History of Green Acres and Founding
Roots of the Long Island Beach

About Us

Dave & Sharon Lutz, along with their three children, Steve, Malorie and Brad, are now the 4th and 5th generations to conduct business from this family location. Sharon’s great-grandfather, John Pope, acquired the farm in 1888. Her grandparents, Earl & Dolores Pope had an amusement park here named Long Island Beach. The park was often compared to a miniature Coney Island.It began operation in the early 1920’s and continued through the mid 1950’s.During the 1970’s, Sharon’s father, Edwin Pope, operated a golf practice range and a miniature golf course, named “The Golf Range”. This was successfully operated until the road was closed to through traffic for the replacement of the bridge over the Whitewater River in the early 1980’s.In 1998, Ed’s daughter and son-in-law, Sharon & Dave Lutz, decided to use the location to open a new golf range and mini-golf named Green Acres. A few years later, the canoe & kayak rental was added then in 2007, tube rentals were introduced and in 2010 rafts were also added. The golf practice range was sacrificed in 2010 to create an additional parking lot to satisfy the rapid growth of the canoe rental.

Beach History

Long Island Beach was somewhat similar in nature to Hunt’s Grove and Coney Island. Long Island Beach was located on Suspension Bridge Road along the Whitewater River at the present location of Green Acres. Long Island Beach was started by a small group of young men with the last name of Pope who owned the property.Earl and Jennings Pope were teenagers when they began selling soda pop out of a washtub by the road for the thirsty travelers. Route 50 wasn’t built yet and Suspension Bridge Road was one of the main roads to Cincinnati. (The two young men were cousins, but were raised like brothers). The travelers and local people began asking if they could swim in the river. So around 1925, Earl, Jennings, Arthur and Ed Pope (Arthur and Ed were brothers to Jennings), began clearing some of the river bank to make it accessible. Patrons were charged 10 cents per person to park and charged 10 cents per person to swim. Local children were admitted free but were not permitted to dive into the river from the bridge or play the slot machines, which were later added.

Every year more attractions were added. Concrete was poured for two tennis courts and a ping-pong table. A dance hall was built, which included a round crystal ball, and dances were held on Saturday nights. A refreshment stand was constructed near the river bank and a concrete dance floor and a band stand were added. A family of musicians with the last name of “Junglas” played all kinds of instruments. They were a happy, vivacious group. Ray Junglas played the bass fiddle, Nita played the piano and Ray Jr. would play an instrument and sing. There were also other musicians who would come to play or sing; such as Rosemary Clooney, Spike Jones, and other big bands.Long Island Beach stretched out about 1 mile along the Whitewater River. The property north of Suspension Bridge Road was owned by brothers, Edward, Arthur and Jennings Pope. Their cousin, Earl owned the property south of the bridge. Their fathers were two brothers named John and Michael Pope; who together purchased the farm in 1888.

Earl also built many camps on wagon chassis. They were moved to higher ground each winter and taken along the river for summer. There were also many camps built along the river. Some of these camps resembled small homes. Many were occupied by long-time renters.Boy Scouts from Saylor Park built a cabin on the island which was in the middle of the river around 1927. A Girl Scout troop from the North Bend area also used the cabin around 1935-1936. The 1937 flood put an end to the camp when it destroyed it.Earl ran the beach during the week while Arthur, Ed, and Jennings worked the farm. On the weekends, the three cousins also worked at the beach. Earl would run the entrance gate

Edward designed many of the rides and a swinging walk-bridge, which was located in the area of where the I-275 overpass is now. Arthur, Ed, Jennings, and Earl built the rides together. One particular ride was referred to as “The Flying Dutchman.” It was a wooden boat-shaped box with two seats that would hang from the rafters of the bridge. The riders would take turns pulling on ropes to make it swing. There were numerous rides; all were man-powered and considered lots of fun!Dolores Pope, wife of Earl, ran the first aid station. Millie, wife of Edward Pope, did work there as well and is remembered as making the campers go to church on Sunday.Long Island hosted a number of activities such as company’s picnics, camping, dances, bicycle rentals, tennis courts, bingo and swimming. Fernald would have their annual company picnics at Long Island. One day was 1024 admissions. A few years after Long Island opened, they added some of the finest ball fields in the area.

During WWII, Long Island Beach had ice-cream available from Ritzmann’s Brothers Dairy in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. They sold an average of 70 gallons of ice-cream per day. The large ice-cream cones were sold at the concession stand for a nickel. Many times, Arthur Pope’s big St. Bernard dog, Howdy, would get a child’s ice-cream cone. A replacement was quickly served. Howdy also got a steak once that was meant for the grill. The mules on the farm also ate well. They enjoyed the leftovers from the picnics of Long Island customers.One year, a Pepsi salesman mentioned to Earl that Pepsi was having a contest and the salesman to sell the most would win a trip to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Earl filled his barn with a year’s supply of Pepsi. His salesman then went to Atlantic City for his honeymoon!

