In July 1926, Columbus This Week featured Indianola Park. This Week was a publication distributed at hotels and restaurants. It catered to conventioneers, commercial travelers, and other visitors to the city and aimed to inform them how to get around town and where to go for food or entertainment.

The issue was celebrating massive renovations that had just been completed at the park. Park management had just spent tens of thousands on repairing concrete, modernizing the dance pavilion, and installing new filters for the pool.

The article is accompanied by some photos showing what the park looked like late on a summer afternoon eighty-five years ago.

Columbus This Week, 1926

Indianola Park in 1926. Note the AIU Citadel Building under construction on the cover.

Summers in the 1920s were generally warm and dry--good weather for the amusement park business. The summers of 1921, 1923, and 1925 were particularly favorable. Only 1920 was cool and wet.

The changes at the park were a success. The new Indianola enjoyed a renaissance of popularity. Summer weekends in the mid 1920s saw the park filled to capacity.

However, as the decade wore on, filling the park became more difficult--especially on weekdays.

A much more competitive environment for small amusement parks like Indianola was evolving. New technology and rising incomes were expanding people's entertainment options.

Movies- In 1922, weekly movie attendance was 40 million. By 1930, it had nearly doubled to 70 million.

Movies were inexpensive and filled with beautiful girls, handsome men, action, comedy, romance, suspense, and spectacle. It was hard to compete with Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks.

Movies were also a passive entertainment. Audiences just sat back and enjoyed it. They didn't have to do anything

Radio- In 1922, just 60,000 US households owned a radio. By the end of the decade, 13 million did. In 1922, there were 30 radio stations in the entire United States. By 1929, there were over 600.

In Columbus, the first commercial station, WAIU, went on the air in April 1921.

People who owned radios didn't need to go out for entertainment. Music, comedy, drama, information, and a sort of companionship came to them in the comfort of their own home. Better still, once you'd bought the radio, the entertainment was free.

Automobiles- Just 77,000 autos were registered the year Indianola opened. By the end of the Twenties, that number had swollen to 23 million.

Mass ownership of automobiles was about to change everything.

With automobiles, new recreational opportunities opened up. People could take a drive in the country, visit distant relatives, go to the lake, or visit resorts like Cedar Point or Buckeye Lake.

This competition chipped away at Indianola.

The pool and dance pavilion continued to do good business but other parts of the park didn't fare as well. The amusements were fast becoming worth less than the ground they stood on...