Saturday, October 3, 2015

Crystal Beach's art deco look


Crystal Beach, near Fort Erie, Ontario, started its existence as a picnic grove and campground in the 1880s. People could camp there seasonally and enjoy their time on the beach, which had beautiful sand. 

After Crystal Beach became an amusement park, it underwent a number of changes. Bill Kae described those changes in his presentation to the members and friends of the Grand Island Historical Society on Thursday, October 1st. He talked about the first dock, which was very rickety and was the victim of a storm in September 1900, along with catwalks, a bath house, and other structures. He talked about a hotel, which was only partially insured, that burned down in 1893.  He talked about cottages that were built early in the history of Crystal Beach to make camping there even more fun. He talked about a dance hall that was built in 1924.


Beginning in the 1940s, the midway was transformed to an "art deco" look by John Ray. The transformation was "a progression over the years," said Bill Kae. Art deco is also called "art moderne." It was employed mostly in the decorative arts and in architecture. The style employed simple, clean shapes and geometric or stylized ornamentation.

Bill Kae said that John Ray's trademarks were "bright, vivid colors and backlighting." He described the bingo hall as "very art deco" and the "frolicland sign" as another interesting example of art deco architecture.

Art deco gives the impression of being mass produced but, in fact, it is not. The materials tend to be varied and expensive, including odd combinations of plastic, jade, and silver.

John Ray also designed the art deco look of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. A year later, John Ray passed away.

Art deco structures can still be found in many places, including in downtown Buffalo.
This is an example of a very large piece of art deco architecture. Buffalo's City Hall, designed by John Wade, with assistance from George Dietel, was completed in 1931. This art deco structure is one of the tallest municipal buildings in the United States (378 feet or 115.2 meters). Albert Stewart designed the friezes and Rene Paul Chambellan created the sculptures. 


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

That city hall building reminds me of the stylized look of the buildings in Gotham City! Very cool!

Debbie said...

It is so interesting that one plot of land can be so many different things, over the years. :-)

Candess M. Campbell PhD said...

What beautiful photos and such a peaceful blog. It is great to have the history of a city remembered and honored in this way.

Candess M. Campbell PhD said...

What beautiful photos and such a peaceful blog. It is great to have the history of a city remembered and honored in this way.

Alyce Eccentrick said...

Thank you, all, for your comments! They are much appreciated!

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