The history of Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, West Virginia could very well have been influenced by the bloody history of the site it was built upon.
There is a legend that allegedly this site was cursed. It all started in the late 1700s. The Clays, a settler family, first arrived to cultivate this land. They created their own home and 800-acre farm near Lake Shawnee then went on to raise 14 children.
However, Native Americans had been using that land for thousands of years and struggled to come to terms with the fact that part of their home had been taken away from them.
In 1783, a tribal group attacked the Clay family resulting in the fatalities of three children. Although Mitchell led a group of men to take revenge on the tribe, the incident left its mark on this land according to local residents.
Nothing much happened on the site after that until 1926 when entrepreneur Conley Snidov expressed a desire to build an amusement park there. He felt that the nearby lake complemented his design beautifully.
A year later, in 1927, an amusement park opened, offering visitors a Ferris wheel, a water slide, a dance hall, swings, and a pool.
The Lake Shawnee Amusement Park quickly became popular among locals, and for 39 years, the sound of children’s laughter could be heard daily.
However, the park began to get a bad reputation in the early 1950s. A truck transporting sparkling water accidentally crashed into a swing, resulting in the loss of a little girl. After a while, the pool was closed due to a fatal incident involving another child.
During the short lifespan of the park, there were six visitors who went in through the gates and didn’t come out again.
This negative reputation led to the official closure of the amusement park in 1966. Since then, it has remained abandoned; the colorful attractions are now rusty and overgrown with plants.
However, there was some renewed interest in this place in the 1980s when businessman Gaylord White acquired the land and everything on it.
White had big plans to revitalize the park and reopen it. But such plans had to be put aside after the unexpected discovery of ancient Native American artifacts and human remains.
White decided not to risk it and forgot about his idea to build a new amusement park. Instead, this place is now drawing in visitors as one of the most haunted places in the world.
Lake Shawnee has even been featured on the Travel Channel’s The Most Terrifying Places in America as well as Discovery Channel’s Ghostlab.
Currently, anyone who is brave enough can book a tour of this abandoned amusement park.
Visitors must make an appointment in advance and be prepared for a decent amount of walking. But for those looking to experience spirits and hauntings, this is the perfect place. Thank you to Amy McGover for this great images and check out her Flickr for more.
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