Rochester Subway
Subscribe for Email UpdatesBecome a Facebook FanFollow Us on TwitterRSS Feed Rochester History + New Ideas. Fresh from the Rochester Subway.

Topics


Rochester Subway Gift Shop


¤ Visit the Gift Shop
¤ See Combo Deals & Offers


Modern Rochester Subway Map


Modern Rochester Subway Map

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Modern Rochester Subway Map


City of Rochester, New York

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Neighborhoods Map

Rochester Neighborhoods Map

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway Map, 1928


1928 Rochester Subway Map

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway DVD

The End of the Line - Rochester’s Subway (DVD)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Landmarks Poster

Rochester Landmarks Poster

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Work in Rochester

Work in Rochester

¤ View Details
¤ Buy from Amazon


Original Streetart by SPACEMAN

Original Streetart by SPACEMAN

¤ View All Spaceman Art


Old Rochester Photos<br>and Historical Views

Old Rochester Photos
and Historical Views

(Framed Reprints Available)

¤ View All Rochester Photos


Rochester Subway Cap

Embroidered Subway Cap

¤ View Details


Rochester Subway T-Shirt

Rochester Subway T-Shirt

¤ View Details


Rochester Subway Token T-Shirt

RTC Token T-Shirt

¤ View Details


Rochester RTC Token

RTC Token (1948)

¤ View Details

 | 

SOLD OUT


Roch. & Brighton Token

Roch. & Brighton Token
(1887-90)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Railway Co. Token

Rochester Railway Co. Token (1900-09)

¤ View Details

 | 

SOLD OUT


Rochester School Fare Token

School Fare Token (1948)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester NYS Railways Token

NYS Railways Token (1909-38)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway Poster + DVD Combo

Rochester Subway
Poster + DVD Combo

¤ 

Add To Cart

 (Save 10%)


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1941),
Rochester Rail Equipment

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1938),
Subway & Broad Street

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1942),
Rochester City Hall & Subway

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1912),
Rochester’s Four Corners

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1905),
Erie Canal Aqueduct

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1928),
South Entrance to Subway

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway + Trolley Transit Passes

Original Subway, Trolley,
and Bus Weekly Transit Passes

¤ View All Transit Passes





History of Seabreeze Amusement Park

Seabreeze Amusement Park. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]
About two months ago I attended a presentation by Matthew Caulfield on the history of Seabreeze Park external link. Caulfield started working at the park when he was a young twenty-something whippersnapper. At some point he got himself a “real job” at the Library of Congress. Now in his 80’s and retired, he’s back doing what he loves, as the park’s archivist. The following notes and images are just a snippet of his entire presentation which he has assembled over time with the help of his friend Alan Mueller…

Paul Moore's Figure 8 Coaster, 1903. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]
In the late 1800’s much of the land headlands between Lake Ontario and Irondequoit Bay was owned by the Rochester & Suburban Railway Co. (later Rochester Transit Corp.). The only way to get to the area at the time was by boat or rail, and Rochester & Suburban Railway Co. encouraged concessionaires to set up on their land. This created a destination, and of course more business for the transit company. The area was already a popular resort destination by 1903, filled with small amusements and “hotels” (a.k.a. pubs), when the first ride appeared – a Figure 8 Coaster operated by Paul Moore.

The first carousel brought to Seabreeze by George Long Sr., 1904. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]
In the 1890’s, the Long family moved their carousel-building business from England to America. Most of them settled in Philadelphia, but a few including Arthur Long, settled in Rochester. Arthur operated a carousel at Ontario Beach from 1892 to 1907. In 1904 Arthur wrote to his brother George about opportunities at Seabreeze.

George Long Jr. ran the park until 1973 when his children took over the business. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]George wasn’t having much luck operating his carousel in Norfolk, VA, so he packed it up, moved to Rochester, and opened up again at Seabreeze. His son, George Long Jr. (shown left) was just 12 at the time. Junior would later purchase the entire park in 1946 for $85,000 after renting it for a time from the trolley company. He renamed it Dreamland Park and closely managed every aspect of its operation until he retired in 1973. When his children took over the business they renamed it Seabreeze.

Other Fun Stuff…

Honeymoon Trail at Karnival Kourt. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]
Built in 1914, Karnival Kourt was a long promenade of games and rides. It burned down in 1932. One of the rides at Karnival Kourt was Honeymoon Trail. Matthew Caulfield says he has no idea what was in this ride, but he jokes, it always looked dark and trashy so he never went in it.

Boardwalk Park was picked up and moved from the north side of Culver Road to the south side. It shut down in the 1950's. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]
This was a section of the park called Boardwalk Park. Owned by Andrew Bornkessel, Boardwalk Park had to be picked up and moved from the north side of Culver Road (then Woodland Road) to the south side because of a land dispute with the Rochester Suburban Railway Co.

Boardwalk Park became a drive-in movie theater by the 1970's. The town never allowed the theater to open. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]
Boardwalk Park went out of business in the 1950’s and Bornkessel sold it to a man by the name of Lipsih and his partners who built a drive-in theater there. Unfortunately the theater did not win approval from the Town of Irondequoit and was never opened. Apparently people were afraid drivers would be distracted by the giant screen which was facing toward Culver Road. (Can you see the movie screen in the photo above?) The land was eventually purchased by Seabreeze for its water park and additional parking.

The Old Mill water ride, and the Jack Rabbit roller coaster. These two photos were taken at different times. Matthew Caulfield and Alan Mueller pieced the two photos together to discover the location of the Old Mill which was previously unknown. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park and Albert R. Stone]
I know you’ll recognize the Jack Rabbit roller coaster (above, right). But you’re probably not as familiar with the Old Mill (left). The Old Mill was a water ride – sort of an early version of what we’d refer to today as a log-flume.

Fire destroyed the Danceland dance hall, the Old Mill, and part of the Jack Rabbit in 1923. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]
In 1923 a disastrous fire destroyed the Old Mill along with the Jack Rabbit’s loading dock and lift.

After the fire, the Old Mill was rebuilt on the other side of the Jack Rabbit. In the 1940's the Old Mill was converted into a dry ride and renamed 'The Subway.' [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]
The Jack Rabbit was repaired and got a new loading dock. And the Old Mill was completely rebuilt (on the other side of the Jack Rabbit). But by the 1940’s the water ride was leaking so badly that the park turned it into a dry ride and renamed it “The Subway.”

Incidentally, the man who operated the Jack Rabbit, Jack Kirby, literally lived in a house with his wife underneath the roller coaster.

Roofers caused a fire that destroyed the Seabreeze carousel on March 31, 1994. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]
Over the years the park has been plagued by fire. One of the most heart-breaking was the fire that claimed the Seabreeze carousel on March 31, 1994. IMPORTANT: Do NOT try to tar your roof with a propane torch on a windy day.

The carousel that was lost was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1915 for George Long. Orginally placed in Seneca Park, he moved it to Seabreeze in 1926. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]
The carousel that was lost was PTC #36, built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1915 for George Long. George had originally placed the ride in Seneca Park external link, but in 1926 he decided to move it to Seabreeze – Seabreeze was making far more money than Seneca Park.

An aerial view of the Jack Rabbit and the Natatorium. Both still exist to this day. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]
Here’s a photo of two attractions that still exist to this day. One of course is the Jack Rabbit. And immediately above it in the photo is the Natatorium. Built at a cost of $300,000 in 1925, this was the world’s largest heated saltwater pool. It was the size of a football field!

The Natatorium was the largest heated saltwater pool in the world. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]
As you can see it’s pretty elaborate. It had water slides, a merry-go-round, a fountain, diving platform, and bleachers for spectators. Even a restaurant.

In 1931 the Natatorium was drained and shut down. A roof was added and it became a bingo hall. Today the building is used as a warehouse for the park. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]
So where is the Natatorium today? Well, due to the Great Depression, it wasn’t able to attract the number of patrons needed to pay for it’s operation. So in 1931 it was drained and shut down. A roof was added and it became a bingo hall. Today the building is used as a warehouse for the park.

Chunk of the pool wall from the old Natatorium. [PHOTO: Courtesy Seabreeze Amusement Park]
Caulfield tells me the pool tiles can still be found lining the interior walls of the warehouse. Here’s a chunk of the pool on display inside the new carousel house.

There’s much much more to Matthew Caulfield’s presentation. And if you ever have the opportunity to catch him speak at library near you, I’d highly recommend it. He’s full of great stories about Rochester’s favorite amusement park. Thanks Matthew!

