Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Today we're going to visit a little western-themed amusement park that was in Salamanca, New York (about 40 miles south of Buffalo). The slides were labeled "Frontier Village", but the correct name is "Fentier Village". Founded by businessman Ned Fenton Jr., Fentier Village was the realization of a dream; he and his family had visited dozens of "wild west" amusement parks around the US and Canada, until he decided to build his own version (much of it based on his personal concepts). It opened in 1966.
You can see that everything looks pretty new and raw in these photos. The park was open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and according to one online article, averaged 1000 visitors a day.
There were gunfights in the streets, of course... you can't have a "Wild West" park without gunfights! And there were performances with can-can girls in the Red Garter Playhouse - five shows a day, seven days a week; more on extra busy days!
I love this beautiful little train, so shiny and new. Notice the bright yellow "atomic breather" on the side! Back when "atomic" practically meant "magic". I wonder where this beauty is today?
I wish I had photos of some of the other features, such as the stagecoach, and the incline railway, which allowed folks to access several levels of the park on the hillside.
"Lassie", the world's most famous Collie, appeared at Fentier Village - the biggest celebrity draw the park ever had, bringing almost 5000 people in a single day.
I love the sign for "emergency rest rooms". Hey, when ya gotta go....
Sadly, Fentier Village only survived four years, closing for good in 1969 - apparently a result of New York State's plan to build I-86 through the property. As you can see in this Google Maps image, there is still a smattering of structures remaining.
I hope you've enjoyed your visit to Fentier Village!