Krull Park, Olcott Beach, Carousel Park

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Location / Directions / Maps

Location: Hamlet of  Olcott; Town of NewfaneNiagara County; NY

Address: 6108 Lake Road, Olcott, NY 14126

Maps: Google MapMulti-Map (topo)Bird’s-eye view; Interactive

GPS: Old hotel and swimming area: N 43.33915 / W 78.71291;
Carousel Park: N 43.33862 / W 78.71340;
Entrance: N 43.33818 / W 78.70784

Directions: Take Rt 104 to Rt 78 and head north for about 7 miles to Olcott. Turn right onto E Lake Rd (Rt 18) and it immediately passes through the park.

Or use Google Directions

Parking: Parking is available in various lots along the park loop off of E Lake Rd. A large lot is located at the eastern terminal end of E Main St and a smaller one on the west side of the park at Franklin St. Road-side parking is also available along E Main St. Additional parking for the Lakeview Village can be found at the median on Lockport Olcott Rd between E Main and Ontario Streets.

Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

Latest Newfane, New York, weather conditions and forecast

Seasons/Hours: Krull Park is open year-round, 7am to 9pm.

Carousel Park is open from Memorial Day weekend through the first week in October. 12pm – 6pm (until 8pm in July and Aug).

Ice skating rink times: call 716-778-7711

Summer concerts: schedule
Best time to visit: Year-round.

Admission: Free

Handicap accessibility: Yes, most areas. Not the beach.

Pets: On leash, with proof of inoculation.

Accommodations: Restrooms (4); pavilions/shelters (several); softball diamonds; soccer fields; basketball and tennis courts; horseshoe pits; model airplane field; playgrounds (2); splash pool; trash containers; sandy beach (swimming); historic markers; winter skating rink; concert venue; garden.

Swimming: Yes, in the guarded area only. Summer (Memorial Day weekend through September), 12pm though 7pm, weather permitting.

Boat launch: No boat launch at this park. To launch, use the town Marina off of W Main St. (map). The marina has a public launch, slips, restrooms, and showers.

Map: Interactive.

Contact Information

Description

Olcott Beach LighthouseNiagara County’s Krull Park is a beautiful recreational complex with excellent views and access to Lake Ontario. Located twenty miles east of the Niagara River in the small Hamlet of Olcott, the park serves thousands of visitors from around the Niagara region. When we visited on a hot summer day in 2008, the park was packed with families laughing and playing, the beach was full of swimmers, playing fields echoed with cheering fans, and a motorcycle charity ride was passing by. Even with all the activity, we still found the park to be relaxing and a pleasure to explore.

The 325 acre park had its beginnings in the late 19th century when lakeside tourism was an important revenue stream for the railroad industry. Railroads built tracks to serve businesses, but quickly realized they could add on extensions that led to beaches and parks and sell passenger tickets too. In fact, a lot of lakeside resorts in the US were first constructed by the railroad industry for the sole purpose of having a destination for people to travel to. (See also Ontario Beach Park in Rochester). Olcott Beach was a popular resort destination up until the late 1930s when the last of the great hotels of the resort was demolished. Remnants of the foundation to the Olcott Beach Hotel stand today just south of the swimming beach at Krull Park. The stonework walls add a bit of character to the park, and pique interest into the history of the site.

The section of the park north of Main Street is often referred to as Olcott Beach, as it was known back in the resort times, is a shaded mix of walkways, pavilions, picnic tables and restrooms. Although most of the lakefront is overgrown and several jetties have been constructed to thwart erosion, you can still find a table with a nice view past the trees. The sandy swimming beach is the only accessible shore at the park. It’s not huge, but sufficient. Olcott Beach not only housed the hotel, but also a pine grove with a rental cottage, cleared areas with a carousel, trolley ride, and grand bandstand. Today it’s primarily used for picnics, but a small lakeside bandstand, not nearly as grand as the Rustic Theater that once stood here, hosts concerts on Sunday afternoons in late summer. (schedule)

South of Olcott Beach is the family recreation portion of the park. The newly planted Memorial Tree Garden is sure to grow in nicely over the next few decades, but is easily ignored now. Further south, numerous small shelters host family parties, while the two playgrounds and decent-sized splash pool get heavy summer traffic. You will also find the basketball and tennis courts alongside the park road. For those that need peace and quiet, numerous groves in this section offer a peaceful spot to sit and read and relax in the shade.

The massive southeast portion of the park is where all the sport and playing fields are located. Amateur league teams often play here, but most of the time you can find an open field. Aside from the baseball diamonds and soccer fields, this park also has a designated model airplane field and even horseshoe pits. In winter, the park still attracts visitors for cross-country skiing, ice-skating (in two locations), and comfort them with a warming house and vending machines. In fact there are so many things to do in Krull Park year-round, we consider it one of the best family parks to visit in Western New York, and certainly one of the better maintained.

Just to the west of Krull Park is one of the regions hidden treasures, Olcott Beach Carousel Park. This recently-restored amusement park, was spearheaded and is now operated by community volunteers to help bring back some of the amusement park flavor the hamlet once had. The goal of Olcott Beach Carousel Park, Inc. (a not-for-profit) was to build a 1940s kiddy amusement park like the one that originally operated here.

