Our Story

Crystal Beach began as a Chautauqua show area, or religious campground in 1888. For the campground at Crystal an auditorium, tents, and picnic grounds were provided. Entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to make money from this by having sideshow performances between sermons, and to offer refreshments. A group of investors got together in 1890 and formed The Crystal Beach Company, as it was dubbed by one of the partners because of the sand quality there.

The beach area was a major attraction because of a gentle slope that ran for some distance underwater with no drop-offs or undertow. The investors installed amusements, built a pier and started a ferry service to the park, which landed its first customers on July 16th of that year. To accommodate guests, investors built The Assembly House Hotel that was later renamed The "Royal". It lasted until 1923 when it burned down. The ferry company ran numerous ferries to meet the needs of passengers transported between Buffalo and Crystal Beach. The two most well known ferries were the Americana and the Canadian, which remained in service until 1956 when service was discontinued.

A dance hall was opened in the 1920’s supporting the big band era and at war's end the park boasted 20 rides, 16 games, 4 refreshment stands, a roller rink, ballroom, a funhouse, a penny arcade, a shooting gallery, ponies, bicycle/race track, a golf course (likely miniature golf), picnic facilities a 4000-seat grandstand overlooking a large athletic field. Later a funhouse, large steel roller coasters “the comet” and “wild mouse” and miniature railway would be added among other rides.

 

In 1976 a pay-one-price policy was also introduced as another incentive, so that patrons could either pay a $1 admission charge (which was the first time a grounds admission had ever been charged), and then buy ride tickets or purchase the $5.50 POP (Pay One Price ticket) that allowed unlimited rides all day long. 1980 saw attendance soar to 500,000, which supposedly was the best year ever for the park. Over time competition from neighboring parks began to have an impact on the amusement park.  A number of changes over the final nine years of operation to help revitalize the park occurred including re-introduction of ferry service between Buffalo and Crystal Beach. In September of 1989, the Crystal Beach Amusement Park closed its gates for the last time. The property was eventually sold and developed into a residential community known as the Crystal Beach Tennis and Yacht Club.

For a full story of the Crystal Beach Amusement Park and additional information see the complete article by Richard Bonner, author.
Videos

Trailer for "Remembering Crystal Beach Park" (a 2008 Production of WNED-TV appx 40 min. in length) (1:14)

  A little celebrity comes to Crystal Beach Park on August 3, 1984: Erin Moran, Heather Locklear, Andy Gibb and Michael Damian (0:29)

Additional Information

Crystal Beach Memories - Buffalo News: CLICK HERE
Memories of Crystal Beach on Pinterest: CLICK HERE
Crystal Beach Ontario on Wikipedia: CLICK HERE



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