Have You Ever Heard Of Summit Park In Oriskany?
Did you know Oriskany was home to an amusement park called Summit Park?
Summit Park opened in 1897 and was a summer attraction every year from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It's last season was in 1926.
According to MSN, through the years of operation the park featured amusement rides, boating on the Oriskany Creek, a dance hall, and an amphitheater. In 1910, the amphitheater had a crowd of around 10,000 people where President Theodore Roosevelt addressed Central New York. The park was built a little at a time. It had a dance hall, restaurant, and a fountain with a Native American statue on it. There were two cups at the fountain and anyone who wanted a drink had to drink from the same cups.
For rides and attractions they had a merry-go-round, a roller coaster, boat rides on the Oriskany Creek, and an observation deck. According to Roots Web, to get to the park, there was a trolley ride up Oklahoma Avenue. To return, they would have to take the trolley back out of the park.
"In 1959, the site reopened under new ownership as Summit Park Playground, boasting the 'largest and safest pool in New York State' along with volleyball courts, a baseball diamond, concession stand and 'acres of picnic grounds,'" reads a statement from the Oriskany Museum. But the park was sold again in 1966, never to reopen as a recreation spot."
People went to the park because it was inexpensive, and it was a fun place to go. Summit Park had some of the major new attractions at that time like the roller coaster.
The William G. Pomeroy Foundation blames the popularity of cars for the end of Summit Park. Cars increased distances the average family was able to travel to seek recreation. The people who used to go to Summit Park were traveling to Sylvan Beach on the shores of Oneida Lake for their entertainment locally at that point.
Today, nothing remains of the former amusement park. All that is left are remnants of building foundations, and a few wooden stairs that were used to go down to the Oriskany Creek for the boat rides. Over the years there have been a few attempts to develop the land, but nothing has come to fruition. After it closed, the roller coaster was blown down during a wind storm, and the hand carved merry-go-round was sold to an amusement park on Florida.