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Historic EVENTS in and around Welland

CRYSTAL BEACH: WHERE IT IS AND HOW TO GET THERE

Ontario’s Latest Summer Resort-

A Charming Spot and Likely to Become the Most Fashionable Watering Place

[Welland Telegraph, 10 July 1891]

Residents in cities and towns are always anxious to find a suitable resort where they may spend the hot summer days; a place of easy access with all the comforts and conveniences necessary to the enjoyment of the tired worker; a place free from all city restrictions and styles; a place where they may roam about with their families without the everlasting fear of being run over by electric street cars or those wild and careless butcher’s boys; a place where they may wander on the sands and watch the ever changing scenes; a place where the continual chatter of buying and selling is not heard. To these, and there are thousands who are seeking such a retreat, Crystal Beach is destined to meet their wants. It is as a summer resort, a new place, this being its second year, but already it promises to be the most attractive place in the Niagara Peninsula. The gentleman who first struck the happy idea of building up this watering place is

MR. REBSTOCK

of the Rebstock Stove Manufacturing Company, of Buffalo. Mr. Rebstock came over last year in search of sand and succeeded in purchasing the farm and beach now known as Crystal Beach, and began shipping the sand to Buffalo, building a pier out to a sufficient length to allow the boats to come alongside, at the same time he removed his family from Buffalo to the farm house, which they occupied during the summer months, returning to Buffalo in the fall for the winter; early this spring they were back at the farm again, which during the winter underwent various improvements  and additions, the outbuildings as well as the house now being in first class order and well worthy of a visit.

Mr. Rebstock was so pleased with his purchase that he invited last year a number of his friends from Buffalo to come over and spend their holidays under canvas. They were so delighted with the place that a steamer was put on the route from Buffalo to the Beach making three round trips daily; and the number of campers increased weekly. This so encouraged Mr. Rebstock that he set about making it the leading holiday nook outside of Buffalo and this year is to be seen the foundations of a large summer resort, situated in the most picturesque part of the county of Welland.

ITS LOCATION

It is situated about one and a half miles from the village of Ridgeway, on the main line of the Grand Trunk Railway between Buffalo and Goderich, and one hour’s sail from the City of Buffalo. From McLeod’s and the Queen’s Hotels, Ridgeway, conveyances may be had at all times to the Beach, and they make so many trips that there is no danger of being obliged to walk back to catch a train. From Buffalo the steamer Pearl makes four trips daily, leaving the city at 9.30 a.m..; 2.30. 5.00 and 7.30 p.m.; and although she can carry 1300 passengers, she has had difficulty once or twice already this season in conveying all the excursionists to and fro. Her average number daily during the season, with the exception of special occasions, has been about 1500, but one day last week over 3000 were brought over, and on Saturday last, being Independent Day, a still larger number were over.

The Pearl is well suited for the route and is fitted up to meet the requirements of patrons; the officers are all experienced men and very attentive, and in addition to the crew, a special orchestra, consisting three ladies and five gentlemen, has been engaged to play on the boat for the season, and it is admitted by the visitors that it is the best band on any of the boats sailing out of any American city.

THE HOTEL

A first-class family hotel, containing between 30 and 35 rooms with all modern improvements, has been erected this season and was opened to the public on the 4th inst. It is erected on the top of the hill and commands the finest view that can possibly be obtained. To stand on the balcony and take a survey of the beach and the immense bay from Point Abino right across to the American coast is a sight that will well repay the visitor for any trouble or inconvenience that he may have had to endure to get there. The rooms are all airy and well ventilated. The furniture is all new and substantial and everything is so arranged as to satisfy the tastes of the most fastidious. The bath rooms and lavatories are all fitted up with hot and cold water and the whole building is lighted up with natural gas obtained and piped from Ridgeway. Water is pumped from the lake into a large tank or reservoir at the rear of the hotel, from which all the different booths and houses about the park are supplied with water. The dining room of the hotel is a fine room and capable of holding a large number of diners at one time and is situated on the left as you enter the building, while on the right side is a large drawing room beautifully furnished and everything fitted up to make the visitor feel that the room is for use and not for show. It is the intention of the management to supply refreshments to the excursionists as well as to the resident visitors, but nothing in the way of intoxicating liquors will be sold or allowed on the premises. From the hotel there is an artistic rustic walk built right  down to

