Craig Beach was a beach, park, and amusement park area located along Lake Milton to the west of Youngstown. Gaining massive popularity in the 1920s, the location could accommodate thousands of visitors at one time, and was a very popular vacation and resort location for the people of Youngstown, Akron, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. While the spot served as a fun day trip location for many, little more than an hour’s drive from any of these cities, it also proved to be a popular location for extended getaways, with the availability of local hotels attracting guests to stay for longer periods of time. Craig Beach was built up throughout the 1920s and 1930s to include many different attractions. This included the building of a larger sand beach on Lake Milton, allowing more beach goers to enjoy the space and further promote swimming and boating within the lake. As well, the location boasted an amusement park area, which at its height included roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, shooting galleries, bowling alleys, arcades, and rides for small children.
Black patrons frustrated by the Jim Crow policies at Youngstown’s Idora Park traveled eighteen miles to Craig Beach in 1937 for their annual “Negro Day” outing. The Pittsburgh Courier reported that year that “few Negroes ever go to Idora Park.” By the 1940s, most of the constructed attractions had either closed or were beginning to show signs of decay. This was most notable in regards to the roller coaster found at the beach, which incurred multiple accidents (causing serious injuries and even deaths) before ultimately being shut down. Today, Craig Beach remains as a still enjoyable park and beach area.
- McNeal, William. “Church Picnic Ends in Tragedy as Roller Coaster Jumps Track.” Pittsburgh Courier. August 16, 1941.
- “Park at Craig Beach Growing in Popularity.” Pittsburgh Courier. June 13, 1926.
- “Race Ignores Jim-Crow Park.” Pittsburgh Courier. August 7, 1937.
- 2 Killed, 8 Hurt In Roller-Coaster Plunge. Call & Post. August 16, 1941.
- “Youngstown, Ohio: Craig Beach.” Pittsburgh Courier. August 6, 1938.