We recently paid a visit to Shermans Amusement Park on West Caroga Lake. Although the resort has been open only sporadically for many years, the buildings are in surprisingly good repair. Local fishermen told us that the park has been closed for about five years but that the last owner, George Abdella, did make substantial investments to bring it back from a previous state of near-abandonment. (For those interested, the hundred acre site and 1400 foot shorefront are being offered for $2 million by Weichart Realty)
On a date at Shermans, 1931
Mary, Betty & Kay ready to go dancing at Shermans, 1926
However, we were there not to search for real estate bargains but to pursue memories of that bygone age when the first inexpensive automobiles brought throngs of summer visitors to the Caroga region, when a host of summer camps sprang up, and the music of Sherman’s carousel drifted across the lake.
A champion swimmer at Shermans, 1929
Our first stop at Shermans was the snack bar. Nothing to eat, of course, but we did see rolls of 15 cent tickets for the various rides and attractions. Back in the 1950s, a series of tame monkeys held court on this spot, dashing up and down a pole and catching all the popcorn that could be tossed in their direction. (Mr. Sherman's platinum-haired daughter presided as the Popcorn Lady at this location.)
We then took a look at the old dance hall, which dates back to the 1920s, and saw that the dance floor is still ready for a foxtrot or two. Back in those years, couples paid a dime a dance and passed through a turnstile to the dance floor. (Wallflowers could save money.)
From the dance hall, we passed to the Ferris Wheel, which was closely examined by a young man in our company. He wondered where people sat.
Next stop was the bumper car pavilion, where gleeful youngsters once slammed into each other amid a shower of sparks.
And then on to the carousel where the horses look ready to ride. These are the original horses, we were told, and they were carefully refurbished by the most recent owner.
Just to the west, Canada Lake and Pine Lake were also the scene of many summer frolics of long ago, and Groshans Park on Pine Lake offered some of the same features as Shermans: rides, picnic areas, a beach and a dance hall.
The Allen Inn at Canada Lake, 1935
Ready for boating on Canada Lake, c. 1925
Groshans Park at Pine Lake, 1925 (postcard)
Before leaving the Caroga region, we stopped for a picnic and swim at the state park on East Caroga Lake. The park is much the same as it was decades ago, according to the oldest member of our band.
Picnic at East Caroga Lake, 1929
and more recently