The park continued to grow and Earl and Dolores were burdened with the responsibility of running it every day. Other family members would help if there was a large group on the weekends. There were many cousins and friends of the Pope family that would do miscellaneous jobs. Their daughter, Eleanor “Sis” worked the concessions, she recalls selling popcorn at 5cents per bag. One day she sold 1000 bags. Sons Edwin “Eddie” and John “Fritz/Peach” would be on clean-up duty and help out where needed. Jennings’s two sons, James “Mick” and Walter “Shorty”, along with Edward’s two children, Albert “Cap” and Betty would also help. A cousin named Charles, son of Adam Pope (brother to John), whose daughter named Elizabeth (Bixenstein) also worked the concessions. These people lived nearby on Lawrenceburg Road in E-Town.

Stanley and George Weber, along with their families, would sell sweet corn to Long Island patrons on the weekends. The two brothers were a good friends and neighbors to the Pope family.The life guard was named Jim Fleming. He worked at Long Island Beach for many years and was liked by everyone.The day WWII started, Jennings Pope hired a man named Paul Williamson to help on the farm; he quit the day the war ended. Earl Pope hired Glen Cathy to help on the farm, but he was drafted during WWII. A gentleman named Paul Crone was then hired.One year, a Pepsi salesman mentioned to Earl that Pepsi was having a contest and the salesman to sell the most would win a trip to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Earl filled his barn with a year’s supply of Pepsi. His salesman then went to Atlantic City for his honeymoon!

The park continued to grow and Earl and Dolores were burdened with the responsibility of running it every day. Other family members would help if there was a large group on the weekends. There were many cousins and friends of the Pope family that would do miscellaneous jobs. Their daughter, Eleanor “Sis” worked the concessions, she recalls selling popcorn at 5cents per bag. One day she sold 1000 bags. Sons Edwin “Eddie” and John “Fritz/Peach” would be on clean-up duty and help out where needed. Jennings’s two sons, James “Mick” and Walter “Shorty”, along with Edward’s two children, Albert “Cap” and Betty would also help. A cousin named Charles, son of Adam Pope (brother to John), whose daughter named Elizabeth (Bixenstein) also worked the concessions. These people lived nearby on Lawrenceburg Road in E-Town.

Stanley and George Weber, along with their families, would sell sweet corn to Long Island patrons on the weekends. The two brothers were a good friends and neighbors to the Pope family.The life guard was named Jim Fleming. He worked at Long Island Beach for many years and was liked by everyone.The day WWII started, Jennings Pope hired a man named Paul Williamson to help on the farm; he quit the day the war ended. Earl Pope hired Glen Cathy to help on the farm, but he was drafted during WWII. A gentleman named Paul Crone was then hired.A family by the name of Heyob operated Long Island Beach from around 1948-53. They were Elmer, Rosella “Smiles” and Jewels Heitzman. Long Island Beach was operated by Cap and Faye Pope from 1954-55.

The young Pope men, Edwin, James “Mick” and Walter “Shorty” were drafted for the Army in 1954. Shorty finally got a hardship deferment because they had drafted two men from the same family.In 1948-49, Hamilton County Park District acquired 1400+ acres on West Road and opened a free picnic area that was opened to the public. Hamilton County Park did not permit alcohol; therefore the only customers at Long Island were those with alcohol. As the Park District expanded their facilities with their tax dollar revenue, Long Island Beach could no longer compete and it closed in the early-mid 50’s

Memories of Long Island Beach by Orville and Betty (Pope) Gibbs Long Island Beach was a family owned, oriented, and operated amusement park located on the Whitewater River just off of Suspension Bridge Road in Harrison,Ohio.The Pope brothers, Arthur, Edward, and Jennings, plus cousin Earl, were the founders of Long Island Beach.On a young man’s life, Orville Gibbs, was changed forever by his days at Long Island. Orville’s first memories of Long Island Beach are of his Mom and Dad, Elsie and Charlie Gibbs taking Orville and his sister and four brothers to Long Island Beach in 1924. They packed a picnic lunch and stayed all day. Orville was so impressed with Long Island that he hung out there each summer as much as he could.Around 1933-34, he and his friends, Jake Schneider and Lowell Vogel used to make up stories to tell their parents about where they were staying the night, just so they could sleep in Orville’s Model T and be at Long Island Beach when it opened in the morning. Earl Pope always woke them up every morning by jumping on the running board of the Model T so he could collect the dime admission fee from each of them.

