Animals Go, Rides Gone
Demolition Speeds Up

Resort executive has become superintendent of destruction
Buffalo Courier-Express November 16, 1930

Where once the cry of the husky barker was told in the land, now only the plaintive moaning of the mist-hung foghorn sounds. For Erie Beach is no more.

The rickety little railroad which once transported jostling throngs of merrymakers to the grove at Erie Beach has ceased its tireless journeyings. The rails are torn up, the railway likes in a listless procession, like tired soldiers, who have lain down to rest, on the line of march.

The little green coaches, bereft of their wheels, sit high on the stacks of ties, waiting -- waiting -- for the pert little whistle which never again will toot.

Odd Uses for Cars

Odd fates await these coaches. Some have been bought to be converted into playhouses for jolly bands of youngsters. Some will go as henhouses to provide shelter for dignified hens, with broods of yellow fluff, and proud papas of the fowlyard. But the little coaches will never wear wheels any more. Their roving days are over.

Desolation has descended upon the park. Autumn, with the falling leaf, the graying grass, the odors of damp, and of burning rubbish, would have painted the picture of desolation, but the knowledge that these are the last glimpses of the playground of many multitudes, adds a touch of melancholy.

No laughing crowds jostle gayly up and down the midway, in this chill and frost-nipped air. A crew of eight wreckers, under the direction of the superintendent of destruction, goes about its business.

George S. Mann, long the superintendent of the park, in gayer days, now directs his men in the work of demolition.

The peacocks, who stretched the gorgeous fans of their tails proudly before admiring visitors, the pheasants, and the crane of raucous cry, and the wild pig, too, have come to Buffalo to live out the rest of their lives in our Zoo.

The timber wolves, gray and menacing, go back to their own North country. And in that may lie a hint of tragedy, for in that native North country a bounty of $15 a hide is payable on timber wolves.

Two bears, a huge one, and a little fellow still inhabit the enclosure which once was the beach zoo. One bear soon will go to Grand Island. The destination, if any, of the other lies in doubt.

Nobody knows what will happen to the wildcat! The wildcat is still at large! But the wildcat, many a youngster will recall, was not an animal at all - but a breath-taking, hair raising ride. The hazardous structure still stands. Eventually it is likely to be torn down completely, and the lumber of its structure used for building purposes, for houses or garages in the new settlement which will grow up where Erie Beach Park falls.

Houses, homes, will stand where the hot dog late sent forth aroma, where the Japanese ring game rung up the nickles, where the fun house sent the merry children into gales of mirth, and the merry-go-round ground out its nasal tune.

Hotel to Be Clubhouse

The hotel will remain, but it will be a clubhouse for the members of the new community. The bathing pool is not to be abolished; but it, too, will be community-owned. The gorgeous giant oak trees under which tired men rested while their irrepressible families dragged mother from concession to concession, those noble, spreading oaks will stand. They will never be cut down. They will belong to the park surrounding the clubhouse and the pool.

The trees, shrubs and plants remain. Old sidewalks and new cut the park up into neat town blocks.

The stadium is gone.Within that enclosure some of the most famous persons in the entertainment world have given performances. All the stars of the Olympic games appeared there. High divers showed their skill and courage. The chap who invented the idea of being shot out of a cannon brought his apparatus to the stadium and thrilled the crowds. Robinsons' World Famous Elephants performed there. Diving horses from Atlantic City held audiences breathless.

Creatore and his band played there only last August. And 55,000 persons are known to have visited the park in a single day.

For almost half a century the grove has been Mecca to pleasure seekers. To be sure, until some twenty years ago it was no high-powered amusement park. It was a picnic grove, with a merry-go-round and a contraption called a Figure-Eight. But a more demanding generation required more amusement. The grove of gorgeous trees, the quiet lap of water on sand, did not fill the requirements of a pleasure-hungry crowd. The steam piano, the rumble of mechanical pleasure makers, and the cry of pleasure salesmen sometimes drowned out the sigh of the wind in the trees. But the place remained - restful, peaceful, beautiful.

Some Equipment Going Elsewhere

The boardwalk will not be disturbed. The waves will ripple or rush into the rugged shore line, but the walkers on the promenade will be the land owners of the community property. The pool will be used as a rink by that same community in the winter weather. And the casino will still provide dancing, breeze-cooled, in the summer nights.

Some of the equipment of the amusement concessions will be met again next summer, in Crystal Beach. Some, particularly the children's concessions, miniature merry-go-round, fairy swings, and the like, will go all the way to Ohio, toa park. The Dodgem goes to London, Ont.

The restaurant and the coffee shop, as well as a few other more sturdily built buildings have been bought to be converted into dwelling houses in the new town. But whether sold or moved, or demolished and carried off as worthless, all the buildings except the hotel and casino must go, and to Mr. Mann falls the somewhat mournful task of destruction of the park he loved.

He and his army of eight move upon the settlement. The citadel must fall. And all the while, old Baah Oomph, the foghorn, mourns the autumn fog.

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