HomeAmusement ParksWenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park)

Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Bay City MI

Address: 4444 National Ave
City: Bay City
State: MI
Zip: 48706
County: Bay
Number of visits to this page: 29471
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Please note that location entries may feature older photos or post card views that may not represent the current appearance, features, addresses, phone numbers, or contact names of the attraction. This site is intended to be a historical as well as current record of various attractions but it is not always possible to have up-to-date information due to the vast number of locations featured here. We ask you consult the propietor for current information.

General Information:

From Wikipedia

Wenona Beach Amusement Park was an amusement park in Bay County, Michigan located along the Saginaw Bay near Bangor Township and the mouth of the Saginaw River. The park opened in 1887 and closed in 1964.

Wenona Beach Amusement Park was preceded by the O-at-ka Beach, and in 1876 by the Bay View Resort. The resort was home to a brawl between Fabian Joe Fournier, who helped inspire Paul Bunyan legends, and Blinky Robertson prior to Fournier's murder on the Water Street steamboat dock.

Wenona Beach Entertainment Center, later Wenona Beach Amusement Park, was founded in 1887 by lumber barons such as Spencer O. Fisher, Henry H. Aplin, and Theodore F. Shepard. They contracted John Rabid to design the park, which featured a large pavilion that served as the park's focal point and a large pier stretching onto the Saginaw Bay. The owners, who also owned the Bay City Street Car Company, built a railway line that looped by the Kawkawlin River and took passengers from the west side of Bay City, Michigan to the park. An electric trolley, and later motor buses made regular trips to the park from the city.

During the first half of the 20th century, the park was operated by the Bay City Traction and Electric Company. One of the park's early managers, J. Carpenter, was taken to court for operating a theater without a license in violation of an ordinance passed by the Bangor Township Board on June 6, 1906.

By the early 1900s and 1920s, the park had become a popular destination for people living in nearby counties.

In 1907, the resort drew media attention to a speedboat race between the Arrow and W.J. Oulette's Secret, which set a then world record of 26.6 miles per hour (42.8 km/h).

By 1942, the park was owned by H. M. Smart and Otto Pierce.

In March 1947, the park was damaged by a storm which swept through the Midwestern United States. The storm's 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) winds pushed 40 feet (12 m) high ice piles from the Saginaw Bay onto the park's shores. The park's bath house near the shoreline was demolished by the ice. the Roller Coaster and other structures were damaged by the ice pressing against them.

The park suffered from poor attendance in its later years and closed in 1964. The land has been occupied by a trailer park since 1965.

Wenona Beach Amusement Park was described by Augustus H. Gansser in his 1905 book on the History of Bay County, Michigan as "the 'Coney Island' of the Lakes." The park featured a casino, vaudeville performances, boating, carnival games, bath houses, docking facilities, and a boardwalk.

The park also featured rides such as Circular Swings, a Joy Wheel on the shoreline, a steam carousel, the Roller Coaster, the Jack Rabbit (a roller coaster), the Bullet (a centrifugal force ride), Bumper cars, the Roll-O-Plane, and a ferris wheel with a view of the Saginaw Bay.

A large ballroom was used for dancing and roller skating.

The park, especially the casino, held regular live performances by entertainers such as Jack Benny, Perry Como, Bob Crosby, The Dorsey Brothers, Marie Dressler, W. C. Fields, Woody Herman, Isham Jones, Guy Lombardo, Ozzie and Harriet, the Marx Brothers, Red Nichols and His Five Pennies, Ted Weems. Local Harry Jarkey made regular appearances.

There were a number of food concession stands, including a popular french fry stand at the north end of the park, Wright's Cafe, an ice cream parlor, and a restaurant in the casino.

Many large social events, such as family reunions and corporate outings utilized Wenona Beach Amusement Park's large picnic area. The park also hosted an annual 4th of July fireworks display.

