Meyers Lake Park was a lakeside picnic ground and amusement park near Canton. The earliest mention of African Americans visiting “Meyer’s lake” was in 1896, when an excursion organized by the Cleveland L’Ouverture Rifles brought about 500 Black visitors from Cleveland, Akron, Massillon, and other points meet Ohio governor and future U.S. president William McKinley. To reach McKinley’s home, the delegation formed a “novel parade and scene for Canton people because so very few of our people live here.” After the visit, the group took streetcars from Canton’s Public Square to the Meyers Lake picnic ground. Meyers Lake was seldom mentioned as a Black leisure site, although as late as 1939 the Call & Post noted that two church congregations from Alliance, Ohio, visited the park for an Emancipation Day picnic. More notably, Cleveland radio station deejay Alan Freed emceed a “Moondog Show” at Meyers Lake’s ballroom in late winter 1952 before the more famous Moondog Coronation Ball at the Arena in Cleveland. The Meyers Lake Moondog Show reportedly attracted more than 2,500 attendees from across northern Ohio despite a snowstorm. A photo that accompanied an article about the disorder that resulted from the grossly oversold Moondog Coronation Ball shows what appears to be a largely African American audience.
- “Alliance News.” Call & Post. August 3, 1939.
- “M’Kinley. Five Hundred Cleveland Akron and Massillon Afro-Americans Visit Him Tuesday.” Cleveland Gazette. August 22, 1896.
- Williams, Valena Minor. “Call & Post Woman’s Editor Caught in Wild Melee as Moon Doggers ‘Break it Up.'” Call and Post. March 29, 1952.