• • •

Additional Seabreeze Historic Notes

via Matthew Caufield
[Revised 1-7-2013]

CONFUSIONS CAUSED BY DIFFERENT STRUCTURES WITH SIMILAR FUNCTIONS

Merry-Go-Rounds…

When the Longs came to Seabreeze in 1904 there were already two other M.G.R.s in the area besides the one they installed, in a building that G.W. Long, Sr., built at the south end of the park. One of the two, owned by a man named Brown, from Albion, was in the Grove from 1903 on Brown would follow fair dates and the settle the machine in the Grove for the summer. The other M.G.R. was the one on the lakefront and owned by Pauly Moore. Both were early Spillman track machines. The 1920 blueprint shows three M.G.R.’s: the Long machine, the Moore track machine, and one across Culver Road, south of the Moore machine in what was to become Boardwalk Park.

According to an article in the 8-7-1893 Union & Advertiser, Jacob Kohler and Henry Tussing, both of Tonawanda, N.Y., owned a M.G.R. and in the early spring of 1893 they moved the machine to Sea Breeze and set it up in Behler’s Grove.

They hired George Lawrence to help them run it, all three men living in a shanty near the Grove. The three men were musicians and they would play for the entertainment of the patrons of Link’s Pavilion.

In 1915 park owners wanted to build the Dreamland dance hall where the Long M.G.R. stood. So G.W.L.., Jr., built a new building on the site north of the trolley/bus loop. It was that building that burned in 1994.

Dance Halls…

The first dance hall was “Dreamland,” built in 1915 close to the where the Jack Rabbit loading platform would be put in 1920. It burned August 25, 1923 (from 11:25 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next day), the fire being fed by an underdraft caused by the fact that the dance hall was built over a ravine. That fire destroyed the Jack Rabbit loading platform, lift hill, and the original Old Mill to the east of the Jack Rabbit.

In 1924 a new dance hall, “Danceland,” was constructed, using the plans from the first, just south and west of the mend hill of the Jack Rabbit, north of the Dodgem. As its popularity waned, it was converted to a bingo hall. It burned the night of May 1-2, 1940, the alarm being turned in at 8:20 p.m. on May 1st. Two hose lines played water on the Jack Rabbit to keep it from burning.

Bingo Halls…

There were at least three bingo venues over the years. One was in the converted Danceland, after it was no longer used for dances. The Natatorium (constructed 1925, opened July 1, 1925, drained and closed May 24, 1931) was covered over and used as a bingo hall until World War 2. Later a bingo hall was set up in the building between the M.G.R. and the Penny Arcade that had been used as a roller skating rink.

Coasters…

Mention of Stahley’s roller coaster, 1892.

Figure Eight. Built 1903. It was removed in 1920 to make way for the Jack Rabbit. Paul Ruben incorrectly reports that G.W. Long tore it down in 1921 to make way for the Virginia Reel.

Dips. Built 1916 (verified by 1917 clipping, stating it was “completed late last summer”) by T.M. Harton. Name changed to Greyhound at end of 1926. Located east of M.G.R. Ghost Train complex. Station now used for Bumper Car ride. Suffered fire damage 1930. Badly damaged by the fire of 10-6-1933, according to newspaper accounts. Apparently not rebuilt.

Jack Rabbit. Built 1920 by Miller & Baker. New loading platform and lift hill, plus new Old Mill, built after the August 1923 Dreamland dance hall fire, which also destroyed Hilarity Hall (a hall of mirrors type fun house?).

Virginia Reel. Built 1921, in spot later occupied by Lightning Bug, Gyrosphere, Music Express, in succession. Partially destroyed by fire on October 5, 1930. Rebuilt as the Jack and Jill Scenic Coaster, a kiddie ride, which burned in 1931.

Wildcat. Built 1926, according to data on Internet, by Philadelphia Toboggan Co. (other date given in TEXTS file: 1921; in PICTURES file; 1924). Located immediately north of the Jack Rabbit, with part of it lying next to and east of the Jack Rabbit. Burned (“condemned” according to some accounts) in 1935.

Junior Coaster. Built on wooden tracks by G.W. Long in 1954. Rebuilt on tubular rails as Bobsleds in the winter of 1961 (not in 1968 as stated elsewhere). D&C article of June 10, 1962, shows Bobsleds.

Bunny Rabbit, 1985-1996. Allen Herschell ride acquired from Belle Island Village, where it was their “Little D.” Replaced in 1997 by Bear Trax.

Quantum Loop, 1994-2003. Replaced by Whirlwind, 2004.

Stages…

There were at least three stages. One was part of the Natatorium, on its southern side, facing the pool. The other two, the Old Stage and the New Stage, were on the green where the Log Flume now sits. The New Stage blew off its foundation in a 1950’s hurricane. A replacement was started, but was never finished, because it was torn down in connection with building the “Over the Falls” and its approach.

Dodgem/Bumper Cars…

Dodgem. Built by G.W. Long in 1922 (Merrick gives 1919 and 1921) to the west of the Jack Rabbit lift hill and south of the Pagoda. Later used as games pavilion by Ken Murai.

Bumper Cars. Uses loading platform of old Greyhound coaster. Called New Skooter when owned by Jack Kirby.

Old Mill water dark ride…

Original Old Mill built on the land between the loops of the Jack Rabbit (see 1920 park blueprint) with loading platform and water wheel immediately northeast of the Jack Rabbit platform. Rebuilt after the August 1923 Dreamland dance hall fire under and adjacent to the lack Rabbit lift hill. Later converted to the waterless Subway, then to Kaleidoscope. Torn down when Kirby house removed.

Similar things in different locations over time…

Tumble Bug at south end of park, 1920. Later version, Lightning Bug, to east of M.G.R..

Miniature Railroad to east of Jack Rabbit. Train, using old Odenbach Shipyard cars, between toilets and Stage to bluff now taken by Seabreeze Expressway (rte. 590).

Pauly Moore’s track M.G.R. originally on lake shore beyond RR tracks. Later M.G.R. immediately to west of Ferris Wheel in Boardwalk Park.

Circle Swing, installed 1908, ca. 1930 still at south end of park between Danceland and Dodgem. In 1940’s at north end of park as Sky Ride.

Tom Thumb Golf Course ca. 1930 between Natatorium and Danceland. ln 1950’s was at far north end of Dreamland Park bordering Boardwalk Park, and in 1940’s reaching to Culver Road bend.

Caterpillar first at south end of park. In 1940’s at north end, with HeyDey and Sky Ride.

Penny Arcade was one of buildings fronting the Greyhound on west side; destroyed by 1933 fire along with adjoining Dodgem, Cave of the Winds,
Shooting Gallery (Liquid Gas Range), Shuffle Board, and Archery (see 1932 blueprint). Sanborn map of 1924 shows a Penny Arcade at the west edge of the park along the trolley tracks north of the MG-R.

George’s Flasher Game (George Coyle). In 1940’s-1950’s Leonard Nenning’s Flasher adjoining Main Refreshment Stand (Pat’s Stand) to its south.

Loop-O-Plane at north end, east of Penny Arcade, ca. 1950. Mike Orsini’s Dutch Shoes at Kirby end of park later in 1950’s.

FIRES

1923 — Dreamland dance hall (built 1915) destroyed by fire August 1923. Damage to Old Mill and Jack Rabbit.

1930 — Virginia Reel (built 1921) partially destroyed by fire on October 5, 1930. Rebuilt as Jack & Jill Scenic Coaster

1931 — Jack & Jill Scenic Coaster destroyed by fire.

1932 — Karnival Kourt (opened 1917) destroyed by fire August 31, 1932.

1933 — Greyhound roller coaster (built 1916) slightly damaged by 1930 fire. Severely damaged by fire October 6, 1933. Not rebuilt. Station now used for Bumper Cars.

1935 — Wildcat roller coaster (built 1926) damaged by fire and condemned.

1940 — Danceland dance hall (built 1924) burned the night of May 1-2, 1940. It had been turned into a Bingo hall in the 1930’s.

1949 — Boardwalk Park M.G.R., Pemiy Arcade, Fortune Teller booth, Bingo stand, two Shooting Galleries, Refreshment stand destroyed in $50,000 tire September 28, 1949

1985 — Waffle Stand damaged by fire. Repaired and taken over from concessionaire by park.

1994 — PTC #36, Pizza Stand, Penny Arcade, Goofy House, Ghost Train destroyed by fire March 31, 1994

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Monday, May 27th, 2013 at 12:13 am and is filed under Rochester Destinations, Rochester History, Rochester Images. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

82 Responses to “History of Seabreeze Amusement Park”

  1. Sile says:

    There are a couple of things I miss that were lost in the 94 fire… The cool museum section that was in the carousel house and the goofy house, which they never rebuilt. Until then, the goofy house was my FAVORITE attraction from my childhood.

