertaken.

Besides some great photos of what the facility looked like at that time (such as the photo at left), the website also includes some information gleaned from the gentlemen who ran the place in the years before it closed.

Here is what the website stated: "Built on farmland owned by Benjamin Michaels somewhere around 1952, it was used as a family picnic ground, with kitchen and playground. It was also Ben's escape from his farm duties. Over the years, several sections were built onto it. According to his grandson, Ben's wife didn't like dancing, but Ben loved it. He hosted many a square dance there in early years. After Ben's death, grandson Allen Erhart took it over and continued to rent it out. Many churches did retreats or ladies' group luncheons here. It could be rented out for events. About 10 years ago, he sold the property and closed the park, due to liability of renting the park becoming too much for him. Urban sprawl has doomed this place, however, and it will soon be torn down. All this info is straight from the former owner himself."

If you remember Michael's Locust Park and are interested in seeing what it looked like in 2007, here's the link to the Urban Exploration Resource website. Double-click on the photo under the "Photo Galleries" heading and it will bring up the entire gallery of photos. 
Although I don't specifically remember attending an event at the park, I do recall seeing a big sign for it on Jaeger Road.

A Bing Maps aerial view of part of the facility, with Jaeger Road shown at the bottom of the photo


Anonymous said...

Wow blast from the past. I grew up on Jaeger Rd. Great seeing the list of names, of the original owners. I remember a lot of those names including
We had three houses of relatives, at one point, living on Jaeger. The Family went to Michael's many of times for my Father's F.O.E of Amherst, summer picnics. A lot of great memories, the music, games, food, prizes... I haven't thought of those great picnics in a long time. I enjoy reading your blog...

Rick Kurish said...

Does anyone have any memories of Brandt's Park in Amherst? It's heyday was earlier than Michaels Locust Park, 1920s through the 1950s. It was located along Beaver Creek, and was accessible by a private drive from Kolbe Road. The park hosted many picnics of Churches, Fraternal Orders, various clubs Family Reunions, etc.. I've been told that in the 1920s and 1930s there was at least one baseball field on the property.

The park was run by Henry Brandt, who lived alone in a small cottage at the end of the private road, at the entrance to the park. You won't need a guerrilla site visit to check out this old park. It is now the location of the Amherst Beaver Creek Metropark. Portions of he old private road are now incorporated into the walking trails in the park.

jennifer reffner said...

I live on jaeger and the buildings are there

Anonymous said...

My brother-in-law and his wife had there wedding reception there..back in the 70's...and other events that we went to was a nice place for family stuff..