The First U.S. Monorail Wasn't at Disneyland

The Ohio Mechanical Handling Co. reflects back on designing and building the first commercial monorail in the United States for a park in Akron, Ohio.
August 12, 2008, 9am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"The future arrived in a bright flash of silver.

Sunlight glinted on steel and aluminum as Summit Beach Park unveiled its shiny new attraction in August 1957.

A sleek monorail train glided 9 feet off the ground on a 3/4-mile track along the eastern edge of Summit Lake.

''This isn't a thrill ride,'' Summit Beach Manager Ed Palmer told the Beacon Journal. ''It's something new, something different - a ride of the future.''

The 25-cent excursion was a first and a last. It was the first commercial monorail to operate in the United States. It was also the last ride built at the Akron park."

"The monorail system featured 11-foot aluminum cars with tubular steel frames, Plexiglas roofs and foam-rubber seats. The cab, which pulled four passenger cars, had a 4-cylinder, gas-powered engine, a Ford automatic transmission and hydraulic brakes. A framework of steel beams supported the track."

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Published on Monday, August 11, 2008 in Akron Beacon Journal
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