    Do you remember when the Gyrosphere wasn’t a laser show, but had photos put up on the walls? 😀 I remember one summer when someone snuck in a dirty picture. I wonder how long it took them to notice before someone got canned. Gyrosphere was my other favorite ride. Even after the laser show upgrade.

    Man, it’s been so long since I’ve been to Seabreeze… I should see what’s still there..

  2. Sile says:

    Oh, man, they got rid of the gyrosphere? :(

  3. Christopher Brandt says:

    This is terrific. I would love to go into that warehouse to see what else exists of the natatorium!

  4. Patrick Chefalo says:

    ” much of the land between Lake Ontario and Irondequoit Bay”

    ?

    Did you mean: Genesee River in the former?

  5. erik stoneham says:

    I miss the goofy house as well.

  6. @Patrick, sorry, that was poorly worded. I meant the chunk of land that’s wedged between the lake and the bay that Seabreeze sits on. It’s sort of a peninsula but I have no idea what to call it.

  7. @Sile, there was a photo of the Goofy House in Matthew’s presentation. Lots of people seemed to have fond memories of that one. What was in there?

  8. YES! Headlands! Thanks.

  9. Ruth Nederlk says:

    Those were wonderful fun days at Sea Breeze Park in the 30’s 40’s and 50’s Never had problems like they do now. No charge to get in. We were brought up to behave and obey the law. They had to start charging to get in due to all the trouble makers coming there. Isn’t it a shame . The world sure has changed.

  10. Jessica mercauto says:

    Does any one remember the haunted house that was there before the goofy house????

  11. Stephen Schultz says:

    Don & Bob and Vic & Irv we’re hamburger stand icons by Sea Breeze on shores of Irondequoit Bay

  12. chase tyler says:

    The Jack Rabbit is the second longest run roller coaster in America.

  13. J. Richard Chase says:

    I’m surprised that there is no mention of the large Ferris wheel that stood in the early park’s boardwalk area (even though the area itself was no longer an amusement park). I rode on this wheel in the 1940’s and was surprised to find that the wheel’s structure was made of wood.

  14. @J.Richard, I often wonder why there’s no ferris wheel at the park today. With the spectacular view of the lake, a ferris wheel seems an obvious ride to have as a permanent fixture. Why didn’t I include it in this write-up? Time and space basically. I could have written for days and filled up a thousand pages with all the attractions and fun facts related to Seabreeze. Maybe I’ll do a few more posts in the future. Stay tuned.

  15. Jim Hall says:

    Back in the early 30’s my father had many swim records at the Natatorium with many of the local YMCA swim teams that went there. Each time I go past the old building on my way to Don and Bobs, I can almost hear the water splashing.

  16. Sile says:

    The goofy house had one of those rotating barrels, the usual funny mirrors that made you extra tall and skinny or extra short and fat, split moving stairs, rollers like you used to see at grocery stores that you could walk over (not sure how else to describe them), the best part was the end where you got a giant burlap sack and went down this awesome slide! It was such an awesome fun house.

    I do remember a ghost train next to the goofy house, but I never got to go into it before it closed (which was well before the fire). I was too young.

    There USED to be a ferris wheel in seabreeze park proper. It was red and the cars were completely enclosed and egg shaped.

    I really wish we had taken more pictures when I was younger. I didn’t get into shutterbugging until high school. The few pictures I have of seabreeze from when I was a kid are badly damaged from being put in storage. :(

    I hope you do more stories on Seabreeze. I would love to see more old pictures.

    I was kinda shocked when I went to the Seabreeze website and saw how much had changed since I was last there (which was probably 5-8 years ago by now). Very disappointed in the rides that were removed. I’m all for getting new attractions or replacing things that really break, but… I don’t know. Why did they get rid of the Gyrosphere?! It was just an indoor scrambler! And it was AWESOME! Ah, nostalgia.

  17. Sile says:

    Oh, also, the little museum that was inside the carousel house had such awesome things in it. Really OLD games that people played. Like the first arcade games and such. I’m eternally fascinated by that stuff as well.

    I remember being a little kid and spending a long time in that section, when most kids just wanted to ride the carousel. (This was in the early 80s) What 6-7 year old loves museums and history stuffs?! This one! 😀 I’m still that way.

  18. Brian says:

    The Goofy House was my favorite. It burned with the carousel. I remember a Haunted House next to the Goofy House which was also gone, after the fire. The northern part of route 590 now passes through the location of the Natatorium. I remember there was a small portion of the warehouse still standing. I don’t know if it is still there today.

  19. mike says:

    Does Matthew Caulfield mention any crude graves found during all the construction that went on at Sea Breeze? Denonville executed two Canadian trappers before marching on the Seneca and I believe it occurred on the present site of Sea Breeze.

    Regarding Denonville: Based on numerous artifacts found on the eastern, wider part of the sandbar, all historians I have read place his main camp there. Several factors require me to dispute the historians and fix Sea Breeze as the center of activity.

  20. Justaguy says:

    The saddest day in Seabreeze history is not mentioned above. It is the day that the ‘riots’ happened in the 80’s. I lived on Titus Ave between Culver and 590 and watched as dozens of police cars from every agency around flew by to control the literally rampaging swarms of kids who had taken the bus in from the city to go start multiple fights there (we even heard there were a couple of stabbings). It was starting the next season that the park went from being completely open to the public with a pay as you ride system (like Disney with A-E ticket rides) to being fenced in and requiring a ‘fee’ to enter and then a year or two after that the ‘fee’ became the ‘pay one price, ride as much as you want’ situation as it is now. Previously you could go down there to hang at the arcade, maybe eat some fried dough, buy 5 tickets for a Jack Rabbit ride or 2 for the bumper cars or even just sit and people watch and buy nothing at all. We kids who grew up near there lived at Sea Breeze when it was open and by the time it was the pay one price situation I was closer to driving age than not and we just didn’t go because none of us could afford the full admission price AND games, food, etc. I think that the park took a big financial hit after that and seeing Darien Lake move from just a water park to adding rides (around the same time in the 80’s) forced the park to move from a ‘family fun’ place to a ‘water park with rides’ style amusement park as it is now. One of the saddest days in my life.
    Also, one more story lost to time is that of a neighbor girl who was a couple of years younger than me who was killed in the old haunted house in the early 80’s. She got out of her car to hide and scare her friends in the next car and she hid in the ‘galaxy’ part of the ride (which was a huge rotating tube with lights shining through holes that surrounded the tracks and it looked like stars spiraling around). She slipped and was crushed between against the tracks by the tube. I believe when the ride reopened the tube no longer rotated which kinda defeated the point, but I can see why they did it.
    On lighter notes, the old Go Carts, the mini golf course (harder than Whispering Pines!), the awesome inflatable tubes/cargo nets/etc. area are all kinda forgotten now by most people. And the Rocko Planes were used by a lot of people like a ferris wheel whereas we kids tried to perfect our technique to make the cage stay upside-down or spinning constantly for as much of the time as possible.
    Sea Breeze was a treasure. Now it’s just a place.

  21. Duane C. says:

    I remember one time in the early 50’s I rode on the old Dutch Shoes with my mother and when we came to the top they would always hold you there for a bit,and her purse opened up and all the contents ended up inside the cage with us except her loose change which ended up on the ground..she was NOT a happy camper right at that moment.I still remember the old sailplanes that hung down on chains and when they started the ride going round and round you would use the big wooden sail in front of your car to control how high or low your car would fly.

  22. Seabreeze Carousel
    and
    Memorial
    for
    Merrick Price

  23. Additional Seabreeze Historic Notes via Matthew Caufield [Revised 1-7-2013]

    CONFUSIONS CAUSED BY DIFFERENT STRUCTURES WITH SIMILAR FUNCTIONS

    Merry-Go-Rounds…

    When the Longs came to Seabreeze in 1904 there were already two other M.G.R.s in the area besides the one they installed, in a building that G.W. Long, Sr., built at the south end of the park. One of the two, owned by a man named Brown, from Albion, was in the Grove from 1903 on Brown would follow fair dates and the settle the machine in the Grove for the summer. The other M.G.R. was the one on the lakefront and owned by Pauly Moore. Both were early Spillman track machines. The 1920 blueprint shows three M.G.R.’s: the Long machine, the Moore track machine, and one across Culver Road, south of the Moore machine in what was to become Boardwalk Park.

    According to an article in the 8-7-1893 Union & Advertiser, Jacob Kohler and Henry Tussing, both of Tonawanda, N.Y., owned a M.G.R. and in the early spring of 1893 they moved the machine to Sea Breeze and set it up in Behler’s Grove.

