Boblo Island

Happy Wednesday! Here today is a neat postcard shot that was from the later years of Boblo Island.

The caption on the back reads:

    One of the many attractions that can be found on this beautiful Canadian island amusement park. Accessible only by boat, Boblo Island offers many exciting rides, shows and attractions for the entire family.

Also… Don’t forget about your chance to get a copy of the 2013 International Metropolis calendar. It makes a great gift, order now to guarantee arrival for the holidays. Only two more weeks until the pre-sale closes.

13 Comments on Boblo Island

  1. Only went to Boblo once when I was a kid while it was an amusement park. Good times!
    Now it’s full of summer homes in which (75%) of them were built hastily and have had pipes burst. (I deal with insurance work).
    I’m very happy to hear they are restoring or have restored? the single remaining British Block House that served as an outpost for defenses for Fort Malden during the Rebellion of 1838.

  2. Readers might be interested to know that Bob-lo was an anglicized version of “Isle aux Bois Blancs”. The French at Detroit learned that Huron and Algonkian tribes found the island a plentiful supply of white birch to build and repair their canoes. Fr. de la Richardie, S.J., was sent to Detroit to further the conversion of Hurons on both sides of the river. He built a mission church on Bois Blanc in 1742, calling it “the Mission of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary among the Hurons”. French settlers began using land on the Sandwich (Windsor) side of the river, along with the mission church. A Marentette ancestor married in that church on Bois Blanc in 1743, the first recorded marriage of European settlers in Essex County. Hurons continued to resist conversion and even attacked and destroyed the church in 1746. The Hurons built a large village on the south shore at the end of a trail eventually named Huron Church Line. Fr. Richardie’s replacement, Fr. Potier built a church at that site in 1749, re-using the mission name from Bois Blanc. This of course became the site of the present Assumption Church at the foot of the Ambassador Bridge. Bois Blanc fell into British hands in 1760 with the French defeat. Bois Blanc eventually emerged as the Boblo amusement park of our childhood.

  3. It’s a shame they closed Boblo. Imagine the boost this would give the local economy if it was still open? Hotels, shopping in Amherstburg and Windsor?

  4. Its a shame they closed Boblo, the last operator of the park went broke. Browning steamship Company sold it to Michigan Automobile Club, they sold to the last operator who closed it.
    It seems people preffered to drive to Cedar Pointe instead of taking a boat ride. Cedar Pointe prospered and Boblo went broke.

  5. Unfortunately Boblo just could not compete with Cedar Point and Wonderland.

    When I was in grade school, the school board would reward the safety patrol crossing guards with a day at Boblo.

    I still have the “Let’s Twist Again” theme song in my head from the commercials.

  6. Yes ALde. I remember going as a safety patrol too! I believe it could’ve competed with the bigger parks because economically it would save families money becuase admission is cheaper and they don’t have to spend a fortune on gas.

  7. I have many happy memories of Sunday afternoons at Bob-Lo. The little ferry from Amherstburg was always packed with visitors and there were lots of queues for the rides. I my recollection at least, Bob-Lo was a clean sort of place and the prices for tickets were great too. My cousins and I once took the big ferry (SS Columbia) from Detroit and it was VERY scary and we were afraid to go to the bathroom. We couldn’t wait to get off and rather than go back that way, we took the Amherstburg ferry and had to wait for hours on the Sun Parlour coach to take us back to Windsor.

    The only negative thing I can recall about Bob-Lo were the catering concessions. They were crap and very overpriced so we always brought a picnic with us.

    Happy days indeed in the mid sixties.

  8. I have been working with a biologist over on Bob-lo Island throughout the past couple years doing endangered plant/tree and animal studies and inventories. The decaying hulks of the old dock landing and entrance canopy, and the bumper car ride building are still standing, but, slowly falling into the earth. It is a very erie place to explore, and funny enough, some of the plants we are documenting are overtaking the old structures that are still standing, looking like something out of a horror flick.

    I recall the park from when I was a kid, but that has all changed drastically now… not one indication of The Wild Mouse, Ferris Wheel or the other Roller Coaster rides – except for maybe a plant covered and cracked cement pad that they were standing on. A few piles of rusty metal here and there, rotting wood, and vine-covered, poison ivy infested buildings in the old amusement park area are all that remain. The north end of the island, however, has been populated with multi-million dollar mansions. The south end is a nature preserve and a white sandy beach where boaters spend their summer days sunning, no doubt.

    Also, over the time we spent working there, we watched the block house near the south end go from a decrepit rotting pile of well over 300 year old oak timber to a restored structure. They did a great job – although I noticed they used a softwood instead of oak for the repair (what does that tell you about the availability of large timber/trees these day?) Some of the large scale replacement timber measured at least 12 x 16 inches by 18 feet in length. It must be difficult to find craftsmen to do large dimension timber reconstructions and restorations in this day and age.

    I have photos of the old buildings that I can send you Andrew, if you wish.

  9. i remember as a kid going to BOB-Lo when chrysler’s had their picnic their my old man never went but my mother myself and my kid brother would take the Columbia from the foot of Ouellette i’d hang out with my friends for a couple hours then had to take my brother on the kiddie rides as he wasn’t tall enough to ride the bigger rides i proposed to my first wife on the mouse

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