Old buildings, including a carousel house, were reconstructed and a 1928 Allen Herschell carousel (similar to the one it originally housed) was installed. Several other classic rides, an arcade hall, and a family entertainment theater were also built. All rides cost a quarter, making this a delight for not only kids, but also their parents’ pocketbook.

The recreational park, swimming opportunities, shops, eateries, kiddy amusement park, and the bit of history that follows it all is what makes Olcott a fantastic day trip for the entire family. There is plenty to keep the kids busy, and more than enough to entertain the adults for a full day with next to nothing in cost. Genesee County, and the Olcott community have a real winner here and we certainly hope it pays off and brings back a second tourism era for their community.

Krull Park, Olcott Beach

Hiking / Walking Trails

Difficulty: Easy.

Markings: Paved park road.

Distance: About a mile.

Description: The only thing close to a trail here is the paved park road that loops around the recreation area (playgrounds and splash pools). It’s a flat, one-way road with no obstacles and not much to see other than screaming kids. Paved walkways also crisscross the lake-side portion of the park.

Map: Interactive

Krull Park Interactive Map

Drag the map or click the arrows to move around and use the +/- to zoom in or out. Click on the icons for more information. This map is not accurate. Caution and common sense should be used when hiking.

View Krull Park, Olcott in a larger map

History

In the late 1800s Olcott’s Eighteen Mile Creek harbor served as the port for nearby inland cities, bringing much prosperity to the lakeside community. With the help of Burt Van Horn, a US representative for the State of New York, the harbor was developed with piers and a lighthouse. With the opening of the Erie Canal, people and goods could be shipped to Olcott’s harbor from as far as Canada and then moved by wagon or train to Lockport where they could be distributed around the state on the canal system. With the rail already transporting goods to and from Olcott, it was logical to extend it to take tourists right to the beach. And since the rail would run infrequently, hotels and other accommodations would be needed. Within a couple of years Olcott had become a resort hotspot. At one time there were 8 hotels, the largest being the Olcott Beach Hotel (the remains now a part of Krull Park). Restaurants (such as the Castle Inn), concert venues (the Rustic Theater), and amusement parks (such as Dreamland) sprang up to keep visitors busy for days on end. At the height of Olcott’s tourism boom, the rail brought in over 100,000 tourists each year.

The Olcott Beach Hotel was a grand lakeside resort with its own pier, sandy beach, and Amusement rides. Built by the International Railway Company in 1902, it featured over 100 guest rooms, 14,000 sq. ft ballroom, beauty salon, barber shop, game room, and lake-view veranda. Due to both a crumbling foundation and tourism industry, the hotel was demolished in 1937.

Like many lakeside resorts in New York (see Ontario Beach Park and Onondaga Lake) several factors contributed to its decline. For one, most people could not afford luxury during the Great Depression. Second, the rapid adoption of the automobile by American families, allowed people to skip the train and trolley and drive themselves to the beach. There they would spend the day and then drive back that night, negating the need for hotels. By the late 1930s most tourism institutions at Olcott had disappeared.

Vintage Views

Old Resort Locations

 

Interesting Stuff

Olcott Beach Hotel Pier

The concrete platform about 500 ft out from the sandy beach, is actually the remains of the Olcott Beach Hotel’s pier. The pier was used as both a viewing platform and a dock for steamboats that brought in visitors. The narrower arm of the pier that extends to the platform has since been eroded away, but remnants can be seen on satellite photos.

Shopping and Eats

The Lakeview Village Shoppes, located on Ontario St, west of the Carousel Park, is a small complex if not tiny, featuring independent specialty stores. There is not much to it, but for a quick snack, ice cream, and a bit of shopping as a break from a day at the park, it really cannot be beat. (map)

Lighthouse

The Olcott Light is located on the northern end of Lockport Olcott Rd. The lighthouse was built in 1873 on the end of a pier extending along the western bank of Eighteen Mile Creek during a boom in Canada-US shipping traffic in the late 1800s. It was decommissioned in the early 1930s and then dismantled. The Olcott Lighthouse Society raised the funds to reconstruct the light in 2003. No blueprints or schematics were available, so experts based the new build on historic photographs. Today the 27 foot tall light is located on the eastern shore of the creek. It does light up, but is not a navigational signal as it once was. The interior houses historic photos of the light and tourist information. (map)

The Van Horn Mansion was built by Judge James Van Horn in 1823. It is the site of the Town of Newfane’s first town meeting, April 6, 1824. The name for the Town of Newfane is believed to have been chosen by Mrs. Abigail James Van Horn, wife of Judge James Van Horn. The Mansion includes 16 rooms and five bathrooms. It is located on Lockport-Olcott Road in Niagara County, New York on Route 78 and is also considered to be haunted. It is one of many National Register of Historic Places in Niagara County. (source: wikipedia)

Photography Tips

Hotel Ruins

  • They aren’t really the ruins of the hotel. They were built over some of the remaining foundation. But they look fantastic. Use them as foreground material for your lake scenes.

Birding

  • The old pier platform or the jetties are great locations for sea birds or migrants to stop. Bring a long lens or scope and spot them from the park above the beach.

More tips

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