Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Fading Ads of (Surf) Cincinnati


This sign is a bit different than those found in the book with a similar name to this post, but it meets the basic criteria. It also has some personal significance.


I knew Surf Cincinnati as a kid, when it was still open:

- 1999 photograph by Bill Ware, featured in the original Surf Cincinnati article


I knew Surf Cincinnati as a young photographer and writer, when it was forgotten:

- Circa 2007 photograph of Surf Cincinnati in its abandoned state.


I loved ‘Surf’ in both states of its existence. Out of all the abandoned places I've been to, the suburban water park north of the city was my favorite. If I’m being honest, I miss being able to explore the remains of the place more than I miss being able to swim there. Occasionally, I get this urge to go back and have a look around even though very little remains—most of it replaced by a church built on the property around 2009. Sometimes I find remnants of the park (as chronicled in previous posts), but the days of sneaking through a “secret entrance” in the fence to a vast abandoned waterpark are long gone. When the church debuted, they covered up the park’s former sign with one of their own. I hadn’t seen the original park advertisement in well over a decade until I got this tweet:


So the other day, I stopped by, and there was a scrap of Surf still alive in all of its late 80s/early 90s Baywatch-vibing glory:


Now revealed, for a time at least, after the church banner had partially blown over:


Thanks for looking out @MecumHaiku and I very much appreciate the followup tweet:


Unlike the "old days" of Surf, though, no risk needed—I just pulled into the parking lot.


The story of Surf Cincinnati has been one of the most popular posts on this website over the years. You can read the original post, the story of how I ended up there in the first place (and subsequently how this website started), or just see all the Surf posts here

Additionally, if you like fading advertisements or abandoned amusement parks, I’ve got a book on the former and several stories of the latter

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