Cedar Downs Racing Derby
Cedar Downs Racing Derby is a racing Carousel that is located on Cedar Point's Main Midway.
Cedar Downs was part of Cedar Point's expansion plan in the 1960's to turn Cedar Point into the "Disneyland of the Mid-west"
The 1950's was a bad time for Cedar Point. The park was in bad shape due to lack of upkeep because of the depression. Cedar Point had been purchased by two business men who had plans on closing the park and developing the land as a housing development After studying the parks operations and the industry their plans changed to turning the park into ''The Disneyland of the Mid-west." Bigger rides and attractions would start coming. In 1958 the park opened the Cadillac Cars on the the Main Midway. In 1960 the lagoons were used for the Riverboat Cruise. It would later become Western Cruise then Paddlewheel Excursions. In 1961 Cedar Point added a mini golf, Sky Wheel and Rotor. 1962 brought the Sky Ride. When Sky Ride opened guest would no longer have to ride a roller coaster to see Cedar Point's sights for the air. Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad took guests deep into the woods in 1963. Also in 1963, Cedar Point opened Mill Race. Mill Race was only the second Log Flume ride in the world when it opened. Blue Streak was the first major roller coaster built since 1929 when it opened in 1964. In 1965 Space Spiral was the first ride in the world to stand over 300 feet. Cedar Point moved Pirate Ride to the park in 1966. With all theses rides and attractions Cedar Point was still expanding.
1967 was a big year for Cedar Point. The Park would receive several upgrades and a new area.
In 1967 Cedar Point made a big effort to have its ride capacity expanded. Mill Race had new logs added, More Cars were added to Turnpike Cars and Cadillac Cars. Sky Ride switched from 2 to 4 seat buckets, doubling that rides rider capacity. Western Cruise received more boats and extra coaches were added to Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad.
The big new attraction for the 1967 season was Frontier Town. Frontier Town was Cedar Point's first themed area. The area feature Shoot The Rapids, a restaurant, gift shop, second train station and the new Frontier Lift. The Funhouse was added in 1967 as well.
The ride opened at Euclid Beach Park in Euclid, Ohio. Originally named Great American Racing Derby, the ride was a very popular ride when it was built. The ride was built in 1920. Great American Racing Derby was one of the fastest carousels in the world when it opened. There were only three of these rides ever built. Two of them are known to be in operation.
Euclid Beach Park was a very popular park back in the day. The park failed didn't modernize its self and was quickly going out of business. What didn't help was the fact that the park had a lot of competition. It wasn't far from Geauga Lake or Chippewa Lake Park. Chippewa Park closed in 1978 because it couldn't keep up with Geauga Lake. In 2007, after 119 years of operation, Geauga Lake would close its amusement park section.
By early 1960's it was clear that the park wan't doing well. It started to downsize its offerings. It tried to hold on the the beloved carousel for as long as it could.
The Carousel was sold to Cedar Point in 1965. Euclid Beach Park would close forever on September 28, 1969. The parks remaining assets were sold in auction.
The Great American Racing Derby closed in 1965 when the ride was sold to Cedar Point. The ride was taken apart and restored before it would arrive at Cedar Point. The ride would also be repainted and given a new name, Cedar Downs Racing Derby. The new name made the ride a natural fit for Cedar Point.
Cedar Point gave the ride a great location in the middle of the park's great Main Midway.
It would also be one of the last new ride to open on the Main Midway until the Raptor roller coaster would open in 1994.
After the 1967 season Cedar Point contented to add more attractions to balance out when the park had to offer guest. Over the next 53 years years Cedar Point would add 25 roller coasters. Over the years Cedar Point would add: Cedar Creek Mine Ride (1969), Cedar Point's 100th anniversary Celebration (1970), Frontier Trail (1971), Giant Wheel (1972), Jumbo Jet (1972-1978), Cedar Point Cinema (1975-2001), Corkscrew (1976), Witches' Wheel (1977-2018), Gemini(1978), Gemini Childrean's Area(1979-2013), Oceana (1980-1998), Ocean Motion (1981), White Water Landing (1982-2005), Demon Drop(1983-2009), Avalanche Run (1985-1989), Thunder Canyon(1986), Iron Dragon(1987), Soak City Water Park (1988-2016), Magnum XL-200(1989), Disaster Transport (1990-2012), Mean Streak (1991-2016), Berenstain Bear Country's playground (1992-1999), Challenge Park (1992-2016), Snake River Falls (1993), Raptor (1994) Cedar Point's 125th Anniversary Celebration (1995),Mantis (1996-2014), Chaos (1997-2010), Power Tower (1998), Camp Snoopy (1999), Millennium Force(2000), Wicked Twister (2002-2021), Good Time Theater (2002-2014), Top Thrill Dragster (2003-2021), Castaway Bay(2004), maXair (2005), Skyhawk (2006), Maverick (2007), Planet Snoopy (2008), Shoot The Rapids(2010-2015), WindSeeker (2011), Dinosaurs Alive! on Adventure Island(2012-2018), GateKeeper (2013), New Gemini Midway (2014) Rougarou (2015), Valravn (2016), Cedar Point Shores Water Park (2017), Steel Vengeance ( 2018), Forbidden Frontier on Adventure Island(2019), Cedar Point's 150th Anniversary (2021), and The Boardwalk (2023).
All of these new attractions have given Cedar Point something new for guest to experience.
Last Updated: 09/20/2023
Photos by; Jake Hamons, Russ Hauden, and Cedar Point.