Vollmars Park: Then and Now - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Vollmars Park: Then and Now

(Source: WTOL) (Source: WTOL)
BOWLING GREEN, OH (WTOL) -

People used to come from all around to ride the roller coaster, train and other fun rides at Vollmars Park.

Located on the banks of the Maumee in Bowling Green, the park was originally bought by Charles Vollmar at the turn of the century.

It was then acquired by Mike Hofner and his family in the 1960s.

“Grandpa got sick and my grandma couldn’t run it anymore and they sold it to Hofner’s, and then Hofner’s continued with it,” said Jackie Parker Pierce, granddaughter of Charles Vollmar.

The Hofners then turned it into the park it was in it’s prime, adding a small coaster and several flat rides as well as offering roller skating, food and more.

“I was always a thrill seeker kids and wanted to ride the big stuff,” said Wendy Barnhart, a former patron of the park. “The octopus was one of my favorites.”

There was even a main dance hall that offered weddings and a hotel.

“I lived [in the hotel] for a while when I was one or two,” Pierce said. “We just couldn’t wait to turn fifteen because we knew that we could work down there.”

Eventually costs exceed income, and the rides had to be auctioned off in the 1980s.

The park stayed open without the rides for a few more years until it closed permanently in 2001.

“The year that is closed, we tried to take our girls there. The very last day that is closed,” said Barnhart. “Mr. Hofner was stretching the chain across the driveway. He said, ‘I’m sorry but we’re closed for the season.’ I said oh, that’s okay, we’ll try again next year. He said ‘I’m sorry there won’t be a next year.’ I understand that Mr. Hofner died a short time later.”

The land was then split up. One half is being left to rot.

“I didn’t know what it was when I bought it, I had no idea that it was an amusement park,” said new owner Bryan Ellis. “The cops come out here quite a bit to check on this place.”

The other half was used to build Ellis’ dream home.

“I was fishing with some buddy’s and they took me through the cut field over here….and I thought man, that would be neat to live there one day.

It wasn’t until after we bought this place that I realized that this was the actual same spot that I was pointing at. That was really cool.”

Video Courtesy: Ron Schulz

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