Seccaium Park (Sek-I-um)
Seccaium Park was on SR 19 between
Bucyrus and Galion, Ohio
Seccaium Park Book Premiere -
From a car window Honneffer first became intrigued by the wooded park property. His
grandfather (a former visitor) always pointed out in passing, the dilapidated timbers from
the old roller coaster still faintly visible above the trees. The mysterious sites
nostalgic tug has precipitated four years worth of researching the history of Seccaium
Park and interviewing Crawford County citizens with memories of time spent dancing,
swimming and picnicking at the popular little resort formerly located between
Bucyrus and Galion on Route 19.
The park began as part of an outside business venture spurred by a group of investors in
the Ohio Central Traction Company, an interurban line that connected the two communities
at the end of the Nineteenth Century. The newspapers in both Bucyrus and Galion actively
reported particulars of the OCTC purchase of 57.2 acres adjoining the Crawford County
Infirmary property from the commissioners and the subsequent development of the wooded
parcel along the banks of the Olentangy River as a gathering spot for summertime pleasure
After the August 1899 grand opening, the park with the name nobody could pronounce
-Seccaium (Sek-I-um), drew mammoth crowds especially on Sundays and holidays when concerts
were featured and when picnic throngs gathered from the Crawford County Pioneer
Association, Grocers organization and other church, fraternal and business groups.
A sizeable casino was constructed to host traveling vaudeville and dramatic programs.
Dancing was available in the park pavilion. Food and refreshments were served on the
grounds at the park restaurant. Baseball was a popular pastime on the park diamond and
rowboats could be rented to paddle about on the man made lagoon near the Olentangy River
at the back of the property.
The venture would prove so successful that the modest interurban line scrambled early on
to keep up with a dependable time schedule and additional cars as special events at
The parks prospects would ebb and flow between neglect and revival over the years
leading up to World War I. Interurban service became less reliable, accidents on the line
consumed more and more print in the newspapers and reorganization by the Cleveland
Southwestern Railway take over of the OCTC precipitated uncertainty for Seccaiums
By the early 1920s enterprising Bucyrus businessman Ralph Jolly and his bandleader
brother Carl resuscitated the park after buying it for a song from the Cleveland
Southwestern Railway. Forever after the Jollys arrival Seccaium would be known as
the place to dance - A Fun
Place to Go, Just for Fun.
Ralph Jolly built a large new dance pavilion with an impressive outside dance floor that
for years drew flocks of fun seekers to hear the likes of Jelly Roll Morton, Fletcher
Henderson, Jean Goldkette and Guy Lombardo among others.
For added thrills, one of the largest swimming pools in the Midwest was built alongside
the dance pavilion and a midway full of rides and concessions materialized in the shadow
of the Pip pin roller coaster.
The dance music kept playing - some nights only on a machine - until June 1948 when
a fire decimated the property and Seccaium wend silent forever except in nostalgia.
Frederick N. Honneffer, Bowling Green State University document conservator
and author of Jolly Times at Seccaium Park 1899-1948 was the featured
speaker at the annual meeting of the Bucyrus Historical Society on Thursday June 26 at
7:00 PM in the fellowship hall of St. Pauls Evangelical Lutheran Church, 130 South
Walnut Street, Bucyrus. Honneffer provided a sneak preview and entertaining highlights
from his book.