Seccaium Park2.jpg (135433 bytes) Seccaium Park (Sek-I-um)
Seccaium Park was on SR 19 between
Bucyrus and Galion, Ohio

Seccaium Park Book Premiere -            

From a car window Honneffer first became intrigued by the wooded park property. His grandfather (a former visitor) always pointed out in passing, the dilapidated timbers from the old roller coaster still faintly visible above the trees. The mysterious site’s nostalgic tug has precipitated four years worth of researching the history of Seccaium Park and interviewing Crawford County citizens with memories of time spent dancing, swimming and picnicking at the “popular little resort” formerly located between Bucyrus and Galion on Route 19.

The park began as part of an outside business venture spurred by a group of investors in the Ohio Central Traction Company, an interurban line that connected the two communities at the end of the Nineteenth Century. The newspapers in both Bucyrus and Galion actively reported particulars of the OCTC purchase of 57.2 acres adjoining the Crawford County Infirmary property from the commissioners and the subsequent development of the wooded parcel along the banks of the Olentangy River as a gathering spot for summertime pleasure seekers.

After the August 1899 grand opening, the park with the name nobody could pronounce -Seccaium (Sek-I-um), drew mammoth crowds especially on Sundays and holidays when concerts were featured and when picnic throngs gathered from the Crawford County Pioneer Association, Grocers’ organization and other church, fraternal and business groups.

A sizeable casino was constructed to host traveling vaudeville and dramatic programs. Dancing was available in the park pavilion. Food and refreshments were served on the grounds at the park restaurant. Baseball was a popular pastime on the park diamond and rowboats could be rented to paddle about on the man made lagoon near the Olentangy River at the back of the property.

The venture would prove so successful that the modest interurban line scrambled early on to keep up with a dependable time schedule and additional cars as special events at Seccaium demanded.

The park’s prospects would ebb and flow between neglect and revival over the years leading up to World War I. Interurban service became less reliable, accidents on the line consumed more and more print in the newspapers and reorganization by the Cleveland Southwestern Railway take over of the OCTC precipitated uncertainty for Seccaium’s future.

By the early 1920’s enterprising Bucyrus businessman Ralph Jolly and his bandleader brother Carl resuscitated the park after buying it for a song from the Cleveland Southwestern Railway. Forever after the Jolly’s arrival Seccaium would be known as the place to dance - “A Fun Place to Go, Just for Fun.”

Ralph Jolly built a large new dance pavilion with an impressive outside dance floor that for years drew flocks of fun seekers to hear the likes of Jelly Roll Morton, Fletcher Henderson, Jean Goldkette and Guy Lombardo among others.

For added thrills, one of the largest swimming pools in the Midwest was built alongside the dance pavilion and a midway full of rides and concessions materialized in the shadow of the Pip pin roller coaster.

The dance music kept playing - some nights only on a machine - until June 1948 when a fire decimated the property and Seccaium wend silent forever except in nostalgia.

Frederick N. Honneffer, Bowling Green State University document conservator and author of Jolly Times at Seccaium Park 1899-1948 was the featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Bucyrus Historical Society on Thursday June 26 at 7:00 PM in the fellowship hall of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 130 South Walnut Street, Bucyrus. Honneffer provided a sneak preview and entertaining highlights from his book.

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