[In 1907, at the apex of its Golden Age, Sylvan Beach boasted] eleven living hotels, twelve respectable boarding houses, three hundred and sixty home-1ike cottages, three boat liveries for aqua cruising as well as angling, electric lights courtesy of Cottmam’s power plant and, more importantly, people to fill and use these facilities.
Looking down the beach from the point near today’s Canal View Restaurant, we gaze at the seemingly endless broad promenade, the boardwalk, stretching from the
Leland Hotel which, by the way, was established in 1896 by Charles Scoville and operates its own steamer, the Lottie, to the elegant Saint Charles.
Shops along this walkway, typified by C. M. Williams’ Post Cards and Tin Types, provide diversion for the afternoon stroller. The beach itself is famed for its fine white sand, equalled by no other place on earth. Extending out into the lake is the commodious Rowe Brothers’ Bath House, with accommodations and suits for gents and ladies. Prices are always reasonable. The toboggan slides, thrilling spills into ecstasy, are a big attraction for bathers and frolickers for miles around.
Through three real estate investments in June of 1902, Cavana secured ownership of Sylvan Beach’s Carnival Park (the amusement area). The Midway of that day sprawled through the area of the point and meandered down along the riverbank. . . . Fewer permanent buildings existed then: the “pitch men” and concession
operators arrived each summer, erected their tents and left in early September. “Rollie coasters” and carousels gave thrills and chills to the Midway patrons. The most famous carousel, constructed by Joseph Cottman in 1896, prided itself in its hand-carved German horses and carriages. This carousel was a gilded monument to a gilded age. To enliven the Midway, Cavana imported high divers of both sexes (the lady being the most popular, of course, since her fall thrust her bathing suit into the liberating breeze). Trapeze artists and acrobats adorned a festive program. Rides in Carnival Park varied from the “Ocean Wave,” where people twirled about on a circular flexible seating platform, to the “Cave of the Winds,” a self explanatory sensation. Artists decorated the rides, one of which was the “Trip to hell,” a voyage into a dazzling mephisto abyss.