Battleships at the Lagoon

J. J. Weaver [owner of the Lagoon], looking for attractions, found there were some battleships in storage at St. Louis, purchased them and brought them to the park. Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany had these built for maneuver training and sent them to St. Louis for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904, as part of Germany’s exhibit. These battleships were manned by a crew of one, powered by one-lung gassers. Each evening after dark they battled one another on the Lagoon, shooting roman candles (as we called them) at one another. J. J. Weaver also staged a Monitor and Merrimac battle with floating models. Sometimes there was a balloon ascension climaxed when the pilot descended by parachute. There was great rivalry between parks. On the Kentucky side we had the Lagoon at Ludlow, Rosedale Park in Latonia, and Tacoma Park at Dayton, Ky. Then on the Ohio side they had Chester Park at Cincinnati and Coney Island on up the river. Today the Lagoon is no longer there. Some five years ago it became a bog, swamp and land fill. A development company proposed to level the area for commercial development, and remains and bones of the Cincinnati Union Terminal [the back part that led out to the trains, not the part still standing] and Crosley Field were used as fill. The upper run of Pleasant Run Creek staged a flood of so resulting in suits and injunctions about as messy as the site itself had become. When I was a kid, rooting around in the mud below the old dam and the Ohio River, I came across the bow of one of those battleships sticking up out of the mud three or four feet. I intended to go back and dig it out but, as usual, something more important, like a raft or a prize piece of driftwood always came up and I never got back.


Recollection by Jim Hutchins, then in Shannon, Alabama, in a note to the S&D Reflector in the June, 1977 issue.