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CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) — Next to his house on South Turner Road in Canfield, Jim Amey is building an Idora Park Museum.
And with everything he plans to put in it, it’s easy to understand why the building is needed.
Jim Amey’s passion for everything Idora began with a light socket he took during a walk with his wife Toni through the abandoned park in the winter of 1993.
“He found that light socket and said, ‘You know what? I’m taking this. It’s falling apart, nobody’s going to miss this. I’m taking it.’ He went home that night and wrote Idora on it and that was the start of it all,” said Toni Amey.
Today, virtually every room of the Amey’s Canfield home has Idora Park memorabilia. In the basement are the signs. The family room has the posters and the large mirror ball from the ballroom. A ticket chopper from the 1920s adorns the living room. A shed out back stores the train from Kiddie Land with the rusted track stacked nearby, but the bulk of the collection is in the garage and driveway.
“I have an original Tilt a Whirl car up there from Idora Park, and there are three original cars from the Caterpillar,” Amey said.
Amey has cars from the Wildcat and Jack Rabbit, one of the original turtles, the soldiers that led into Kiddie Land and possibly one of the rocket ships.
“I have great love for it,” said Amey. “I miss it quite a deal. I expected it to be here forever and obviously it isn’t.”
Amey is a Chaney graduate who hung out at Idora Park and worked there in the summer of 1976. Now, Amey has taken his love and is constructing a 5,500 square foot building next to his house that will become an Idora Park Museum.
“You would come through and you would have certain things from the lower midway and then graduate up,” said Amey. “What we’d like to do is open up about 10 to 12 times a year.”
Amey said he has about $200,000 invested in the artifacts and the building. And while some call him nuts, his wife sees it differently.
“It’s about the passion. Any time someone has passion, you have to support that,” said Toni Amey.
The Amey’s know the person who has Idora’s french fry recipe and if they can get it, they plan to serve the fries when the museum opens, tentatively in April.