A Lakeside Resort
Where Families Came to Play
Once a prime recreation destination, Olcott Beach drew thousands annually. Trains brought summer vacationers from inland cities. Steamers ferried them between other lake ports. They stayed at grand hotels, played at amusement parks, and spent time swimming and enjoying the sandy beach.
This amusement park, built by the International Railway Company, features the "Figure 8", a large wooden roller coaster, a carousel and other family activities.
An outdoor theater presented shows of the day against a Lake Ontario backdrop.
Visitors found games, food, rides and souvenirs at this hotel side amusement area.
The "Chicora" steamed into Olcott Beach loaded with visitors from American and Canadian lake ports.
1937: Olcott Beach Hotel demolished. During the Great Depression, people were no longer staying overnight, and the Hotel could not afford to repair damage caused by settlement of the foundation. Buses replaced the trolleys as the main form of transportation.
1930s: Top bands of the Great Band Era played at Olcott Beach, including Paul Whiteman, Guy Lombardo, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong, Artie Sahw and Cab Calloway.
1927: The "Black Fire" destroyed a significant portion of Olcott bewtween Lockport Street and Eighteenmile Creek.
1907: Weeks Hotel wrecked by Carrie Nation.
1902: Olcott Beach Hotel opens. Visitors stayed at the palatial Olcott Beach Hotel with its 14,000 sq. ft. ballroom, dining room and large veranda overlooking the lake, and over 100 guest rooms.
1890s: Rustic Theater featured singers and jugglers. The Pioneer Association that built the Log Cabin hosted a pioneer picnic every third Wednesday in August. Theodore Rossevelt (then NY State Governor) spoke to a crowd of 20,000 here in 1899.
1889: First Carousel installed at Olcott Beach was called "The Electric Riding Gallery."
At one time there were 8 hotels in Olcott Beach. They were the Eagle Hotel, Cottage Hotel, Albright hotel, International Hotel, Rockwell Hotel, Harborview Hotel, The Bradley Hotel and the Olcott Beach Hotel (which was the largest).
The Castle Inn, which burned in 1912, was primarily a restaurant, but also had rooms for rent. The Bradley Hotel housed the workers who helped build the Olcott Beach Hotel. It is now known as the Olcott Inn, and is still located on Main Street.
Maritime Heritage. The Seaway Trail lakefront was a magnet for amusement parks in the early 20th century. Seaway Trail, Inc. Corner Ray & West Main St., Sackets Harbor, NY 13685. 1-800-SEAWAY-T. This exhibit made possible by a grant from FHWA to Seaway Trail, Inc., and with the cooperation of the Niagara County Department of Planning, Development & Tourism.