Meyers Lake Park

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.

Bath house at Meyers Lake in the early 20th century | L. Schartenberg Co., Akron, Ohio | Source: Walter Havighurst Special Collections Library, Miami University

Resources

  • “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.