Midway State Park Manager Is Historical Society Guest Speaker

The Bemus Point Historical Society will host Marla Connelly, Midway State Park manager, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Long one of the Chautauqua Region’s most popular attractions, the 121-year old park began its history in 1898 as what was then known as a “trolley park,” although it was served by both the JWNW trolley and Chautauqua Lake’s historic steamboats.

It remains today, the 16th oldest continually operating amusement parks in the United States.

The park was privately owned by several private individuals including Thomas Carr, and two generations of the Walsh family of Maple Springs. In 2005, Mike and Janis Walsh reached an agreement with the Office of New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for the agency to acquire the facility. That transaction culminated with ownership being transferred to the state of New York at the conclusion of the 2006 season.

Today, the park contains picnic shelter pavilions, 18 kid-friendly amusement rides, a museum, its own train, and a great miniature golf course. The course replaced an aged predecessor links several years ago. The new course was a public-private initiative designed and underwritten with the assistance of volunteers of the Friends of Midway, a not-for-profit group of local residents and summer visitors in 2010.

Much has transpired since the park closed for the fall in 2018. Several additional rides have been acquired and, with the help of the “Friends,” are being restored and installed under an initiative called “Transforming History into New Memories.”

Connelly serves as the park manager for Midway, Long Point, and the area’s newest state park at the Barcelona Light House.

There is no charge for these monthly presentations although the society always welcomes new members.