The Beginning of the Village of Celoron
Captain de Blainville Celoron, a chevalier (French noble) of the Order
of St. Louis, was given the task of re-establishing
France’s claim to the watershed of the Ohio River Valley, a claim
originally made by another Frenchman, LaSalle.
In 1749, Celoron set sail from Canada
with his force of 214 soldiers and 55 Indian allies, landing near
present day Barcelona, N.Y.
He then pushed over the difficult portage to the head of Chautauqua
Lake, where he arrived on July 22nd.
On his arrival, he and his companions
must have been impressed with the lovely and tranquil scene as it
appeared on that summer day.
The next day he embarked. His fleet of
bark canoes passed maple groves and the wild deer straying from the deep
forest depths to sniff the cool breezes of the lake.
He passed the narrows of the lake and
passed into the broad expanse of the lower lake, and encamped for the
night upon the shore three miles above the outlet, a place which 150
years later would come to bear his name.
This new village was once known as Sammis
Bay, named after an early settler Charles Wheeler Sammis, and was
renamed after a second settler Joseph F. Burtis, who purchased the
The small settlement grew along the most southern bay of the lake, and
in the mid-1870’s with the purchase by James Prendergast, a member of
Jamestown’s founding family, became known as Prendergast Point.
In 1896 the village was incorporated and named Village of Celoron.
To this day, the bay to the west still retains the name Burtis Bay.
GROWTH OF THE PARK . . . .
This overview is not a picture; rather an artist's drawing.
Please note the structure in the upper-right with the Turkish
style spires and long Annex ending in a bandstand -- this is the
Auditorium. Also in the right of the drawing at the
water's edge is the three-story Bathhouse with three toboggan
slides; one of which is the camel-back slide. The Phoenix
Ferris Wheel is to the left with Hotel de Celoron barely visible
behind the right side of the Wheel with a flag banner protruding
from its top. The baseball grounds are beyond the
Auditorium. The Celoron Theater and the Greyhound
rollercoaster were not yet in the park.
One of the original
structures in 1894, it was three stories tall with three
toboggan slides, one being a camel-back slide. Inside the
bathhouse was a barber shop, 150 dressing rooms, bowling alley,
billiards room, shooting gallery, ice-cream parlor, and a large
open recreation area. Damaged by fire a fire in 1900, the
bathhouse, when repaired, was three stories only in the middle
and the signature camel-back slide was gone.
HOTEL DE CELORON
One of the original structures of the park in 1894. It
was three stories, very ornate, and 100 square feet with 36
rooms. It was damaged by the fire in 1902 and was
destroyed by fire in 1914.
One of the original structures of the park in 1894, this was
the primary site for local baseball. It hosted boxing
matches, football, lacrosse, cricket, and soccer games.
Hosted most every major league professional baseball team of the
day, and special athletes like Jim Thorpe and Babe Ruth.
Closed after the 1939 season.
Opened in 1895 - - Turkish-type spires that were five stories
tall. It seated 8,500 and was used as a meeting hall,
convention center, dance hall, and roller rink. In the
winter, the floors of both the Auditorium and the Annex were
flooded and used both for ice skating and speed skating.
Destroyed by fire in 1920.
Opened in 1897 and extended out over the water and was 168 feet
long X 82 feet wide X 40 feet high. It served as the
primary site for stage performances and vaudeville acts from
1897 - 1924. It was converted for dancing and renamed the
Pier Ballroom until it was destroyed by fire in 1930.
First operated in the 1986 season. This was the world's
largest - - ten stories tall with 12 cages and a capacity of
168. 125 feet in diameter and took six men to operate.
Lit by 350 colored lights. Dismantled in 1952.
GREYHOUND ROLLER COASTER
Opened in 1924, this all wooden roller coaster had
three loops and 6,000 lights. It was destroyed by a
tornado in 1959.