    They hired George Lawrence to help them run it, all three men living in a shanty near the Grove. The three men were musicians and they would play for the entertainment of the patrons of Link’s Pavilion.

    In 1915 park owners wanted to build the Dreamland dance hall where the Long M.G.R. stood. So G.W.L.., Jr., built a new building on the site north of the trolley/bus loop. It was that building that burned in 1994.

    Dance Halls…

    The first dance hall was “Dreamland,” built in 1915 close to the where the Jack Rabbit loading platform would be put in 1920. It burned August 25, 1923 (from 11:25 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next day), the fire being fed by an underdraft caused by the fact that the dance hall was built over a ravine. That fire destroyed the Jack Rabbit loading platform, lift hill, and the original Old Mill to the east of the Jack Rabbit.

    In 1924 a new dance hall, “Danceland,” was constructed, using the plans from the first, just south and west of the mend hill of the Jack Rabbit, north of the Dodgem. As its popularity waned, it was converted to a bingo hall. It burned the night of May 1-2, 1940, the alarm being turned in at 8:20 p.m. on May 1st. Two hose lines played water on the Jack Rabbit to keep it from burning.

    Bingo Halls…

    There were at least three bingo venues over the years. One was in the converted Danceland, after it was no longer used for dances. The Natatorium (constructed 1925, opened July 1, 1925, drained and closed May 24, 1931) was covered over and used as a bingo hall until World War 2. Later a bingo hall was set up in the building between the M.G.R. and the Penny Arcade that had been used as a roller skating rink.

    Coasters…

    Mention of Stahley’s roller coaster, 1892.

    Figure Eight. Built 1903. It was removed in 1920 to make way for the Jack Rabbit. Paul Ruben incorrectly reports that G.W. Long tore it down in 1921 to make way for the Virginia Reel.

    Dips. Built 1916 (verified by 1917 clipping, stating it was “completed late last summer”) by T.M. Harton. Name changed to Greyhound at end of 1926. Located east of M.G.R. Ghost Train complex. Station now used for Bumper Car ride. Suffered fire damage 1930. Badly damaged by the fire of 10-6-1933, according to newspaper accounts. Apparently not rebuilt.

    Jack Rabbit. Built 1920 by Miller & Baker. New loading platform and lift hill, plus new Old Mill, built after the August 1923 Dreamland dance hall fire, which also destroyed Hilarity Hall (a hall of mirrors type fun house?).

    Virginia Reel. Built 1921, in spot later occupied by Lightning Bug, Gyrosphere, Music Express, in succession. Partially destroyed by fire on October 5, 1930. Rebuilt as the Jack and Jill Scenic Coaster, a kiddie ride, which burned in 1931.

    Wildcat. Built 1926, according to data on Internet, by Philadelphia Toboggan Co. (other date given in TEXTS file: 1921; in PICTURES file; 1924). Located immediately north of the Jack Rabbit, with part of it lying next to and east of the Jack Rabbit. Burned (“condemned” according to some accounts) in 1935.

    Junior Coaster. Built on wooden tracks by G.W. Long in 1954. Rebuilt on tubular rails as Bobsleds in the winter of 1961 (not in 1968 as stated elsewhere). D&C article of June 10, 1962, shows Bobsleds.

    Bunny Rabbit, 1985-1996. Allen Herschell ride acquired from Belle Island Village, where it was their “Little D.” Replaced in 1997 by Bear Trax.

    Quantum Loop, 1994-2003. Replaced by Whirlwind, 2004.

    Stages…

    There were at least three stages. One was part of the Natatorium, on its southern side, facing the pool. The other two, the Old Stage and the New Stage, were on the green where the Log Flume now sits. The New Stage blew off its foundation in a 1950’s hurricane. A replacement was started, but was never finished, because it was torn down in connection with building the “Over the Falls” and its approach.

    Dodgem/Bumper Cars…

    Dodgem. Built by G.W. Long in 1922 (Merrick gives 1919 and 1921) to the west of the Jack Rabbit lift hill and south of the Pagoda. Later used as games pavilion by Ken Murai.

    Bumper Cars. Uses loading platform of old Greyhound coaster. Called New Skooter when owned by Jack Kirby.

    Old Mill water dark ride…

    Original Old Mill built on the land between the loops of the Jack Rabbit (see 1920 park blueprint) with loading platform and water wheel immediately northeast of the Jack Rabbit platform. Rebuilt after the August 1923 Dreamland dance hall fire under and adjacent to the lack Rabbit lift hill. Later converted to the waterless Subway, then to Kaleidoscope. Torn down when Kirby house removed.

    Similar things in different locations over time…

    Tumble Bug at south end of park, 1920. Later version, Lightning Bug, to east of M.G.R..

    Miniature Railroad to east of Jack Rabbit. Train, using old Odenbach Shipyard cars, between toilets and Stage to bluff now taken by Seabreeze Expressway (rte. 590).

    Pauly Moore’s track M.G.R. originally on lake shore beyond RR tracks. Later M.G.R. immediately to west of Ferris Wheel in Boardwalk Park.

    Circle Swing, installed 1908, ca. 1930 still at south end of park between Danceland and Dodgem. In 1940’s at north end of park as Sky Ride.

    Tom Thumb Golf Course ca. 1930 between Natatorium and Danceland. ln 1950’s was at far north end of Dreamland Park bordering Boardwalk Park, and in 1940’s reaching to Culver Road bend.

    Caterpillar first at south end of park. In 1940’s at north end, with HeyDey and Sky Ride.

    Penny Arcade was one of buildings fronting the Greyhound on west side; destroyed by 1933 fire along with adjoining Dodgem, Cave of the Winds,
    Shooting Gallery (Liquid Gas Range), Shuffle Board, and Archery (see 1932 blueprint). Sanborn map of 1924 shows a Penny Arcade at the west edge of the park along the trolley tracks north of the MG-R.

    George’s Flasher Game (George Coyle). In 1940’s-1950’s Leonard Nenning’s Flasher adjoining Main Refreshment Stand (Pat’s Stand) to its south.

    Loop-O-Plane at north end, east of Penny Arcade, ca. 1950. Mike Orsini’s Dutch Shoes at Kirby end of park later in 1950’s.

    FIRES…

    1923 — Dreamland dance hall (built 1915) destroyed by fire August 1923. Damage to Old Mill and Jack Rabbit.

    1930 — Virginia Reel (built 1921) partially destroyed by fire on October 5, 1930. Rebuilt as Jack & Jill Scenic Coaster

    1931 — Jack & Jill Scenic Coaster destroyed by fire.

    1932 — Karnival Kourt (opened 1917) destroyed by fire August 31, 1932.

    1933 — Greyhound roller coaster (built 1916) slightly damaged by 1930 fire. Severely damaged by fire October 6, 1933. Not rebuilt. Station now used for Bumper Cars.

    1935 — Wildcat roller coaster (built 1926) damaged by fire and condemned.

    1940 — Danceland dance hall (built 1924) burned the night of May 1-2, 1940. It had been turned into a Bingo hall in the 1930’s.

    1949 — Boardwalk Park M.G.R., Pemiy Arcade, Fortune Teller booth, Bingo stand, two Shooting Galleries, Refreshment stand destroyed in $50,000 tire September 28, 1949

    1985 — Waffle Stand damaged by fire. Repaired and taken over from concessionaire by park.

    1994 — PTC #36, Pizza Stand, Penny Arcade, Goofy House, Ghost Train destroyed by fire March 31, 1994

  24. CDS and digital downloads of Seabreeze Band Organs.
    By Merrick Price and Dave Kaspersin

  25. Darryl Jones says:

    I would like more info on the Boardwalk Ferris Wheel which may have been one of a kind. I rode it once as a kid back in the 1950s. By the sixties, the gondolas had been removed and the wheel stood unused. I can confirm that it was constructed of steel and wood. The seats were made of wood as was the rim of the wheel and the rim was painted green. Each gondola had a front and a back seat and could hold four people. All passengers faced the lake. If this was a maufactured ride, do you know what the MFG name was? Thanks.

    D.G. Jones

  26. Janet Balderson Tucci says:

    I worked with Matt Caulfield in the hotdog and hamburger stand when I was a teenager. He was a great guy to work with and it was good for a young girl, like me, to have someone I could trust. Years later my husband and I visited Matt at the Library of Congress and he took us on an amazing tour I’ll not forget. So happy to hear Matt is back at “the park.”

  27. Thanks Janet! Matthew is a great guy, and he’s a fountain of information.

  28. Hank Hall says:

    Hi Matt,
    Janet Balderson and I worked with you in Dreamland
    in the mid 50’s. She in the snack bar and I in the ice cream stand. We also visited you at the
    Library in the mid 60’s. Enjoyed your info on the park and glad to hear you’re doing well.