Click the following links for locations of interest nearby:
Info Updates:
3/9/2018 - Erv Hutter
The Amusement Park located on the shores of the Saginaw Bay at the north end of Patterson Road on the west side of the Saginaw River it closed in 1964. Wenonah Park is a public park on the east riverfront of the Saginaw River in downtown Bay City. The Wenonah Hotel (1908-1977) sat just east of the park until it burned down in 1977.
12/26/2014 - Debbie Nichols
I remember when I was a very small child, my father's employer (Chevrolet Transmission) had a picnic for all the families there. I remember there was a sand or sawdust pile right near the JackRabbit that had pennies and I sat there and dug out pennies for quite a while.
12/12/2011 - Al Smith
I played in Dick Jessup's Band at the Casino in the '50s when Harry Jarkey was performing there. The last I knew, Harry, at 98 is still alive and kickin'. Saw a clip of him on Youtube recently that was made last Spring, 2011. He was doing great at that time. This website brought back many fond memories.
11/26/2011 - Bob Grzesiak
Vescio's Supermarkets used to rent the entire place for the Vescio employee picnic. All rides were free and Vescio's supplied all the food. This was into the early 1960's when I was about 5-7 years old. Mr. Vescio used to take me on the pony rides. Tony's park was great because I thought my uncle, Tony Grzesiak, who owned Tony's Bar owned this as well. Saw Wenonah Beach Park in the 1970's when half the Jack Rabbit was still standing, lots of the buildings and the rest was a mobile home park. So sad to see it go that way. Was supposed to be a competitor for Cedar Point in Bay City along I-75 where the ceramic flag is, on the curve just north of Wilder Road. My father-in-law helped kill it as part of the zoning board for Monitor Township. The flag (one side 1776, the other 1976) is harder to see as it gets overgrown.
11/20/2011 - Linda Heckerthorn
Tanya, Tony's Park was a small amusement park for kids on State Park Drive, c. 50s, 60s, & 70s. Wenonah Beach was a large amusement park located where the Wenonah Beach Trailer Park now stands, between the mouths of the Kawkawlin & Saginaw Rivers. It opened in the late 1800s, and catered to some of the biggest names in show business at the time. It drew many wealthy people from Chicago & Detroit. The Jack Rabbit roller coaster still ran as late as the early 60s. Wenonah Park in downtown Bay City (where the band shell is now) was always around -even during the Tony's Park & Wenonah Beach Amusement Park days. It has nothing to do with two amusement parks.
7/14/2011 - Tanya Prieur
I think you have Park mixed up with Beach. Wenonah Park is across from Vets and has the Friendship Shell where there are still concerts going on. (7/14/2011).
7/3/2011 - Lynn Heckerthorn
I live in Bay City. We once had a small amusement park in Bay City called Tony's Park. It was on the north end of State Park Dr. , between the park and where Mussel Beach Ice Cream now stands. When I was a child in the 50's, it had a train that ran past a cage with a bear, and a cage with monkeys, and through a tunnel with hand painted nursery rhymes. It also had boats, cars, and a shooting gallery with ducks you could pick. It had a great arcade with many old original items, including mirrors and a life sized fortune teller. I have pictures of myself on the rides in the 50s, and my kids on the same rides in the mid '80s (minus the animals). Across the street from Tony's was the Roll-Aire Rink, *sp* which had a long running Battle of the Bands each summer. Dick Fabian from WTAC was the host. MANY famous Michigan bands headlined and competed there. Bob Seeger, ? and the Mysterians, Ted Nugent, etc. Too many to name. Both the park & the rink were owned together by Bob Darby & Octavian Gaverilla, high school teachers. The rink was purchased by the state park that surrounded it, and demolished. Now their Prairie Grass area is located on that corner. (State Park Dr. & N. Euclid Rd. ) I would love to see them featured on your site. I will submit pictures, if that is a possibility.
4/25/2011 - joan kornecky
My parents used to ride the train/trolly out to the park to dance at the pavillion in the 30's and the 40's. In fact they did a lot of their courting out there during the war. My parents were great dancers. My mom and her girlfriends used to go there to swim and flirt with the lifeguards when she was a teen. My girlfriend and I used to go there in the early 60's to ride the Bullet. Once we were madly flirting with the operator and he thought it would be fun to just leave us on longer than usual. We got so sick and screamed so loud he got in trouble and I never rode that thing again.
1/11/2010 - Frank
The park was at the end of patterson rd right on Saginaw Bay. The roller coaster was called the jackrabbit all wooden supports quite a ride right thru tree tops. In the early days a streetcar ran constantly out patterson to the park. Another ride they had was the Bullet looked like two bullets put end to end lots of spinning not for those with weak stomachs.
8/4/2009 - Buzz Sodeman
The class of 1965 from Saginaw St. Mary's Cathedral went there I believe somwhere between the 8th and 11th grade. That roller coaster was something else and I remember watching pieces of it fall to the ground as we rode on it. It was a wooden structure, the coaster was very fast for as old and rickety it was but it was extremely addictive. They also had bumper cars and midway style games, etc. I really don't remember the huge swing ride nor the pavillion but then again I spent almost the entire time riding the coaster.
 Photos:25
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - 1953 Aerial
1953 Aerial
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Aug 1964
Aug 1964
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - July 1916
July 1916
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Aug 1949
Aug 1949
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Aug 1951
Aug 1951
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - Aug 31 1928 Article
Aug 31 1928 Article
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - July 1901
July 1901
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - July 1904
July 1904
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - June 1907
June 1907
Wenona Beach Amusement Park (Wenona Beach, Wenonah Park) - May 1953
May 1953
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