Lake Erie Photo Prints for Sale
GPS: Parking area off of Rt 5: N 42.76357 / W 78.87845
Directions: From Buffalo (north): Take the Buffalo Skyway (Rt 5) south through Lackawana and along Lake Erie for 18 miles. Right after passing Jerusalem Corners Cemetery and the First Church of Evans on your left, turn right onto Sturgeon Point Rd and then take the 1st left onto County Rd 127/Lake Shore Rd and go one mile. Take the 2nd right into the park.
From Erie/Dunkirk (south): You can follow Rt 5 (Lakeshore Rd) north past Angola and into Evans Center and take a left onto Bennett Road. Turn Right onto Dennis Road and look for the park entrance on the left.
Use Google Directions.
Parking: The park road leads to a large parking lot that can easily accommodate a few hundred cars.
Seasons/Hours: Open year-round from 7am to dusk (Winter) or 9pm (Summer).
Best time to visit: Summer.
Time: One can stop and see the lake within a few minutes. A picnic, swimming, and a walk circling the park could be an hour or more.
Handicap accessibility: No. We did not find this park to have adequate access for people with disabilities (in 2013).
Pets: Erie County park rules state: Dogs must be licensed and kept on leash at ALL TIMES. YOU MUST CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR DOG. Dogs are not allowed on county beaches.
Swimming: A beautiful sandy beach offers guarded swimming from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend when water conditions allow. Call (716) 947-5660 for specifics.
Boat launch: Hand launch of kayaks and canoes is possible. No large trailer launch is at this park. Use the boat launch to the north at Sturgeon Point Marina.
Accommodations: Swimming beach; restrooms; playground; playing fields; pavilion.
Erie County Parks, Recreation & Forestry
Phone: (716) 858-8355
With the busy Sturgeon Point Marina just to the north, and the popular swimming spot at Bennett Beach just to the south, this moderately-sized lakefront county park is easily overlooked. And not just by visitors, as it seems the county budget and maintenance has also ignored this park for years. From Lakeshore Road, Wendt Beach Park seems like just a bunch of soccer fields surrounded by woods. But back towards Lake Erie is where all the wasted potential lies. The once grand estate of the Wendt family was converted to a beautiful and well-equipped county park nearly a hundred years ago. The beautiful Wendt Mansion, cabin and stables are there, with the stables now serving as a public restroom, but the old vacation home has been boarded up and abused, and everything else seems to have been rotting for the last decade or so.
But beyond the crumbling mansion through the grassy dune it was built upon, lies a beautiful sandy beach that offers a wonderful experience. Although invasive Zebra Mussels have choked the offshore bedrock of this lake and stocked the beaches with billions of white shells, years of erosion have broken them and softened a great deal of them, almost forming a white sand, that adds to the beauty of a lot of places. That isn’t to say that the mussel shells aren’t a problem. Larger, less weathered shells are still sharp to bare feet. But here, with the beautiful orange sand, colorful round pebbles, and relatively clean, clear water, we found the white layers of shells to only add to the character. Beauty aside, easily the most appealing trait of Wendt Beach is that it has guarded swimming, and not many people know about it (or just head right to Bennett Beach instead). So there are plenty of times you can go there and you can have the whole place to yourself (and the lifeguard). The beach being pretty narrow, and backed up to a grassy bluff adds to the sense of seclusion and privacy too. You can’t hear anything but the waves and boats passing by, and it is a wonderful place to pop out a folding chair, take in the sun, and read a book.
So despite the park’s infrastructure (and its history) being in desperate need of attention, we highly recommend this park if you want to enjoy the beach, but not the typical beach environment.
Distance: A walk around the park is no more than a half-mile.
Description: There are no defined trails here. Just walk around the boundaries of the park and along the beach.
Map: Check out our interactive map.
View Wendt Beach Park in a larger map
The park used to be the summer residence of Buffalo Forge Company tycoon and innovator, Henry Wendt and family. Dubbed “The Ridgewood,” their estate included a summer home, the white Wendt Mansion, that overlooks the lake; a log cabin guesthouse (currently a cabin available for rent); a garage with chauffeur’s quarters ; a horse stable; and a pumphouse for irrigating the beautiful gardens the estate once had. The Wendt Mansion was Originally built on a dune closer to the lake, but due to the threat of erosion, it was moved to its current location just beyond the dune.The interior of the mansion has a spiral staircase, dark wood trim, and bay windows overlooking the lake.
The Wendt family granted the property to the county for use as a public park and it has been enjoyed for many years, but the buildings were not kept up to standards. The Wendt Mansion was boarded up, but vandalized in 2007 when thieves broke in and cut out the copper plumbing, leaving the basement to flood. It was vandalized again in 2010, and windows and paneling were smashed. It has since been sitting there is horrible shape, waiting to be torn down. There was some interest in allowing a private company to restore and operate the Wendt Mansion as a B&B, but nothing has come of it.
When we visited the park in 2013, pretty much everything was in rough shape. The parking area was crumbling, the restroom facility was in need of cleaning and a paint job, and the once-beautiful Wendt Mansion was crumbling before our eyes.
New York State Route 5
Beginning at the Pennsylvania state line in the Town of Ripley, State Route 5 spans 370 miles west to east across New York, passing through Buffalo, Syracuse, Utica, and Schenectady, ending up in Albany. Along the way it overlaps with State Route 20, leading to the common name of both routes as simply “5 & 20.” Several small towns and cities, as well as countless curiosities, eateries, and historic sites can be experienced along its path.
Born in Buffalo, NY on June 19, 1863, he progressed through the public school system and learned the machinist trade in the Buffalo Forge Company where his brother owned half interest, before buying out the second owner. At a time when the local blacksmith was becoming a thing of the past, Buffalo Forge was introducing machine-driven forges and bellows, increasing manufacturing efficiency for all metal work. The automated movement of air became a booming business for Buffalo Forge. Henry became a member of the firm in 1886, and went on to design and install large heating and ventilation systems around the US. He held several patents and many of his innovations changed the way HVAC industry operates. Buffalo Forge’s three primary lines, consisting of pumps, machine tools, and air-handling equipment, grew successfully for over a century. The Wendts maintained ownership of the company until 1941 when its ownership was expanded to include a public stock offering. It currently operates under ownership of Howden of the UK, with Howden Buffalo Inc still in service in Buffalo. The machining division spun off as Buffalo Machine Inc.
Henry’s primary home still stands on 120 Lincoln Parkway, in Buffalo.
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