  29. jasen says:

    I remember the Ferris Wheel that was located at the lower end of the park that was separated by a dirt path from the Sea Breeze Amusements. However, I believe that it was involved in the fire that destroyed the lower end of the park in 1949.

  30. jasen says:

    As a youngster, I recall holding my parent’s hand as we traveled down the dirt path to the lower end of the park and scared of a visually impaired man who stood on the path playing a flute. I hated passing him since he did not wear dark glasses and his eyes frightened me.

  31. Janet Balderson Tucci says:

    I worked in the hotdog stand in the late 50s and met my future husband there. He worked next door in the ice cream stand. I was sent over to help him one busy Saturday and he kicked me out because I was too slow! We all worked with Matt Caulfield. My friend, Judy, and I were the first to ride on the water flume while it was being tested. Pictures were taken. I spent so much time at the park every summer. We got to ride for free and play skeeball by using a fake coin on a wire. In 1960 I left for college and my park days were over. I went back a few years ago and so much has changed. I’d love to see Matt again. Good memories, all.

  32. Darryl Jones says:

    Clarification on the Red “Ferris Wheel” with the egg shaped seats: This ride was actually an Eyerly Aircraft Rock o Plane ride, and yes it does look like a Ferris Wheel. However, unlike a conventional wheel, the enclosed egg shape seats were designed to be rocked and even completely rolled over during the ride. The rider could control the action of the seat. Go to youtube and type in Rock O Plane and you will see the ride in action. The Seabreeze Rock O Plane actually showed up in several different eras in the park. I do not believe that it is currently standing in the park.

  33. Tina Hogan says:

    I remember the riding The Subway with my Mom in the 50s and maybe early 60. I think they closed it because it was dangerous. It was really fast , as a kid I loved it. I’d probably throw up now….

  34. Ruth Nederlk says:

    Had many fun times in the 40s There sure have been many changes through the years. The old merry go round was a wonderfull place so beatifull the horses that were carved . The old folks loved to sit in the rocking chairs and keep time with the rythym of the music that was playing with the sound of the different instruments Just wonderful. Good old days

  35. Jeffrey C Packard says:

    Wasn’t there a car/train ride in the wooded area (well, wooded in the 80s) next to the Jack Rabbit? I swear I remember something being there. I haven’t been to Sea Breeze since the 80s so I’m sure its all completely different now.
    Also, does anyone have any more information on this “house” that Kirby lived in under the Jack Rabbit? I have not been able to find anything to back up that claim. Not that I’m disputing it, I’m just interested to know what type of dwelling was build under the coaster.

  36. jasen says:

    During the 40’s and 50’s there was a train ride next to the Jack Rabbit called “The Subway”. It was a super-fast ride on rails with sharp turns. I’m not certain if the ride existed beyond that period.

  37. jeffrey C Packard says:

    what I remember was definitely slow around the coaster. maybe those cars you “drive” that follow a monorail in the center of a paved area. im remember maybe a train or sometype ride where a bunch of people were on. i might also be simply thinking of the log flume ride before it went up the first hill. I think that was over near the JR too. Its entirely possible im mixing up my parks too. I was only 10 in ’86 and we went to long point park and roseland a bit too around the same time.

  38. Stevie Ray says:

    Wow . . . I had no idea there was a Ghost Train at Seabreeze at the time of the fire in 1994. I was about 5 when the fire happened. I DO however remember going in the Goofy House in the summer of 1993 when I was 4–one of my earliest memories of Seabreeze. It had to be 1993 since it burned down along with the carousel. I remember the spinning barrel and how I couldn’t stand up. My grandpa used to go in it when he was a kid. Once he was super drunk and threw up in there when he was a teenager. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Caufield in 2012 and going through the archive of old photos in the sign building behind the Jack Rabbit. There are drawers and drawers full. It was awesome. I even saw the Natatorium tiles in the warehouse, which is built where the Natatorium was. And it’s been just about 20 years next month since the carousel burned down. I remember I was at my aunts house with my older sister while my mom was out getting stuff for Easter and it was on the news and we both gasped. My dad was a volunteer at Ridge Culver FD at the time but I don’t think he was able to leave work to help. There is a clip of WOKR 13 (now WHAM) news from that night with Don Alhart narrating, showing the aftermath, on Youtube and I vividly remember seeing that. My mom must have taped it because that clip was from the 11 PM newscast. It was on the news for days. At the Rundel Library, I looked up the original newspaper from the next day. It wasn’t just one page, it was several pages. So heartbreaking. Bob Lonsberry wrote a poem about how on the last day of the season, after a long hot summer, the employees all took one last ride on the old carousel together to celebrate getting through another summer at Seabreeze and then it would fall silent again until May. Little did they know it would really be the last time it would be ridden. I wish I could remember riding the original carousel. My earliest memories of Seabreeze are from the fire, believe it or not. And no matter how old I get, I’ll always go to Seabreeze! Even if they did close the Gyropshere. >:(

  39. Matt says:

    My grandpa is matthew caulfield the same one i share his name hes in hospital right now

  40. @Matt, I’m very sorry to hear that. Please wish him a speedy recovery so he can get back to work at Seabreeze soon! And do keep me posted!

  41. Hi Matt,

    Please tell him hello and get well from Dave Kaspersin.

  42. Janet Balderson Tucci says:

    Matt Caulfield was a dear friend when I worked at the park in the 50s. I did not realize he had a child or children. The last time I saw him was at the Library of Congress in DC. I hope he is doing o.k. Would love to know.

  43. Carrie Arick says:

    Janet, Matt’s daughter here. My dad had a nasty strain of pneumonia, but he’s recovered now. He has 4 daughters, several grand kids and a even a new great granddaughter! No surprise he wasn’t chatty about us…partly, that’s who he is and partly we caused him a good amount of stress.

  44. @Janet, thank you for the update! And say hello to your dad for me. I’m happy to hear he’s doing well. Will he be coming back to work at Seabreeze?

  45. MARC COMPITELLO says:

    I VERY MUCH ENJOYED THE HISTORY OF SEABREEZE. MY FAMILY MOVED TO WEBSTER IN 1959 AND I HAVE BEEN TO SEABREEZE MANY TIMES. WE HAVE HOME MOVIES IN COLOR OF MY BROTHER AND I RIDING IN THE SMALL BOATS IN THE LATE 50,S IN THE KIDDIE SECTION AND BOTH MY DAUGHTERS AND TWO TWIN GRANDSONS HAVE BEEN ON THE VERY SAME BOATS. PRICELESS!!!!!!!!! I REALLY MISS THE GOOFY HOUSE. I ALSO REMEMBER A RIDE CALLED THE SUBWAY BUT I REMEMBER IT IN THE 70,S AND THE RIDE WAS FAST,WENT IN A OVAL,WAS COMPLETELY IN THE DARK AND A AMBOY DUKES SONG.

  46. Dimitri Yioulos says:

    I was a kid in the 1950’s and 60’s, and Dreamland Park (of course, Seabreeze to all of us) was magical. I remember that there was a special day at the end of the school year when we were given a card with tickets on it for the park. There was one to get an ice cream, another to get peanuts, another to get a drink, and several for rides. There was a punch-hole in the card, with a string through it, so we kids could put them around our necks (and theoretically, at least, not lose them). While there were no tickets for them, we all made sure to scrimp a little money to play Skeeball and Fascination. I’m not sure who sponsored that event (the school, I think), but it was a high point of the year for several years. So much fun.

  47. Fire On High says:

    Pretty sure it was a dude that got smushed in the Enchantress, not “a neighbor girl”….

