The Niagara History Center announces the opening of a new temporary exhibit, “Olcott Beach, NY: A Once Vibrant Lakeside Resort.” Researched and assembled by History Center curatorial intern Joshua Poole, it is housed in the main building at 215 Niagara St., Lockport.
A press release noted, “Poole, a Pendleton resident, is a history major entering his senior year at SUNY Geneseo this fall. The exhibit explores the history of Olcott Beach during its heyday when over 100,000 people visited there each year. Boasting eight hotels, three dancehalls, and many amusement parks, this little village was the place to be in the early 1900s. It was even on par with the popularity of Coney Island and Crystal Beach before fires and other factors caused its decline.
“The exhibit aims to preserve the legacy of this village and beach by documenting the rise and the fall of its amusement industry. Composed of artifacts primarily from the History Center’s Charles Penney Collection, this exhibit gives insight into what the resort was like in the early 20th century and later in the era of grand hotels, prohibition, big bands and, finally, the Great Depression.
“The exhibit also includes an early 20th century swimsuit and contains a collection of relics from the Pioneer Association of Niagara County. From visits by famous musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, a speech given by Teddy Roosevelt himself, and a series of destructive fires, Olcott Beach has a unique history.
The History Center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is free to view the exhibit.