Crystal Beach opened in the late 1880s as a vacation place. The man who originally founded it, John Rebestock, also built a surrounding town, called Crystal Beach. People traveled to Crystal Beach, Ontario, from Buffalo, New York, via steamers and ferry. In the early days, Crystal Beach had a hotel and rickety dock. After the hotel burned to the ground in 1893, the place nearly went bankrupt. In 1907, Crystal Beach was transformed. A midway was built, as well as an amusement park. The first roller coaster was built in 1908. It traveled at a very peaceful six miles per hour. By 1910, the slow roller coaster was replaced by the "Backety Back Roller Coaster." It was one of a kind. No others like it ever existed. In fact, the builder of that roller coaster constructed only three or four roller coasters in his entire career.
Bill Kae came to the Grand Island Historical Society to share the history of Crystal Beach. It was an interesting presentation. In this blog post, I will focus on the story of the roller coasters.