Long Branch Park
|Long Branch Park|
Long Branch Park about 1900
|Location||3813 Long Branch Road on north shore of Onondaga Lake
Geddes, New York
Long Branch Park is a public park in Onondaga County outside of Syracuse, New York, located in the town of Geddes, New York on Long Branch Road near NYS Route 370 and John Glenn Boulevard. The park is situated on the northern shore of Onondaga Lake and is often misidentified as an extension of Onondaga Lake Park which wraps around the eastern shore of the lake to the south shore.
In 1882, Ben Maurer and George Maurer purchased the land and developed Long Branch Amusement Park on the northern shore of Onondaga Lake. The name of the park came from the "famed" Chestnut trees that grew in the area.
In 1925, the welcoming sign to the park boasted "New Long Branch Amusement Park -- Let All Who Enter Here Leave Care Behind."
The park offered attractions that were family oriented including playgrounds, picnic areas, baseball games, skating parties and Fourth of July fireworks. For the sportsman, the park offered ice boating, row boating, bowling alleys, a billiards room and a shooting gallery. Additionally, the park had boxing arenas, an arcade and a trolley.
Amusement park demise
On September 15, 1912, a tornado swept through the park, destroying 40 homes. Ben Maurer rebuilt the park which survived for another 26 years before its final demise in 1938.
A combination of growing pollution in the lake and the fact that trolley services to the lake had been discontinued and the increased popularity of the automobile, all contributed to the final closure of the park.
County owned public park
The abandoned Onondaga Salt Springs Reservation became a dumping ground in the early 20th century, however, the Great Depression brought new life to the area when Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt turned the State land over to Onondaga County during the New Deal era. Funding from the Work relief program, Onondaga County Emergency Work Bureau helped the county turn the area into Long Branch Park, a public park, during the early 1930s.
The park is located at the northern end of Onondaga Lake Park at 3813 Long Branch Road and is made up of three reserved shelters; Riverview, Glen and Knoll as well as a 100 feet (30 m) sledding hill. Major annual events held here include the Great American Antiquefest and the Scottish Games.
Long Branch Park is open year round and offers a sledding hill in winter, cross-country skiing, vantages for high school and college Regatta events and multiple activities during warmer months. Local schools use the park for sports activities; mainly track and field. Some popular annual events at Long Branch Park include an extensive antique festival, numerous automotive shows, Oktoberfest, Scottish Festival, outdoor theater and other local events.
In the summer of 2006, Long Branch Park was expanded to include the addition of a small sub-park with paved walkways, a parking area and children's playground.
The carousel was brought to Long Branch Park around 1926 where it remained for the next 15 years. After the park closed in 1938, the carousel was purchased at an auction in 1941 by Roseland Park in Canandaigua, New York where it was in use for another 43 years.
The Pyramid Companies' later purchased the carousel at auction and restored it to its original condition and it is now the "centerpiece" of the Destiny USA shopping mall located on the south side of the lake where it is still in use.
- Antiquefest - Annual event in July.
- Bavarianfest: First Sunday of August each year – Live music, dancing, German food and drink, Schuhplattler and folk dance performances, and Gemütlichkeit.
- Walk MS (Multiple Sclerosis) - Sponsored by MS Society - Early May.
- Scottish Games - Annual event in August, celebrated for over 69 years.