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Lakeside Heritage Trail
8. Lakefront Bandstand
Lakefront in Bettinger Park
Second Bandstand circa 1930
Steele Memorial Bandstand Today
The Steele Memorial Bandstand/Gazebo is the third structure of its kind to exist in Lakeside. The first bandstand, which dated back to 1881, was a simple wooden box, uncovered and elevated on stilts. The first bandstand, and the one that came after it, stood where the current Miniature Golf course is now.
The second bandstand was more sophisticated, as it included a roof, sat lower to the ground and had the round shape of a gazebo. From 1916-1962, this bandstand hosted a concert in the park at 3 p.m. every day. The concerts ended in 1963 when the bandstand was taken down to make way for construction of the Miniature Golf course. From 1963-1979, there was no bandstand.
Music returned to Central Park in 1979 when the Steele Memorial Bandstand was constructed in memory of Fritz and Karlyn Steele. Fred “Fritz” Steele III, a third generation Lakesider, and his wife Karlyn had tragically died the previous year in a car accident. Special care was taken to ensure the memorial would be fitting and personal. The gift of the bandstand honored their love for music, and to provide the intimate touch, the family commissioned their friend and renowned architect, Orville Bauer, to design it.
In 1980, the bandstand began use for daily Vespers, and beginning in 1981, events expanded to include Sunday concerts, much like we have today.
During the Covid pandemic, Lakeside’s indoor programming was suspended at Hoover Auditorium and weekly entertainment was shifted to the bandstand, proving once more its enduring importance as a multipurpose outdoor venue. Lakesiders young and old have come to enjoy a variety of entertainers there, pulling up their golf carts, dancing between the benches and greeting friends and neighbors for an evening of music along the lake.
As a welcome spot on Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile, the Steele Memorial Bandstand/Gazebo is the setting for worship events, weddings, lectures, author visits and nature programs. Many Lakesiders choose the bandstand as the focus of their paintings, a shady spot for family reunions or a stage for a marriage proposal as well.