Jewel Lake Park was a planned Black leisure spot along Roundup Lake along Route 82 northwest of Mantua in Portage County. The park was the brainchild of Jack Gibson and Ralph Kinney. When Gibson and Kinney commenced grading on the property, whites in the vicinity employed threats of violence and a hastily adopted zoning code to prevent its opening in 1955. When an African American minister from St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Cleveland arrived in May 1955 to inspect the site, still under construction in anticipation of holding a large picnic to dedicate the new park that summer, he was “greeted with a shotgun blast.” The failure of this would-be Black resort stood in contrast to Roundup Lake Park, a whites-only, Western-themed resort that Irv Ballonoff had opened only 1,000 feet away in 1951. Between the zoning board’s imposition of a “residential” zone on Gibson and Kinney’s property and the open hostility toward the venture, Jewel Lake Park never opened.
Additional information coming soon.
- Girgash, Bill. “Mantua Farm to Become Park.” Akron Beacon Journal. November 7, 1950.
- “In Liberal (?) Ohio.” Call & Post. July 2, 1955.
- Richardson, Marty. “Threats Force Church Club to Cancel Outing,” Call & Post. July 2, 1955.
- Roundup Lake Park ad. Akron Beacon Journal. May 6, 1951.