Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Fentier Village, Salamanca NY - November 1966

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!

16 comments:

TokyoMagic! said...

I want to go for a ride in that giant stagecoach that looks like a building.....

outsidetheberm said...

These are really something! From a rarely photographed park.

The giant stagecoach building could really be something with a few tweaks... hmm...

Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, don't the arrows poking out of the stagecoach worry you?

outsidetheberm, I thought you might like these, even though everyone else seems unimpressed! ;-)

outsidetheberm said...

They're sleeping in today, Major. Give 'em a few minutes.

K. Martinez said...

I'm impressed! I've just been out since early morning with medical appointments. I love that "Atomic Breather" loco and I'm gettin' hungry for some chow at the Wagon Wheel Cafe. Just hope I get there before the grease fire starts!

I love images from those obscure parks of the 50s and 60s. Great!

D ticket said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdBNYTidPPM

Found this 8mm film

Alonzo P Hawk said...

I could never knock a train ride (anywhere) but that loco looks like it was assembled from parts found at the junckyard.

Wait a moment so was the viewliner. Never mind.

Nanook said...

Major-

What's not to like-? Great images from an Olde Time Wild West amusement park, inspired by an acid trip gone bad, is most-worthy of inclusion here. The mind boggles at the very idea of untethering that "Stage Coach Inn" to roam free and meander down the highways and byways of upstate New York. Finally a vehicle of mobility suitable for Paul Bunyan - or maybe the Jolly Green Giant-!

Major Pepperidge said...

outsidetheberm, maybe they were all out voting (applicable to California readers only, of course).

K. Martinez, it's sad that this little park was so short-lived; it barely had a chance!

D ticket, I saw that youtube video during my research, and should have linked to it. Don't know why I didn't! Fortunately you did it for me.

Alonzo, it looks a little odd, and yet I love it just the same.

Nanook, if ONLY that stagecoach building could really roll! The Amazing Colossal Man and the 50 Ft. Woman could have a swell old time.

Ikon Wolf said...

I’m impressed!

Melissa said...

Love the stagecoach-shaped building! I wonder how many horses it took to pull.

Anonymous said...

I remember riding the tram up the side of the mountain to the village when I was younger. I remember seeing Lassie, I remember the gunfights and the train rides. I still remember the smell of the saloon. Oh, to be a kid again. Fentier Village was the best!

Tom

Anonymous said...

Awsome pictures. It was only open a few yers but I went there 3 summers as a child, wonderful memories. Thanks for posting..

rob P said...

Does anyone remember opening what seemed to be a restroom door that only opened a few inches revealing a pair of fake legs blocking the door from opening appearing to be sitting on a toilet

Anonymous said...

https://www.cardcow.com/251719/cable-incline-railway-at-fentier-village-salamanca-new-york/ This is a postcard of the incline tram and Fentier Village.....

Anonymous said...

I remember the covered slide they had that I think was one of the longest at the time. You slide down inside a rectangular shaped stainless steel tube. You sat on a burlap mat, your feet were in a burlap bag and your shoulders were draped with a burlap mat. When you were set with that get-up, someone pushed you and down the hill you went. It was really neat. I don't remember how we got back up the hill though.