  48. Justaguy says:

    Sigh….. because I made it all up, right? To impress the bast audience of this site?
    I know what I know.
    Here is a copy/paste of a person’s review of the park from 2013. Note that “FeithRochesterNY” whom I don’t know, backs up my description of the riots that changed the park forever (and which is always ignored when discussing the park) and that it was indeed a girl who died, but it was in the 80’s.
    From http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g48503-d126661-r185859017-Seabreeze_Amusement_Park-Rochester_Finger_Lakes_New_York.html
    ““THE BEST of the smaller AMUSEMENT PARKS !!”
    5 of 5 starsReviewed November 11, 2013
    We moved to a Rochester suburb in 1972. Seabreeze was here then but we did not get there until our first child was 3 years old (1980). The park has been here in various costumes since the late 1800s. Pictures and notes on its history and changes are/were found around the park. Many notes, toys and pics are no longer there due to a fire in 1994 which took the original carousel and the Museum housed there. Seabreeze began as, and still is, a family-owned and operated park. Originally the Long family from England opened it in 1879, and now by some of their descendants, the Norris family. Incidentally, the young Norris family lived directly across the street from us for several years after he took over management of the Park. (lots of inside info)
    In the early days it was home to the world’s largest salt water pool, it was used for water shows and swimming competitions. Today it offers a huge WaterPark with the requisite wave pool, lazy river and numerous water slides and also has a very popular graduated age water park for those 1 and 2 yr-olds thru the grandparents with them who had never tried a water slide before.
    The Park offers something for every age. Our family cut their teeth on the Kiddie Park and then graduated junior rides, in the 80s (before water parks). Many kiddie rides are still there – some added and some changed. Roller coasters range from the Bunny Rabbit, bobsled, historic, original wooden JackRabbit (4th oldest in the US), to new wild and twisty. Diverse other rides abound, for ex. the Log Flume, TeaCups, I personally love the Bumper Cars and YoYo swing, among other options. It has always (almost) been a clean, safe, very family/kid friendly park.
    There are about 15 picnic groves that cater for/to group and corporate celebrations as well as plenty of personal picnic areas with shade and tables for those who want to carry in/cook most of their food and beverages. The park is both big enough to entertain and small enough that even young teens can be dropped off in a group and picked up later, lines are short with a diversity of rides, arcade games, Midway Show, food booths and restaurants and parking is huge and free.
    The carousel takes pride of place. The original was hand-carved by George Long, with an astounding array of beautiful, colorful steeds accompanied by a huge Wurlitzer circus/band auto organ. This carousel and organ were tragically lost in the catastrophic fire in ’94 (no people were hurt). A new, rarely created today, hand-carved set of steeds and decorations was commissioned using 4 horses, that were off-property for maintenance, as style patterns. Also a true replica Wurlitzer organ was built. These were in place for the ’96 season. The fire also claimed the Museum, noted above.
    I mentioned that the park is almost always very safe. There have been 10 fires of varying degrees over the history of the park. In the 80s City riots and gang fights invaded Seabreeze. At the time it was open admission and kids hung out, grabbed a drink and fries or met a “date” a single ride. Fist and knife fights broke out. Seabreeze management immediately closed the park and took a couple weeks security fence the entire property and institute entry fees to protect the public and families that use and love the park. Today there are choices for pay-one-price entry and season family passes. The only tragic death I’m aware of occurred, I think, in the early 90s. A young girl climbed out of her car in the Haunted House to scare her friends in a later car, got stuck and was crushed by the mechanics of the train ride. The attraction was permanently closed and replaced.
    There have been very few years that we have not been, at least once, to Seabreeze. For the past 23 years it has been the corporate choice for both hubby and my Company Picnics, catered at the park and full pass for all rides, for very small personal fee. We used to take our family and kids friends, now we take the grandkids. They open the park at 11:30a and drag us home after closing fireworks at 10p. Our most recent trip was this past Aug. 12, 2013 for the company picnic with our twin 14-yr granddaughters… who also grew up on Seabreeze. They, of course, hang most at the waterpark, with multiple Jack Rabbit and roller rides. I still enjoy the bumper cars!! but do go with ’em on many other rides and slides.”

  49. Anonymous says:

    Fire on High-
    No, it was a young girl in the Ghost Train. More specifically, it was my mother’s friend’s little sister. She was there with a bunch of her friends, with her sister babysitting them, and they went on the Ghost Train. They were goofing off and she got out of the train to walk beside it, but she tripped and got crushed to death. I was researching amusement park deaths and my mom told me all about it, having a personal witness.

  50. Justaguy says:

    Thank you for confirming that my memory is still working.

    I didn’t know her as back then the elementary schools switched at Titus Ave and the poor girl who died went to Durand Eastman while I, who lived right on Titus Ave at Woodman, went to Ivan Green. Until I entered Eastridge in 7th grade nobody I hung around lived ‘north’ of Titus because they went to a different school even thought we all hung around Rudman Park along 590/Seneca (which is the area I she lived near too and in ‘Durand Eastman’ territory).
    I tried many times to find any articles about the incident but haven’t come up with any…… same with the riots that transformed the park from an open air summer long ‘festival’ with an awesome arcade to us local kids to a fenced in wanna-be Darian Lake none of us could afford to pay to get into on a daily basis just to play video games and eat fried dough. Ruiners will ruin unfortunately.

  51. Tom Ferguson says:

    I worked at Seabreeze during the early 60s, mainly at the Pagoda. Also worked at the larger refreshment stand next to the the Ice Cream Stand.

    Many fond memories there. When I was there they opened the log ride I believe was called “Over the Falls”.

    I was friends with the Kirby’s son who ran the Jack Rabbit most of the time.

    Also remember Coke a Cola days, when you could get on any ride for a nickel and a Coke bottle cap.

    Fun times.

  52. Bill Soule says:

    Great site! Just one item, I always remembered as a kid being told that the Subway Ride was destroyed in a fire in the mid 60’s. That was a pretty popular consensus. Any background to support/eliminate this conjecture?

  53. Chad H says:

    The “Ghost Train” was named “The Enchanter”, I tried to be strong as a kid but it truthfully freaked me out. There was a section you would go by with about 50 bald male heads on a wall, and they would turn and look at you as your cart went by, I’ll never forget that. I do remember when the girl got killed in the ride, we were just there a few days before. I also remember the Kaleidoscope down near the Jack Rabbit, as a kid not knowing you were supposed to be hopped up on drugs to get it, but there was never a line, so it was fun.

  54. Darryl Jones says:

    If you look back at one of my 2013 postings regarding the Ferris Wheel that was located in the Boardwalk Park, you will see a verbal description of the ride. For a long time, I believed that particular Ferris Wheel to be a “one off” attraction. I have never seen one like it until fairly recently! I came across a 1912 post card of a Ferris Wheel that is almost identical to the aforementioned wheel. It was erected in Rocky Point Amusement Park in Rhode Island. I was able to download this Ferris Wheel image which is in public domain. I would love to forward it to Rochester Subway or Seabreeze to see if this jogs some memories regarding the Boardwalk Ferris Wheel.

    Sincerely

    D. G. Jones

  55. Darryl Jones says:

    I can remember riding this Ferris Wheel (shown above) in the mid to late 1950s. I only rode it once but remember it vividly because it was much different than the Eli Bridge Ferris Wheels that were very common in that time frame.

    I have always wondered if it was a “one off” and custom built for Boardwalk Park. Extensive web searches over the years turned up nothing until recently. I found a 1912 postcard from Rocky Point Park in Rhode Island that depicted a Ferris Wheel that is very much like the one I rode at Boardwalk Park. I have attached an image of the postcard with this email. It is in public domain. I’m hoping this will jog someone’s memory at either Rochester Subway or Seabreeze relative to the Boardwalk Wheel. As I recall, the Boardwalk Wheel was shutdown sometime in the 1960s and the gondolas were removed. The wheel stood unused for some time, by the late sixties the ride had been torn down.

    Any information about this Ferris Wheel or the manufacture would be greatly appreciated!

  56. Sonja Livingston says:

    Does anyone know when the Ferris Wheel was built? I’m a writer, trying to re-imagine what the place was like in the 1920s. Anyone know if Mr. Caulfield still gives his presentation, and where? Thank you!

  57. Will says:

    @jeffery c packard

    The house was not literally “under” the Jack Rabbit, it was set immediately behind it toward the east end of the park, nestled in a corner behind the lift hill, the log flume, and the outer fence of the wavepool. It was finally demolished about two years ago.

    Their were/are actually three houses standing there, one of which is an apartment used by the gymnastic performers from Canada, another set midway down the length of the Jack Rabbit, and the third, which was the aformentioned demolished one easily visable over the wavepool fence. One of the park owners lived in the old place until he moved to Webster.

    Source:I worked there for 3 years (2009-2012)

    Also some interesting stuff in the warehouse as well. Kind of polack-esque constructed on the top of the Natatorium, large front room with large walk in coolers, then a back space akwardly jutting out along the original foundation, poorly lit, that contains myriad of old ride peices and various other dust-collecting historical sets. There is actually a set of stairs in there leading back up to a space above the actual “modern” storage area, but it wasn’t lit so didn’t bother to head up there.

  58. Jeffrey C Packard says:

    @Will, are you talking about down Parkgrove road? Google street view shows some little houses that look a bit like refurbished barns. View date is 2007.

