Ontario Beach Park – #11

Ontario Beach Park didn’t open for the season until June 15th. The first week had Carlisle’s Wild West Show as entertainment. That Show was run by Prof. R. C. Carlisle who also billed himself as “Wichita Jack.” The Democrat & Chronicle of June 16th said the show “consisted of trick riding by three or four men wearing typical cowboy costume, and trick rifle shooting by a woman wearing a dazzling red satin skirt.” A few weeks later there was a group of Indians at the park. They showed off their culture including playing some of their traditional games.

A major addition to the park is a boardwalk. It ran from present Lake Ave. to the pier (see the postcard view). It was close to the beach and complimented a concrete walkway close to the Hotel Ontario.

The park closed down most of the gambling games. Gone were the fish pond, numbered plates and balls, roulette wheel, and shell game.

In mid July 1899 Sheriff Schroth stopped baseball from being played on Sunday at the Park as it was illegal to play sporting games on Sunday. That situation must have been fixed as in 1900 the Rochester baseball team of the Eastern league played most Sundays at the Park.

Ad from July 15, 1900 (colorized).

For the 1900 season, F. E. Harris leased the Stutson pavilion and bowling alley. He had former run the fish pond (gambling game). The former Excursion hotel has been leased by Moore & Bronson and named the Rialto hotel. The former Rialto burned down about a year before.

New was the “Palace of Illusions” which was erected east of the auditorium, and an enlarged pony track in front of the bath houses. Also new is a “Street of all Nations” featuring a Japanese tea garden that is next to the Hotel Ontario. Tea was served by Japanese ladies and also had an oriental orchestra. Then there is also a Hindu theater,

One of the acts appearing at the beach was  Prof. Steven T. Allen (see ad). He did a balloon ascension and parachute jump. The local newspaper said that his father and uncle had done this before him. So he is either the son or nephew of George F. Allen (AKA Prof. Nella) who did the same act in 1890 and 1891 (see part 6 and part 7).

Other acts in summer 1900 were The Great Bicketts (in ad) who were aerialist that were paid $1,000 per week, some jugglers, and Davenport, the high wire king. Conterno’s Famous Miltary Band played two shows daily for the whole summer.

On Aug. 28, 1900 Thomas Barrett was killed by falling off the top of the Russian Toboggan. He was only aged 14 years. There was a 3 foot railings that he feel over. In June 1901 his father was granted $2,000 in a lawsuit for the death.

For the first time in the newspapers of 1900 there are ads for automobiles. Autos would effect the Park years later.

NEXT: The largest ride comes to the beach.