Tuesday, July 31, 2007

That's where it went ...

With the low water levels at this end of Lake Erie, it's easy to spot some of the stuff which has been dumped into the drink over the years, such as these concrete posts from the promenade.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A ghost from the past?

A pleasure boat passes the old steamship pier as it heads out of Lake Erie and into the Niagara River. In the early part of the 20th century ships would dock at the end of the pier (the furthest portion of the broken-down cement structure is obscured behind the brush growing in the upper right) as they transported thousands of people each day to the Erie Beach Amusement Park.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Blink and you'll miss something

It's funny how the eye, or the brain, works. I've been down to the old park several times in recent months, photographing the area from every angle, looking for things I may have missed. Today, this boulder next to the promenade about halfway between the dance hall and the pier stands out like a sore thumb.

Have to look through photos from other recent trips and see if it is even there. Perhaps it is just a new face on an old rock, making it stand out.

Down at the old Erie Beach Amusement Park ruins, it's almost like Bits and Bites -- you get a different eyeful every time.

I don't think it's the one that Thomas writes about here, but exactly how does a big round boulder get to such a place?

Come to think of it, I remember another giant boulder near where we swam (wouldn't do that today) in the area west of the pier. Who moved that?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Remember the Pavilion?

This was a little (a lot) before my time. Does anyone remember the Pavilion?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Who was Shane?

Was away from Fort Erie for many years, so I don't know the significance of this memorial. Who was Shane (Red Dog) Hookey? Who is Laurie S.?

Also, the swing ride foundation is in the background, further to the east, so what ride were these pillars part of?

(update: according to Bob Byledbal's Erie Beach Revisited, the pillars supported a short bridge fro the promenade to the Slide Tower, a Dutch windmill-shaped structure, sans blades, which stood 35 feet high and had a slide winding around its girth)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Decades of destruction

The old pier which was used as a landing for steamships full of American visitors falls apart more each year, battered by the elements. The force of Mother Nature can be seen in the crumpled concrete and twisted re-bar rising from the remains.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


People drop things. Lots of things they drop are metallic. People love finding things. Lots of people have metal detectors.

There certainly is a lot to find in the area of the old fort and old amusement park. Musket balls, arrowheads, even bones. Have you found anything of special interest while combing the ruins with a metal detector? I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The way it was

A 1911 photo of the dance hall/casino, facing east.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

'Buffalo's Million Dollar Park'

This is what the park was supposed to look like, according to a 1910 map posted by Western New York Heritage Press. Some things certainly never happened, like the homes on Club Boulevard and the bathing beach in front of the dance hall.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Wild ride

In the latter years of the park, a Wildcat roller coaster was installed around where the lagoon is currently on the site, not far from Bardol Avenue. If you look closely at the photo above, available for purchase on eBay (nothing to do with me), you can see homes on Bardol as they appeared in the late 1920s.

If you click on the colour photo below you can see several photos of a Wildcat located at Hersheypark Amusement Park in Pennsylvania. There are also a number of videos of various Wild Cat coasters to give you an idea of what a ride on the giant wooden roller coaster would have been like (note that there appear to be various designs using the Wildcat name over the years).

There are still a few people around who rode the Erie Beach Wildcat -- if you are one of them please email me.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Crumblin' tumblin'

Can't vouch for it myself, but general consensus calls these concrete supports the remains of a Tumble Bug ride. Anyone know for sure? I'd appreciate any details.

The Flat Joint has a couple of photos of a Tumble Bug, and you can see one in action below:

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Low, low tide

With the low Lake Erie water levels of late it is not much of a challenge to reach the furthest section of the old steamship pier.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Trail to replace old promenade

Fort Erie council voted Monday to approve a $600,000 project through the old Erie Beach Amusement Park which completes the Frienship Trail through the town. Work on the trail section, which will follow the concrete promenade along the shoreline, is scheduled to begin Aug. 7. A 40-metre section of the trail will recreate the look of the old promenade, which ran from the concrete pier near Bardol Road in the west to Waverly Beach in the east.

Do you remember what the promenade was like before sections started turning back to stone and sand? Send me an email or post a comment below.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Walk on the shore

A young couple walk along the edge of what was once a huge outdoor dance floor and bandshell at Erie Beach Amusement Park. The large blocks along the water a part of the wall which ran the length of the south end of the area. The final section of Fort Erie's Friendship Trail will be constructed this year along the old promenade, part of which runs along the tree line in the background.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Step back in time

Looking east (and slightly north) from the front of old dance hall, with the electric fountain, now used as a firepit by partyers, visible in the background. Today the entire area is covered by trees and brush, though portions of the concrete paths remain.

Casino or dance hall?

If you grew up in Fort Erie, you probably called the old three-storey structure on the promenade the "old dance hall." But it was generally referred to as the "casino" back in the day. Which do you prefer? Send me an email or leave a comment below.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It ain't pretty

A brown algae-sludge of some sort lies on the surface of the still water west of the old pier.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Shh ... it's a secret

It's not hard to find the electric fountain or footings of the Tumblebug, but what have you stumbled upon deep in the woods? Send me an email or post your comment below. Would love to hear from you.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

End of the line

East of where the old dance hall stood, the promenade which ran from the pier has been battered by Father Time, Mother Nature and the destructive tendencies of man. This section is the last recognizable portion of the walkway as you walk east (notice the Buffalo skyline and pier in the background) before it drops off to a mix of concrete blocks, rocks and sand.

Anyone have memories of the old park?

Looking to hear from anyone who recalls the Erie Beach Amusement Park when it was still in operation, plus those who roamed the ruins after it closed. Send me an email, I'd love to hear from you.

Swingset Stonehenge

A fisheye view of the remains of the foundation that supported the swing ride platform.