  59. Joe Petrosino says:

    After reading through these wonderful pieces on Seabreeze I can’t help remembering my many visits to the park over the years. Two points I have to make in hopes that more information can be found. 1.) the park went further north then the Boardwalk section visitors could cross Culver,or what ever it was called in the late 1930’s and 40’s cross RR. tracks and venture out onto a good size amusement pier featuring many attractions but no rides. I never seen photos of this pier built out over Lake Onterio. 2.) The Subway this was indeed a masterpiece. This was the ride that thrill seekers of that era could not ride enough. If it existed today it would be on every amusement park hoppers ride to ride, I’ll never forget it. Up until today I never knew it was the part of the Old Mill ride. Thanks for the great site

  60. Matthew Caulfield emailed me today with answers and corrections to some of the comments made on this post. He’s addressed each comment by number. I am posting his comment for him because he’s not too comfortable with the web technology quite yet and didn’t want to mess things up, as this is a very long comment. So here it goes… this is from Mr. Caulfield…

    @11. I think what Janet Mercato is referring to is the Ghost Train, which was there next to the Goofy House. The Ghost Train was a Seabreeze Park fixture since the 1940’s and is based on the famous Pretzel ride (Google “Pretzel Amusement Ride Company” and see the external link there “Send ‘Em Out Laffing”). From 1978 to 1985, the Ghost Train was ran as the redesigned Enchanter. Then it closed.

    @15. Wheel rides, usually called Ferris Wheels after the one built by George W.G. Ferris for the 1893 Chicago world’s fair, are actually once-only rides. They draw well at fairs and carnivals, but they tend to stand unrunning at amusement parks. For today’s clientele they are too tame.

    @16. The Natatorium was a luxurious salt-water swimming pool, the world’s largest, that ran from 1924 to 1931, when it became a victim of the post-depression years. Charlotte Boyle Clune, the wife of Times Union columnist Henry Clune and Olympic swimmer, gave swimming lessons. The Natatorium was later roofed over and used as a bingo hall. Today the building serves as the park’s warehouse, although it lost a triangular section on its southeast side when route 590 was built.

    @17. There was never a Ferris Wheel in Seabreeze/Dreamland Park. Darryl Jones clarifies in comment #33 that it was a Rock-O-Plane. Rock-O-Planes, owned by various concessionaires including Mike Orsini, ran in various spots in the park from the 1950’s to 1988.
    The writer also laments about old favorite rides being replaced over time. But a successful amusement park has to keep up with the times and offer attractions that draw customers. Also old rides wear out and repair becomes impractical. That was the reason for the demise of the Lightning Bug and more recently the 1958 Crazy Cups The Crazy Cups were replaced in 2010 by the Twirlin’ Teacups and the 1940’s Lightning Bug was replaced in 1977 by the Paratroopers.

    As it moves into the future, Seabreeze Park values its past. Witness the magnificent new
    hand-carved carousel and authentic band organ replacing the 1914 Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel #36 and the 1931 Wurlitzer style 165 band organ, both lost in the March 31, 1994, fire. And Seabreeze Park has the most complete collection of Wurlitzer 165 band organ rolls in existence, playing the same music it played when you were a child.

    @19, The haunted house remembered here was the Ghost Train (see @11 above). The Natatorium site still exists and is in use as the park warehouse (see @16 above)

    @22. The sailplanes mentioned here are the Seabreeze Flyers, recently updated and re-themed from the old Flying Scooters.

    @26. The first wheel ride in the area was a Conderman Wheel, which ran in the lakeside amusement area north of Culver Road (then called Woodman Road). It ran there along with a merry-go-round and other attractions until 1917, when a court decision stating that the land belonged to the railroad which paralleled Woodman Road forced Andrew Bornkessel, Pauly Moore, and their partners to move their amusement operation across Woodman (Culver) Road. The new site was first called Karnival Kourt and it eventually became Boardwalk Park. I am not certain whether the Wheel that operated at Boardwalk Park until Bornkessel closed the park in the 1960’s was the same Wheel or a different one. Norman Anderson’s “Ferris Wheels: an Illustrated History” may hold the answer, but I have yet to read it.

    @30. The Boardwalk Park Wheel existed up until the park closed. When the area was bulldozed on order of the Town Of Irondequoit, the frame of the Wheel was the last ride relic standing. The September 28, 1949, fire did $50,000 worth of damage, destroying a carousel of unknown make, penny arcade, fortune teller booth, bingo stand, two shooting galleries, and a refreshment stand.

    @34. The Subway began life as a water ride, the Old Mill, built as part of the Jack Rabbit construction in 1920. As the ride aged and the trough in which the individual boats ran began to leak, the ride was motorized (in the 1930’s?), converted to a string of wheeled carriages pulled rapidly through the dark by a gasoline-motor engine, and renamed the Subway. It was modernized to a light-show type ride in 1970 and renamed the Kaleidoscope, which was torn down in the winter of 1982-83.

    @36. You may be thinking of the train that ran out to the bluff overlooking Irondequoit Bay. The train had a station near the Bumper Cars and went out to the wooded area to the east edge of the park. The track and cars were recycled from the Odenbach Shipyards after World War 2. There is still a train but its track layout has been reconfigured as the park has developed.

    The Kirby house under the Jack Rabbit was torn down in the winter of 1982-83 along with the Kaleidoscope, well after the Kirbys left and sold the Jack Rabbit and their other rides to George W. Long, Inc. Jack Kirby owned the rides but not the land they were on. We have pictures of the house and of its removal, and it was, contrary to comment 58, directly under the Jack Rabbit lift hill. Jack Kirby lived there with his third wife, Yvonne, daughter Paula, and two sons, Donald and David. It was a smallish bungalow, but big enough for a family of five. The floors are said to have been slanting in later years, but the Kirbys were used to living there with coaster cars running overhead all summer.

    @ 37 See @34

    @49 The quote saying that the original carousel (PTC 36) was carved by George Long is wrong. PTC 36 was carved by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1915. The new 1996 carousel, carved by Californian Ed Roth, does have four horses from PTC 36 that were off that ride when it burned. But they were not used as style patterns. Ed Roth carved the new horses largely using pictures of existing carousel horses and other visuals taken from various sources selected by Seabreeze Park owners.

    @53 See @34

    @55-57 See @26

    @58 About the Kirby house, see @36. The other houses you are describing are what remains of a street full of houses built by George W. Long, who was a builder famous for building houses in the Kodak Park area for Kodak employees and in Brighton as well as for owning and running Dreamland Park (today Seabreeze Park). The street, running to the east of the Jack Rabbit, was–and still is–named Park Grove Road. The houses were rented to Mr. Long’s family members and to certain park employees. Most of them are now torn down to make room for Waterpark expansion and employee parking, but two (one a duplex) still stand.

    @60 The across-Culver Road (Woodman Road) amusement area lasted until 1917, when it had to be vacated (see @26) and moved to the area on the south side of Culver Road that later became Boardwalk Park. There was at least one ride in the pre-1917 amusement area, Pauly Moore’s track Merry-Go-Round, complete with band organ.

  61. Darryl Jones says:

    I appreciate all of the updates.

    Relative to my still outstanding relative to the Boardwalk Ferris Wheel, The Conderman Wheel was indeed in that area. The Conderman is similar in design to the much better known Big Eli Ferris wheel manufactured by the Eli Bridge company. However, the Ferris Wheel that I remember at Boardwalk Park was neither a Conderman or Big Eli. The one I’m trying to get information on was somewhat larger than the two aforementioned wheels and featured gondolas instead of seats. Please see the picture in post 56 above.

    With all due respect to Mr. Caulfield, Ferris Wheels can still be found in many permanent amusement park sites. During part of my Career at Kodak, I was part of a group that installed digital photo opportunities in amusement parks across the country, there were many parks that featured Ferris Wheels.

    If you refer to the old photographs at the beginning of this thread, there is one ariel shot that is sepia toned and shows Boardwalk Park.
    The wheel that I remember, rode, and want information on is plainly visible. Again, was this wheel a manufactured ride? If so, who was the manufacture? Many thanks for any additional information.

    Sincerely

    Darryl G. Jones

  62. The Boardwalk area had a dance hall named Dance Land. My band The Tempests played there in the 60’s My name was Dave Casperson then.

  63. Jeffrey C Packard says:

    RS: Please thank Matthew Caulfield for me. I have learned so much from all of this. I grew up going to Seabreeze every summer, as many of you did. I dont know where my love of history (especially Rochester history) came from but this has all been fascinating.
    I also want to thank you for this page. From a 10 page paper for a MCC writing class in ’95 I became hungry for knowledge about the Rochester Subway and the many interurban trolleys. Years later it brought me to this site. Thank you and please keep it coming!

