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Speaker Will Recount History of Crystal Beach

Crystal Beach Amusement Park entertained visitors for 101 years.
The Midway at Crystal Beach Park.
The roller coaster at Crystal

Author, and Niagara Falls resident, Rose Ann Hirsch will speak at the Membership Dinner meeting of the Niagara Frontier Chapter, New York State Women on Tuesday, September 24. Her topic will be the former Crystal Beach Amusement Park.

Hirsch has written a self published book, Crystal Memories: 101 Years of Fun at Crystal Beach Park that was published in 2004 and, in 2010, she wrote Western New York Amusement Parks (Arcadia Publishing).

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at Pane's Restaurant, 984 Payne Avenue in North Tonawanda. Dinner is $19. You do not have to be a member to attend. Gentlemen are welcome.

Crystal Beach, a community within the city of Fort Erie, Ontario, lies on the northeast shore of Lake Erie, across from Buffalo, and an amusement park - one of the first in the USA - operated there from 1888 until 1989.

It was perhaps best known for its amusement rides, especially its roller coasters, the "Cyclone," built in 1926 and considered one of the most vicious coasters ever built, and the Comet (1948), as well as a Ferris wheel, Penny Arcade, Roller Rink, carousel merry-go- round, Laff in the Dark ride, aerial swings and concessionaires that sold candy, caramel corn, peanuts, popcorn, ice cream cone, red hot stands, soft drinks, souvenirs, waffles and suckers, that attracted as many as 20,000 people per day between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

There was also a pier, a ferry service to the park that lasted until 1956, a dance pavilion, and most people in the area who were children before the 1990's visited the park one time or another.

Artie Shaw, the Dorsey Brothers, Gene Krupa, Glen Miller, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, Les Brown, and Woodie Herman played there.

In 1980 some 500,000 people visited the park during the summer, but within a few years the era of the old time amusement park was in steep decline.

Shortly after celebrating its centennial, Crystal Beach's owners announced their intentions to close the park at the end of the 1989 season.

The land is now a gated residential community.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

SEP 10, 2013