Thursday, August 30, 2007

Half-way there

Well, maybe not half way but there is a lot of progress on the Friendship Trail. This 10-foot wide section of cement was poured Tuesday along the stretch of the old promenade which passed the dance hall.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Down at the dance hall

A friend of the family has some old video, circa 1960, of their time living in the Waverly Beach area. This short section shows the dance hall, long after it had closed but while it was still standing.

For those who have never seen it before, this is what your parents are talking about. For those who remember it, enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wild ride at Erie Beach

It's hard to believe now, but Fort Erie once boasted one of the most popular amusement parks in Canada.

Until it suddenly closed near the beginning of the Great Depression, Erie Beach Amusement Park was the top attraction in Niagara outside of the Falls.

But that was a much different time. Long before air conditioning and television, or even a family car, summer escapes to shoreline resorts were the highlight of summer for many people.

With its beautiful picnic groves, luxury hotel, expansive midway, giant outdoor pool and a three-storey structure which housed a dance hall and bowling alley, Erie Beach was a wildly popular destination for families from Buffalo and beyond.

"Everybody used to come from all over to go there because it was the best around," said Mavis Burger (nee Colman).

"Crystal Beach didn't have anything to compare."


source: Fort Erie Post/Niagara This Week

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Friendship Trail work

Brought my video camera down to the old park yesterday to show the progress of the trail being constructed along the path of the old promenade (wish I would have captured video of the site earlier this year ... or many years ago). The first scene shows the Bardol Road end of the promenade, where a lookout point is being installed at the very west end of the trail before it turns up toward the end of Lakeshore Road. The second part of the clip shows the Waverly Beach end and the foundation of the boardwalk laid down so far. (Notice the decaying motor boat pier, or baby pier, and giant swimming pool in the background).

The trail, with three lookout points in total, should be complete in October.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Residents happy trail work underway

FORT ERIE -- Construction on the final section of the Friendship Trail, following the century-old promenade left over from the days of the Erie Beach Amusement Park, is getting thumbs up from area residents, Niagara This Week writes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Amazing Wildcat video

Have never seen this before. No idea any footage from Erie Beach Amusement Park existed, let alone a ride on the Wildcat. Amazing.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Work began this week on the cleanup of the promenade in preparation for the section of the Friendship Trail which will soon pass through the old park at Erie Beach. The facelift should be complete in early October.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The world's largest outdoor dance floor

At one time, Erie Beach Park had what was billed as the largest outdoor dance floor in the world. The giant concrete pad, located beside the wading pool on the east side of the dance hall/casino, featured a large bandshell along the water and, according to some books on the park, was the area where movies were shown on a large screen toward the end of the park's life.

Below is a look back today across the concrete pad from the south east corner (dance hall rubble is located in the upper left).

Friday, August 3, 2007

The sands of time

Sand piles up along the edge of the old promenade near the former dance hall site. The area will look different in a couple of months as the old concrete walkway is being transformed as part of work to create the final section of the Town of Fort Erie's Friendship Trail. No doubt the last of the remaining concrete posts will be removed in the process and some of the other debris in the area will be cleared out.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Who was Pete?

Noticed this -- a small pile of stones, much like a grave marker, with R.I.P. Pete sprayed on a flat surface -- on my last trip down to the promenade. Like the big dark rock, it may have been there for years but I had not noticed, or it did not catch my eye.

Across from the memorial, on a small piece of retaining wall left over from the promenade, the words "And he's buying a SWTH (stairway to heaven)" are sprayed in the same black paint.