Ontario Beach Park – #26

In April 1911 the Park announced that they had joined an amusement park circuit controlled by J. W. Gorman of Boston. This would make it easier to get circus acts and those acts would tour around to various parks in the northeast. In previous years the Park management had to go to New York City to book their own acts.

On April 30th the weather was so warm that many people came to the beach to fish. The gates to the Park had not yet been opened for the season but people could see that employees were getting things ready for the 1911 season.

The Park was partially open on Sunday, May 14th. The Virginia Reel was busy. Hundreds were at the dancing pavilion. People got to see two new things. The first was a colonnade (see drawing in second ad). It was just the boardwalk with arches over the top with electric lights for night time. Then there is the Jumble-Joo that was placed in the Auditorium. It was described as having a “cyclone cellar,” a “subterranean elevator,” a mirror hall, a throne room of King Jumble and many other features.

The full page ad, above, tells what amusements are in the Park although they are in very small font size. There is the Jumble-Joo, Temple of Palmistry, Japanese Gardens and Bazaar, Dancing Pavilion, German Village. Foolish House, Penny-Peek Hall (probably Kinetoscope movies that run inside a machine), picnic grounds and pavilions, “Rest-a-bit Land,” Photo Play Theater (movie theater), Roll-a-Ball (like Skee-Ball), circle promenade, Scenic Railway, Virginia Reel, Canals of Venice, Flying Airships, Roller Coaster, carousel, “The Waves,” toboggan slide, shooting gallery, Dairy Kitchen and photo gallery. Notice also that you could get a chicken or fish dinner at the Hotel Ontario for 75 cents, including admission to the Park.

On May 26th Lorenzo Hall took the Park to the Monroe County Court. He said on July 10, 1910 he broke two ribs and had other injuries on the Virginia Reel. He sued for $10,000. In their defense, the Park management brought a sign that was on the ride that said “Sit down and hold to outside rail while car is in motion.” Mr. Hall lost his lawsuit.

Beginning June 12th one of the acts was high diver Harry Six who had been at the Park the previous year. He dove from a 90 foot tower into 3½ feet of water. After his engagement, he had a troupe of five ladies follow up doing similar high dives. In late July, two of the ladies in the troupe were hurt in an automobile accident on Latta Road. They and their male companions were all thrown out of a car. Miss Minerva Hartman had a bad sprained left ankle, ligaments of the leg torn, and bruises on other parts of her body. Miss Laura Dollard had a laceration on her face that required 10 stitches and she had a fractured skull over her left eye. It seems that riding in an auto was more dangerous than doing high dives.

Many local groups had outings in the Park over the summer. At the annual picnic of Concordia German Lutheran Church on July 25th, they had between 2300 and 3000 people. They brought with them 400 pounds of ham, 250 loaves of bread, 50 pounds of coffee, 125 cakes, 10 gallons of orangeade, and 2 gallons of mustard. That made 6,000 sandwiches for their members and their families.