Last Call For An Ohio Tourist Icon

This week in my monthly column in the Plain Dealer we take a look at a vanishing Ohio tourist attraction:

After 57 years an Ohio tourist icon is beginning what could be its final season.

Prehistoric Forest and Mystery Hill Family Fun Center on the Marblehead peninsula has posted an announcement calling it quits at the end of the 2010  summer.

Owner Len Tieman, who bought the nearly sixty year old tourist attraction fifteen years ago says he is retiring in September when the tourist season ends.  “I don’t plan to sell the property, it’s going to be put into mothballs.” He told me.  Tieman said his age, he is nearing sixty-three, and the long hours during the summer months, coupled by the bad economy of the past year helped make his decision to shut down the long-running tourist attraction.

During the 1950′s there were several of the “Mystery Hill”-type attractions built around the U.S., including the one in Marblehead.  In a time before big amusement theme parks, computers and video games, the legend of a Mystery Hill attracted thousands of families that wanted to tour the little shack where gravity seems to run amuck. Now there will be only a handful left across the country and none in Ohio after Labor Day.

Water runs uphill in the building and visitors seemingly defy gravity by standing at impossible angles. Chairs hang from the walls with no support.   While in reality it is a man-made optical illusion, the owners of Mystery Hill spin a wondrous story of how the house came to be built in this so-called gravitational vortex.  It’s all part of the fun.

…You can read the rest of this story in the Saturday, May 22nd edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer or at their website www.cleveland.com

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