Ontario Beach Park – #19

As mentioned in the last chapter on the Park, it was auctioned off March 5, 1906 on the Monroe County Court House for debts owed on bonds. The new name for the Corporation that now owned the Park was “The Ontario Beach Hotel and Amusement Company.”

From Local History Division, Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County

In May they started announcing improvements that were being made for the year. Some were minor like repairing a fountain and adding drinking fountains. They did repair the bathhouse. In 1905 the Auditorium hosted dancing. In 1906 it was changed over to a roller skating rink under the management of Casino Rink Co. who operated rinks in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The newspaper article mentioning the opening on May 19th says that they have 500 pairs of skates. They built a new dancing pavilion, 200 x 100 feet at a cost of $30,000. They also opened the Ontario Beachoscope which was a movie theater.

There had been an Old Mill ride planned in 1905 but it appears that it didn’t get built until 1906. It was building in which there were small boats that “sailed” around an old water wheel. It lasted for many years but did later did change the name of the ride.

There was another new roller coaster besides the Scenic Railway which was also a roller coaster. This one was smaller and the only picture is the postcard to the right that shows the entrance (blue-gray roof).

Entertainment for the week of June 4th was Miller’s herd of trained elephants, who bathed twice a day in Lake Ontario. Other vaudeville acts for the season were Jackson family of 8 bicycle riders; George and Harrington, comedy horizontal bar act; Japanese top spinners & jugglers and Dewar’s, trained cats and dogs.

There was a small want ad in the Democrat & Chronicle of July 30th that the park wanted fifty girls for Marti Gras and carnival in August. The girls that the Park hired for Marti Gras danced in masks in a parade. At the end of the parade they would then have a giant confetti battle.

The featured act was to be a Russian giant. When that fell through, they went in the other direction and got “Chiquita” the smallest woman in the world. Her real name was Espiridiona Cenda and she was from the Tumsari Valley, Cuba. At that time she was 36 years old, 26 inches tall and weighed 26 pounds. She sang songs in Spanish.

Other acts during Marti Gras were an Oriental show with eight girl dancers, an animal show, natives from the Philippines, Madame Caro the leopard trainer and a minstrel show (see ad from D&C, Aug. 19th, below). The Marti Gras was so successful that it was extended for a second week.

Just before the the Park closed for the season there was a tragedy. Leonard, who did one of those acts were a bicycle goes around a loop and jumps a gap at the top of the loop (see picture on part #16). Three  boards broke and he crashed on to the platform. He struck his face and shoulders. No bones were broken but he was unconscious when picked up.