  64. Thanks Jeffrey! I appreciate that. And I certainly will.

  65. Thank you to Mr. Caulfield! I have a book coming out next year, “Ladies’ Night at the Dreamland,” which uses the old shoreline as a setting in one of the chapters. I will be sure to credit him for providing the information on the dance hall, etc.

  66. James flint says:

    I have several vintage pokerino &skee-roll coupons from the 40ties or early fifties. Was wondering if they had any value to collector

  67. James, it probably depends on where you got them from. Are they from a local arcade or amusement park? i.e. Seabreeze?

  68. james flint says:

    they all say seabrezee boardwalk some even have a miss-print that say save coupoms for larger prizes ROCHESTERS PLAYGROUND

  69. Very cool. Email me a pic and I’ll post it here. info@rochestersubway.com

  70. Thanks James. Here we are…

  71. JoeV says:

    I remember Pokerino was one of the games located in the Boardwalk Arcade that was destroyed in the fire of 1949.

  72. Ryan F says:

    Thank you for this great article with the pictures. Seabreeze will always have a special place in my heart. I spent many great summers here with my friends growing up in the late 80s early 90s. I will never forget the day of the fire of 1994, it was heart breaking. The park was never the same to me again the next spring, I did not even want to go anymore.

    I have a question though- wasn’t the Goofy House re-named the Monkey House in the 80s? I thought there were monkeys on it and it was green..Does anyone have any pictures or video of this attraction? Especially the wacky staircase going up. It was one of my favorite features of the park.

    Second- what was previously in the space to the left of the Goofy House before it was an arcade? I remember poking around the back of the arcade and finding roller skating stuff like skates and shoe cubbies tucked away down a hall.

    Thanks so much, I love all the discussions and history of this special place!

  73. Arvid A. Lakeberg says:

    My sisters and I spent many a happy day and evening at Seabreeze when we were kids in the ’60s.I have many fond memories of the Carousel, Goofy House, Ghost Train and the Arcade with ’30s pinball machines!
    Got yelled at more than a few times for goofing around too long in the big wooden barrel at the Goofy House!

  74. Barbara J. says:

    The Irondequoit Police Dept. sponsored Kiddie Fun Day in
    the 1950’s/60’s. You got three free rides, an ice cream, a hot
    dog and a drink. They also raffled off free bicycles. It was our
    best day of the year. Does anyone remember the live anteater
    that walked around Dreamland Park in the 1950’s? Who remembers the Lightning Bug ride? What great memories!

  75. Doug s says:

    I remember in the 80’s they had a sort of cargo net climbing apparatus near the bobsleds, and also a metal zip line track in the same area. I also liked the mini life rafts in a shallow pool, where you would pull yourself with a rope from one end to the other. This was near where the sea dragon is now I think.
    And of course the fun house was the best with the barrel wheel, crazy moving staircase, slanted room and huge slide at the end riding on the burlap sack.

  76. Anthony Raymond says:

    Can anyone provide a listing of hot dog stands at Seabreeze down by the bay? I am interested, in particular, as to whether anyone remembers Walt and Leos in the ’50’s.

  77. Joe V says:

    In addition to Walt and Leos there was Vic & Irv’s and Don and Bob’s. Don’t remember others except for those in the upper and lower ends of the park.

  78. Barbara J says:

    There was a stand called Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the 1950’s

  79. Scott says:

    I recall rolling down those cargo nets!!! So unsafe, but super fun

  80. Kelly says:

    The area with the cargo nets was called Kid’s Kingdom. It had the stuff the previous poster stated and also a “moonwalk” bounce house type of thing and a second one that was like blown up stacked logs. It had a ball crawl down further too.

  81. New Release of Band Organ made before the fire.
    Volume III’s music was recorded early on a rainy day in September of 1992. In the eerie solitude of the carousel building, Merrick Price, Alan Mueller, and Dave Kaspersin were in attendance changing the band organ rolls and recording the music. The combination of waltzes, fox trots, two-steps, and marches, demonstrate the versatility of the powerful Wurlitzer and “the happiest music on earth”. Sadly, the ornate wooden building housing the carousel and band organ burned to the ground in the late afternoon of March 31, 1994. Smoke billowing above Lake Ontario could be seen for many miles on that clear spring day. Now we mourn the tragic loss of the noble horses of PTC#36, and the silencing of that grand old Wurlitzer. A new carousel of hand carved wooden horses, and a new Verbeeck organ made their public debut in 1996 – crafted testaments to cherished memories of the originals.


Post a Comment...



  Most Popular...
  1. Pot Holds Bowie in Rochester
    (views: 29,836)
  2. Inside Rochester’s Terrence Tower
    (views: 23,030)
  3. Inside Abandoned Medley Centre (a.k.a Irondequoit Mall)
    (views: 20,995)
  4. Abandoned Glass House
    (views: 11,933)
  5. Deep Inside Rochester’s Big Old Sibley Building
    (views: 11,894)
  6. The Best Holiday Light Displays in Rochester v1.0
    (views: 11,290)
  7. Inside Rochester’s Abandoned Walters Psychiatric Building
    (views: 10,872)
  8. Abandoned Girl Scout Camp Beech-Wood
    (views: 10,116)
  9. University of Rochester’s Lost Swimming Pool
    (views: 9,443)
  10. History of Seabreeze Amusement Park
    (views: 8,131)
  11. Durand Eastman Park and the Lady In White
    (views: 7,780)
  12. Inside the Abandoned Camp Haccamo, Penfield
    (views: 7,528)
  13. Abandoned Theme Park: Frontier Town
    (views: 7,332)
  14. Exploring the Caves of Rochester, NY
    (views: 6,699)
  15. Inside the Abandoned Vacuum Oil Refinery
    (views: 6,418)
  16. Rochester Mafia, the Banana King, and the Infamous “Barrel Murder”
    (views: 5,828)
  17. The Old Barber House
    (views: 5,823)
  18. Inside RG&E Beebee Power Plant – Just Before (and during) Demolition
    (views: 4,728)
  19. Inside 65-67 Chestnut St. – Old Hotel Richford
    (views: 4,660)
  20. Amazing! Virtual Tour of Rochester Subway on Google Street View
    (views: 4,063)

Topics

  • Architecture (63)
  • Art + Culture (116)
  • Events (99)
  • Freebies (9)
  • Interviews (32)
  • Opinion (106)
  • Other (1)
  • Reader Submitted Stories (125)
  • Rochester Apartments (4)
  • Rochester Destinations (97)
  • Rochester Gifts (18)
  • Rochester History (198)
  • Rochester Homes for Sale (6)
  • Rochester Images (207)
  • Rochester News (333)
  • Rochester Subway (50)
  • Rochester Subway Stories (16)
  • Subways Around the Globe (11)
  • Train/Railroad Stuff (46)
  • Transit + Infrastructure (199)
  • Uncategorized (15)
  • Urban Development (258)
  • Urban Exploration (59)

  • Rochester Subway Information

    Get Email Updates...
    Stay up-to-date on Rochester-related stories, artifacts, and ideas that you won't find in the mainstream news. Totally free, never spammy, and you can unsubscribe at any time.


    ¤ See Past Issues
    ¤ Our Privacy Policy

    Links

    Get Involved...

    ¤ Reconnect Rochester

    Related Blogs...

    ¤ A Town Square
    ¤ Moderate Urban Champ
    ¤ Our Tiny Earth
    ¤ The Rochesterian
    ¤ RocVille
    ¤ Rust Wire

    Resources...

    ¤ RochesterDowntown.com
    ¤ Rochester's Public Library
    ¤ ROCwiki



    Want to Advertise
    on RocSubway?
    Drop us a line.


    Other ways to follow RochesterSubway.com...

    Subscribe for Email Updates

    Email

    Become a Facebook Fan

    Facebook

    Follow Us on Twitter

    Twitter

    RSS Feed

    RSS

    Questions + Comments

    For questions about the Rochester Subway Poster or about your order, please email info@rochestersubway.com.

    Want to SAVE Shipping Costs?
    Buy the Subway Posters at these local shops...

    About the Rochester Subway Poster...

    ¤ Black Radish Studio [ ...map it ]
    ¤ Parkleigh [ ...map it ]
    ¤ Poster Art [ ...map it ]
    ¤ Rochester Public Library Store [ ...map it ]

    ¤ Rochester Subway Poster Press Release
    ¤ Article by Otto M. Vondrak
    ¤ Design by Mike Governale

    More About The Rochester Subway

    Help Support...

    ¤ Rochester Subway (Wikipedia)
    ¤ The End of the Line - Rochester's Subway, DVD
    ¤ Abandoned Subway Photos (Opacity.us)
    ¤ Walking the Rails (YouTube Video)

    ¤ Friends of RochesterSubway.com