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Located about 8 kilometers southwest of Sarnia, Ontario, this 80- hectare park was on Stag Island in the St. Clair River. There was a beach, 100-room hotel, 6 - 8 room cottages, a dining hall, and sports & amusements. Transport to the island was via Star Line Steamers with rail transit available to the mainland dock.
The 1902 season ran from June 10th through September 10th with music provided by The Chequamegon Orchestra. Cottage rates were $95 per season that year, with the hotel at $2.50 per day or $9 & up, per week.
By 1906, another hotel had been built and a pavilion was advertised with a dining room and ball room. (It's not clear if this was an upgrade to the dining hall mentioned initially, or if it was an additional food establishment.) One of these facilities was called "La Salle Hall". Products sold in the dining hall were also offered for purchase at Island Farm.
All park buildings by then had electric light and drinking water. A total of 23 cottages were available. Amusements included croquet, tennis, bowling, bathing, boating, and fishing - with accessories and a guide provided.
Hotel rates were $2.50 & up per day, $15 - $25 per week or $95 - $125 per season for a cottage, and The Pavilion was $8 a day for accommodation.
By 1909, a baseball team had been in existence for a number of years made up of university students whom worked at the resort during their off-study time. Only 21 cottages (22 in another ad) were advertised, so either one or two older ones were removed, or were perhaps destroyed by fire or bad weather. Golf was advertised for that season.
The 1909 season saw The Godman Guild, a group of 30 athletic girls and their instructors from Ohio, summer at the park. They occupied the largest cottage on the island, actually the former home of Jacob Hain from Port Huron.
Business must have dropped off because the 1910 rates had dropped to $10 - $13 per week for the hotel and $30 - $100 per season for a cottage. Considering the competition from nearby resorts on the mainland by 1910, it's not surprising that rates fell.
The park seems to have fallen on harder times after World War I. Although season rates were up to $150, the hotel base rates were #1.00 - $1.50 per day and as low as only $8 per week in 1921. The following year, the park came under new management. Still, business must have declined because cottages and land began to be offered for sale in the area, many at bargain rates. A July 2, 1925 ad states "At Stag Island - 10 Cottages to Rent". Ads on July 12 and July 19 still offered cottages. Although this was for weekends, it shows that accommodations not available in previous years that late after the start of the season, were able to be rented.
A July 12, 1927 "Detroit News" ad proclaims: "Spend Your Vacation at Beautiful Stag Island Summer Resort in Canadian Waters". It then mentions Furnished Cottages and Hotel Accommodations were available. The park was serviced by the ferry "Wauketa".
The only other information is that a roller coaster was built there around 1928. Considering it wasn't mentioned in the 1927 ad, 1928 seems a logical assumption for its opening. The park may not have survived The Depression and folded in the 1930's.
|Thanks to Detroit-area resident Mike Schulte for suggesting this park and providing information.|
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