Ontario Beach Park – #43

In 1932 the lighthouse at the end of the Charlotte pier was dismantled. In its place was a steel skeleton tower 50 feet tall with a 12 x 12 foot room and observation tower. There still is a lighthouse keeper that lives in the building next to the old stone lighthouse but he no longer has to walk down to the end of the pier to turn on the foghorn or light.

The number of people heading to Lake Ontario has always varied with changes in the weather. On July 17, 1932 it was hot and there was an estimated 75,000 people that went to swim or just to cool off at the beach. That was a new record. It was broken the next year on June 11th when the crowd estimate was 80,000. People arrived at the beach that day before the bath house opened and placed towels on the windows of their cars and changed in the cars.

Maybe one of the reason that so many people went to the beach was that the US was in the grip of the great depression. To relieve the depression, the federal government set up many organizations as work relief. In Nov. 1933 one of those groups was the Civil Works Administration (CWA) that would end up making a lot of changes to Ontario Beach Park. Just a month after CWA was set up, a group was dismantling the old Auditorium (later the dance hall). It is hard to see in the picture but the old Auditorium is left of center in the trees. It is a postcard view and is about the last image of the Auditorium.

In the winter of 1933-4 CWA workers were employed to keep the ice rink at the Park clean and in good condition. As the weather got better they also remodeled the building that was originally called the Casino and had been used as a cafeteria into the new dance hall. The kitchen equipment in that building was sent to Edgerton Park. The carousel building had the tower removed, was painted and horses and other animals were covered with a coat of varnish. Three picnic pavilions were built and they started building a new bandstand costing $15,000. That was a lot of improvements made in a very short time.

This will be the last installment of this series for a while. It may be spring before it is continued. If you want to see past installments, here are links to all the parts:

  1. The early days.
  2. Two hotels built in the 1870s.
  3. Railroad buys beach land and Hotel Ontario built.
  4. 1885 first rides appear.
  5. 1886 – 1888 Seasons.
  6. 1889 & 1890 Seasons.
  7. 1891 – 1893 Seasons.
  8. 1894 – 1895 Seasons. The Auditorium is built.
  9. 1896 Season. New toboggan & Ferris wheel.
  10. 1897 – 1898 Seasons.
  11. 1899 – 1900 Seasons.
  12. 1901 – Scenic Railroad added.
  13. 1902 Season and map.
  14. 1902 attractions.
  15. 1903 Season.
  16. 1904 Season.
  17. New rides in 1905.
  18. 1905 Season.
  19. 1906 Season and new ownership.
  20. 1907 new attractions.
  21. 1907 vaudeville acts and other amusements.
  22. 1908 Season.
  23. Aerial map with annotations.
  24. 1909 Season.
  25. 1910 Season.
  26. 1911 Season.
  27. 1912 Season.
  28. 1913 Season.
  29. 1914 Season.
  30. 1915 Season.
  31. 1916 Season.
  32. 1917 Season.
  33. Pictures from 1916 and 1917.
  34. 1918 Season.
  35. Orphan’s Day.
  36. 1919 Season.
  37. Amusements removed in 1920.
  38. Legal troubles; 1920 – 1926.
  39. Changes; 1921 – 1924.
  40. Hotel Ontario torn down; Casino built.
  41. New bath house; 1931.
  42. More pictures from 1931.



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