Conneaut Lake rezoning request may signal the end for Devil’s Den

Devils den
© Conneaut Lake Park

After concluding their first season under the ownership of real estate developer and new owner Todd Joseph, Conneaut Lake Park shows signs that its 129 year history may be coming to a close. On Saturday, showed listings for multiple rides at the site, including the carouselOctopus, and multiple kiddie rides. This was followed by a filing reported in local paper Meadville Tribune that Joseph and his company, Keldon Holdings, had filed to construct an 80 unit residential complex on the site of a former driving range near the park

While Joseph has not stated his intention of closing Conneaut Lake and has in fact stated he planned to operate the park for the foreseeable future, he has also not answered questions about whether he plans to demolish the park. Joseph is required to do so as part of the covenant of sale until 2028, however rumors abound that he is actively pursuing demolition of the park’s most well known attraction. The American Coaster Enthusiasts sent a press release on September 2, 2021 indicating that they were concerned that the demolition of Blue Streak was “imminent,” and implored ownership to reconsider.

Not listed for sale nor being actively advocated for is Devil’s Den, one of two remaining gravity driven Pretzel Company dark rides in operation at a permanent park. Opened in 1968, Devil’s Den and it’s infamous Gum Wall have terrified patrons ever since. With Blue Streak not operating for the 2021 season and the scrapping of the Tumble Bug, Devil’s Den became the primary draw to Conneaut Lake Park.

Conneaut Lake Park has undergone decades of challenging business conditions: the park was sold after the 1992 season and has seen season long closures in 1995, 2008, 2009, and 2020, undergoing bankruptcies, sales, sell-offs, fires, felony convictions for tax evasion, and more.