Crystal Beach Hill
Crystal Beach Hill is a geologically old natural sand dune, fifty feet high and originally about two thousand feet long, parallel to the shoreline of Crystal Beach on the south-eastern shore of Lake Erie, in the Village of Crystal Beach and the Town of Fort Erie, Ontario. The "Hill" and beach were originally a part of the property first developed in 1888 by John E. Rebstock as a health spa, religious Chautauqua and later an amusement park, all built where a portion of the pre-historic sand dune was washed away by Rebstock's hydraulic pumps. The site of the park now holds a private housing development.
The "Hill" was an area where early workers and park "carneys" were leased land by the Crystal Beach Company and allowed to build (usually) one-room shacks for their off-hours living quarters. Near the western foot of the Hill, on the "Flats", three "Customs Cottages" were built as residences for the number of international customs and immigration officers required to handle the thousands of daily boat visitors to Crystal Beach Park and the adjoining beach.
In 1982, with the amusement park in financial difficulties, the Crystal Beach Company sold the land comprising the hill jointly to its residents. The 40 "shacks" that were built on the dune, for and by park workers, are now fully equipped summer homes, fronting directly on the beach. The "Hill" offers the best view for miles of the beach and bay. With the former "Customs Cottages", these homes now comprise a gated community, the "Crystal Beach Hill Cottagers Organization", called the "Crystal Beach Hill Association", a family-oriented compound where many cottages still house second- and third-generation residents of the "Hill".