In early 1929 Lake Avenue from Stutson Street to Beach Avenue was closed to be widened and paved. So when the temperature hit 92 degrees on May 30th, people had to drive down Dewey Avenue to get to the beach. The water of the lake was too cold for bathing but estimates were that 35,000 made the trip. On the 4th of July the City partially opened Lake Avenue for traffic even though it wasn’t completely finished. Lake Ave. was completely opened in early August and it was now 34 feet wide.
An estimated total of people using Ontario Beach Park in the summer of 1929 was 127,532.
Summer of 1929 there was talk of the City buying the former blast furnace property that was south of Beach Avenue. The owner was William Bausch and he was selling it for $225,000. The City wanted the property for a new shipping terminal and a parking lot. That sale was completed by January 1930 and by April they started building the shipping terminal building.
Ever since the City has owned the Park they have wanted to build a new bath house. They were still using old cottages as bath houses on the west side of the Park. Finally in 1930 the City has architect Charles A. Carpenter draw up plans for a new bath house. As the great depression has begun, the Central Trades and Labor Council urges the City to go forward to provide jobs for their members.
The need for the new bath house is shown on July 30th 1930 when an estimated 70,000 people were at the beach. It was said to be the largest crowd ever. All 2,852 lockers were rented out by 2 p.m. For the 1930 season 146,000 rented lockers. Dance hall attendance for the summer was 143,200.
In March 1931 a radio beacon is being built by the US government. It will send out a beacon every hour during good weather and a continuous beacon during fog. The signal will be picked up on radio-compasses on ships on the lake. It will tell the ships their location on the lake.
The cornerstone for the new bath house was laid Saturday afternoon, April 11th. A copper box was placed in the cornerstone containing City Council proceedings, a lock from the old bath houses, Saturday’s newspapers (D&C and T-U) and a roster of all present at the ceremony. A newspaper picture shows the building is already part constructed.
The new bath house will have 7,500 lockers and some changing rooms that will be 3 x 4 feet that will cost extra money to rent. The building will be 428 x 130 feet. Men’s wing on one side and women’s on the other. Each section is 174 x 130 feet. The proposed cost was to be $226,000, which was about $100,000 under original estimate.
Seeing as the new bath house was on the same spot as the old bath houses, people had to use tents to change their clothing in the early part of the 1931 season. The bath house opened for the first time on July 4th. On that day 7,000 children were given free lockers and 5,000 adults paid to rent lockers.
The formal dedication of the bath house was to take place on Sept. 2nd but got postponed because of heavy rain. The dedication ended up taking place on the 5th and followed by a band concert. Then it closed for the 1931 season on Sept. 21st.
Next: A few more pictures from 1931.