After 1933 or 1934, Edward Pope, one of the Pope brothers, asked Orville if Jake, Lowell, and he would like to lifeguard, since they were there all the time anyway. They said yes, and did not even think about getting paid. On Sunday night, Edward Pope handed Orville $8 for a weekend of work, which they considered more fun than work and felt privileged to be able to be there. They gave Lowell Vogel the money from the weekend and he did the shopping and cooking for all 3 of them.In 1934, Edward asked if the boys wanted to live in one of the wagons which were available for families to rent for the summer season. The wagons were built by the Popes upon Reo and Mack truck chassis. They looked like gypsy wagons, with 4 large wooden wheels with hard rubber tires. They had a long tongue to hitch to a tractor to move them in and out for the season, so they did not get ruined by the flood waters. The Pope’s built seven of these wagons to rent. There were 2 rooms, with 2 bunk beds, a few closets, a sink and a kerosene stove. They rented them for the summer season for $50 to $75 for the entire season.

Soft drinks were 5 cents per bottle. People collected the bottles so they could get the 2 cents deposit.Some time in the 1920’s, the railroad ran a passenger train from Cincinnati to Lawrenceburg, Indiana. People from Cincinnati used to come to Long Island Beach on that train. They got off on Rt. 50 at Kilby Rd., and walked to the Suspension Bridge. They brought their fishing poles. People from all over Cincinnati and Indiana came to Long Island Beach. There was no advertising. They came by word of mouth.Earl Pope used to stand at the gate and collect 10 cents per person and10 cents per automobile. If Earl thought you looked like trouble, he would open the trunk of the car. If there was too much beer in the trunk, he turned them away. He wanted to keep Long Island Beach family-friendly.

Arthur’s pride and joy was the ball field (close to where the driving range is now). It was one of the best ball fields around. There were teams that played every Sunday and crowds of people came to watch them. In the early 1920’s, the parking lot was full of cars, all black. It was a sea of black automobiles.

The Pope brothers and Earl built all kinds of larger-than-life playground equipment. Merry go rounds, hydraulic teeter totters, and the main attraction was the boat swings hanging under the bridge. They were attached under the bridge with chains, and the riders used ropes and pulleys to swing them back and forth. There were four boats which each held four people.The ideas for the toys usually came from brother Edward, and the other 3 did the welding and construction. Betty Pope remembers one time when her Dad, Edward, took her for a ride to check out what some of the other family-owned amusement parks were offering their customers. He wanted to see if there were other fun activities and rides he could build for Long Island.

There was also a cable stretched under the suspension bridge with hand-over-hand rings that people could hand-walk over the river or drop into the water below.The Whitewater River was fast moving and very clean. Even though the water was deep under the bridge, the Pope’s used to dredge the river. They used a big sycamore tree on the bank, 100 feet south of the bridge. They strung a cable into the top of tree then ran a bucket down the cable and dragged it back with a tractor to dig the bottom of the river.One day, Bob Rother, Orville, and Jake climbed the sycamore tree (which they did all the time) and hung on the rope and pulley together to ride on the cable down to the river. The cable broke and all 3 fell onto the river bank. The pulley smacked Orville in the head. Dolores Pope came running down and doctored all 3 of them. Orville had a gash in his head and had to go to Cleves to the doctor. He was back in the river that afternoon. Dolores was always nursing someone whenever they were hurt.

During all the years of operation, there was only one casualty. Norman Boyd, who used to visit Long Island Beach all the time with his parents, dove into the river from the bank under the bridge. He dove right onto a tree and a branch went right through him. Orville was not sure who pulled him out. (See note at end of story).

Orville, Jake Schneider, and Lowell Vogel went into the service in 1941. Edward Pope rented out their wagon/cottages so it would not be empty for 4 years while the boys were away at war.When Orville and Jake came back from the war, Edward Pope let them stay in the apartment above the concession stand. It had 2 rooms, furnished, with awesome antique furniture. They had the run of the place. Long Island Beach had started to decline after the war. The Pope brothers were ready to get out of the business, because they worked every weekend.Long Island Beach got its name, because there was an island that separated the river. The Pope’s built a swinging bridge to allow easy access to the island.
The Boy Scouts camp was on the Island. They built a building on the island. The swinging bridge was a major attraction for everyone.