THE BEACH

and pier, and here every day may be seen large groups of ladies and gentlemen sporting and romping in the clear water. On the right of the pier there is a large pavilion erected as a ladies’ dressing room and the beach on that side is for the sole use of the ladies, while the gentlemen’s beach is on the left of the pier. Here, in addition to a number of dressing rooms, is erected a toboggan slide from which the gentlemen can enjoy themselves to their heart’s desire. As a bathing beach there is no better. It is simply perfect, the sand extending out in the water to such a distance that it is not possible for the bather to step on stones, and there is no danger of shifting sand or dangerous currents, and to see the visitors lounging about on the sands is a sight not soon forgotten.

BOATING

A large number of boats are kept for hire, including outriggers, gigs and sailing boats, and experienced men are employed to look after them and to assist the pleasure seekers in every way possible. Before leaving the beach special mention should be made of the extension to the pier, built during the past spring, which now enables the largest of the excursion steamers to come alongside and land passengers. A custom house has also been built adjoining the pier, with Mr. Lewis House as officer, from whom a great deal of information can always be obtained respecting the locality and its many interesting sights.

COTTAGES

About fifty cottages are to be erected as quickly as possible on the top of the hill in a line with the hotel, and dotted here and there between the trees, giving to each one sufficient room for a lawn, flower gardens, etc. The first one is already finished and will be occupied shortly by the Rev. Mr. Pickard and family, of Buffalo, and there is no doubt but what the others will be occupied as soon as they are finished. A large number of campers have pitched their tents near where the cottages are being built, and the white canvas between the trees is indeed a pretty sight, and one that conveys to the mind of the onlooker that the occupants are out and away from the bustle and trials of this busy world.

RESTAURANT

The restaurant is situated in a very convenient spot near the hotel, and is large enough to accommodate at least 150 at a time; meals are prepared at all hours and everything is sold at moderate charges. The pic-nicer may here obtain hot water in any reasonable quantity, and all kinds of soft drinks can be had.

MAPLE GROVE

To get to Maple Grove from the hotel the visitor must take the rustic bridge, which is built across a romantic ravine and winds its crooked way around the hill until you arrive at the grove. To the lover of nature this winding walk is something grand, the little ravines to be seen at every point you turn, all showing evidences of having been well patronized by visitors, as pic-nic boxes and tins may be seen in immense numbers, and the panoramic landscape view to be seen of the richest farms in the district. All the under bush has been cleared in the grove, and tables erected in suitable places where families and friends can gather together and enjoy their lunch. For the

AMUSEMENT

of all, swings have been erected in suitable places, a dancing pavilion built, base ball ground laid out, and a special piece of land allotted to the lovers of lawn tennis. Of course there is a merry-go-round for the children, and shelters in case of rain in different parts of the resort. Repeating what has already been said, it is decidedly one of the prettiest spots that nature has given us, and under the present careful management its beauties will never be tampered with, but everything will be done to attract the traveller, and to make it so quiet and pleasant that everyone going may reap the benefits that they are in search of, and go back to their homes with renewed vigor and pleasant memories of their summer outing.

In concluding these remarks we would like to thank Mr. Fred E. Dark, the genial cashier, for the very courteous manner in which he treated the TELEGRAPH and for the useful information he gave, and ere long we trust to make another visit to Crystal Beach, hoping to have the pleasure of meeting the proprietor, Mr. Rebstock, who was away on business when we were there.

Crystal Beach, the memory of thy cool nooks will long remain green in the minds of those who have enjoyed thy pleasures. Natures hand has been liberal to thee, and mankind appreciates the gift.

  1. On 3 January 2015, Janet Ripley Said,

    I always wondered about the place. Have two old pictures/post cards that say Crystal Beach.
    I would say that my grandfather is about 2 so that puts the picture around 1920

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