Ontario Beach Park – #1

This is the first in a series about Ontario Beach Park. At one time it had an amusement park but today only the carousel remains from that time. This will primarily be about amusements and other entertainment that have been in the park over its long history. Some of the information has been published previously and some may be new.  First though, is some early history.

Charlotte lighthouse – built 1822

In the early days the port in the Town of Greece, known as Charlotte, had been a fairly busy with ships that sailed on Lake Ontario. The US government built the old Charlotte lighthouse in 1822. It still sits a long way from the beach on a hill. The reason that it was so far from from the beach was that where the current Port of Rochester building and marina are now was originally marsh land. About 1829 the US government  built the first pier at the mouth of the Genesee River. That made the marsh start to fill in. Some sources say that the marsh may have been filled in with soil from other locations. The old lighthouse was used until the early 1880s when a lighthouse was built at the end of the Charlotte pier.

The reason that the port at Charlotte wasn’t busier was that there are three waterfalls on the Genesse River between Charlotte and downtown Rochester. That made it difficult to get trade goods from the port to Rochester.

A railroad between Rochester and Charlotte was completed in 1853. That helped the area to grow.

Iron works from postcard dated 1912

In 1868 the Rochester Iron Manufacturing Company built an iron blast furnace at a cost of $250,000. It sat where the new marina is. In 1879 the company had financial problems and was sold to another owner. In 1918, then called Quinnese Iron Milling Co., it was sold to a company from Cleveland. It probably closed just after that time. Evidence of the iron works would show up in 2013 when the City of Rochester was digging out the new marina. Workers would find a 100 ton hunk of slag. That is the dense waste material from creating iron from iron ore. See these two articles from the now dormant website, Rochester Subway for pictures.

In 1849 or 1854 (sources differ) Martin McIntyre opens a a small hotel, called the Beach House, on the beach approximately where the carousel now sits. This hotel was only one story, built primarily of driftwood, and sold fish dinners, rent boats and fishing gear.

In the mid 1860s Dr. Edward Mott Moore began putting up a summer tent on the beach. He was a surgeon  and professor at the University of Rochester. He also would later lead the push for public parks in Monroe County. Following Dr. Moore’s example, by 1872 there were as many as 15 families setting up tents on the beach during the summer months.

Next: In the 1870s multiple story hotels are built at Ontario Beach.


WDYTYA – Megan Mullally

Next to investigate her family on Who Do You Think You Are? is Megan Mullally. You know her from Will & Grace which aired from 1998 to 2006  and was revived in 2017. She was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series every year from 2000 to 2006. She won that award in 2000 and 2006. She also won Screen Actors Guild awards in 2003, 2004 and 2004.

Megan was born in Los Angeles because her father Carter Mullally, Jr. was a actor. After his career faded, he took the family to his native Oklahoma City where Megan grew up.

On WDYTYA Megan travels to Georgia where her great-grandmother, Elizabeth Venable, owned multiple sections of land. That land would be the source of family troubles.

Also Megan finds that her great great grandfather, Richard Mulalley, ended up serving a 6 month term in jail for a bad family situation. The reason he went to jail is a charge for which today he would serve a lot more time.

This episode of WDYTYA air Monday, May 28th, at 9 p.m. (eastern &western times).

Old News – War Shortage

As World War I in 1918 continues it has created shortages. One shortage is of oil used to keep the dust down on the State roads. Roads in cities and villages would have a much better chance of being paved but were still dirt outside of the populated areas. Concrete roads were much better but there was also a shortage of the cement needed to make concrete. Instead they would built new Macadam roads which are layers of crushed stone. There was a great need for new roads at the time. In 1907 there were only 67,389 autos built in the US. By 1917 the number of autos built had shot to 1,795,840.

The ad is for the season opening of Ontario Beach Park. Next week I will start a series on the history and amusements of the park.

The Honeoye Falls Times

Thursday, May 23, 1918

Road Building Impeded

On account of the scarcity of oil suitable for treatment of state roads it develops that the oiling of state highways in the seventh highway district, which includes Monroe county, must be curtailed. This is due to diversion of tank steamers used in the oil trade with Mexico, and to the action of the fuel administration in commandeering of oil by the government. The district, according to information, has received its last shipment from the Standard Oil Co. and no more will be available until after the war.

Another trouble facing the road builder is the shortage of cement, largely used in concrete work. In rebuilding the sections of state road 6, ruined by military motor trucks early this spring before the frost was out of the ground, it was planned originally to substitute concrete for macadam, but this was found impractical, and the plans have been changed to use macadam.