The Pope boys wanted to keep Long Island Beach clean. On Mondays, Edward, Arthur, and Jennings would drive a team of mules with a wagon on the back to clean up the trash from the weekend. They kept the place very clean. There was rarely any trouble.On Sunday’s, there were thousands of people. The river was swarming with people. There were picnic tables. They often ate their breakfast by the light of their car headlights. People brought picnic baskets or bought food from the concession stand. Dolores, Millie and Edith Pope ran the concession stand. Edward and Millie’s daughter, Betty Pope, sold ice cream, candy, popcorn, hot dogs, chili, chips and soda. They made ice-cream floats. It was a full concession stand.After swimming and playing all day, many people stayed for the evening for dancing and music. They brought clothes to change into and things to take a shower. If you got your shower early, the shower water would be warm. The water was pumped directly from underground. It got really cold later in the day.

The showers were on a platform. They were gravity fed. Cold water only which came straight out of the ground. It would be 56 degrees. There was a chain from the head of the shower connected to the platform. When you stepped on the platform, the chain pulled and the shower started. Modern technology!The restrooms were like modern port-o-lets. The first ones were under the bridge, and were like outhouses. The contents went into a barrel and were cleaned out regularly. The next ones were like modern port-o-lets.Every Saturday and Sunday night, there was an orchestra. Ray, Ray Jr. and Nita Junglas played. Everyone danced. A saxophone player, Jimmy Williams, from Cleves also sometimes joined in.

The men wore white shirts and ties. The women wore dresses and heels.Lowell Vogel once asked an older woman to dance and then asked her for a date. He did not realize she was another girl’s mother and was married!Long Island Beach closed up for good in 1945. When the war ended, and all the pony kegs opened up, too much beer and booze was being brought in. The Pope boys did not like this, so they closed it for good.Many a romance blossomed at Long Island Beach. The most memorable for us was Orville and Betty Gibbs. One day in the summer of 1937, Orville, age 17 and along-time lifeguard at Long Island Beach, asked Betty for a date. Betty helped out at the concession stand and always made sure that the handsomelifeguards were well taken care of. Betty told him he would have to ask her Mom,Millie Pope, Edward’s wife. He did, and she said “Do you know how old she is?” “No”, Orville said. “She’s only 12!” Orville said “Huh?” He said she looked much older. But, he dated her anyway. Their first date was to a movie in Cleves with a group of their friends. After the movie, they went across the street to the drug store and bought a soda. They had their wedding reception at the dance hall at Long Island Beach on May 17, 1947.

The Pope boys operated Long Island Beach until 1941. Different types of customers were beginning to come to Long Island Beach during and after the war. Long Island Beach was leased to Elmer Heyob, who put in slot machines and marble games, which the Pope brothers did not like, because they wanted to keep it a family place. Albert “Cap” Pope, son of Edward, operated Long Island Beach for a short time after that, before finally closing it around 1945.

Notes from Sharon Pope-Lutz:1. Tribute must be made to Norman P. Boyd, the only casualty of Long Island Beach. This is an excerpt from his obituary dated Monday, August 15, 1938. False Cry of Distress Brings Death to Guard. Norman P. Boyd, 21, of Covington, Succumbs to Injuries When Diving Into River; A girl’s false cry for help, which caused Norman P. Boyd, 21, of 606 Sandford Street, Covington, to dive into Whitewater River near Elizabethtown, O., three weeks ago and injure his lung, proved fatal Sunday. Employed as a part-time lifeguard at Long Island Beach, Boyd struck a sharply pointed rock or tree limb when he dived into the water. He suffered a punctured left lung, heart injury and chest cuts. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Boyd, resided at a summer camp near the resort. Boyd was employed by the Michaels Art Bronze Co., Covington, and was a former student of Holmes High School. Another lifeguard claimed that an unidentified girl screamed for help, but was only pretending to be in distress.

2. The memory of the final closing date varies among family members. There were so many different various activities such as the swimming, dances, bingo and ball-fields that one-by-one the activities would gradually end. As a child growing up in the 70’s,I can recall the seven wagon camps still being rented out by long-time renters up thru the mid-70’s!

At about this time is when my father, Edwin Pope opened up “The Golf Range”. It had a miniature golf course also. This flourished until the road was closed to thru traffic for a replacement of the steel trestle bridge to the present day bridge.For the first time in sixty years the land became void with the festivities of patrons. It was put back into the production of crops for the next fourteen years by my eldest brother Rick Pope.In 1997 my husband David Lutz and I began to prepare the property for a new golf driving range and miniature golf. Green Acres opened the spring of 1998. Soon afterwards the canoe rental was added, returning to enjoyment on the river. Kayaks and tubes were quickly added.Green Acres has become the modern day Long Island Beach!