I remember going to the park as a kid and later playing in a band on the moonlight cruise down the river on one of the Bob-Lo boats which was fun. Definitely a case of missing it more after it was gone and realizing I had taken it for granted. Cedar Point is great, but it is pretty far away, crowded and expensive. It would be nice to have a smaller park to go to for the day in the area again.
Boblo Island Amusement Park is an abandoned amusement park which operated from 1898 until its closure on September 30, 1993. Its amusement rides were sold in 1994.
The park was located on Bois Blanc Island, Ontario. It lies just above the mouth of the Detroit River. The people of Detroit, Michigan, characterized it as the city's Coney Island.
The Falling Star, log flume, Enterprise (ride), Sky Tower (Space Needle), Ferris wheel, a zoo, and a carousel were the signature attractions. Screamer, a double corkscrew; Nightmare, an indoor all-dark ride; and Sky Streak, a steel out-and-back design, were its three roller coasters. To move visitors around the island, the park had a small railroad. In its early years, Henry Ford financed a dance hall that was rumored to have been designed and built by famed Detroit architect Albert Kahn, but was later determined to have been designed by John Scott. The dance hall was the second largest in the world, holding 5,000 dancers at full capacity and featured one of the world's largest orchestrions from the Welte company: a 16 foot tall, 14 foot wide, self-playing Wotan-model orchestrion with 419 pipes and percussion section.
Detroit Judge Ira W. Jayne piloting a Scootaboat on Boblo Island in 1958
Boblo's Scootaboats, which were very similar to well known Bumper Cars, were a popular ride. The cars operated by drawing power from an overhead electric grid unlike the Bumper Boats in use today. Beginning in 1952, Joe Short, a man of diminutive physical stature, was employed as 'Captain Boblo', and traveled on the boats entertaining passengers of all ages. He wore a variety of colorful clothing, including a large hat with 'Captain Bob Lo' on the peak, and was typically equipped with binoculars for navigation purposes. He previously worked for Ringling Brothers Circus and captivated children with adventurous tales and knock-knock jokes until his retirement in 1974, at the age of 90. After the boats docked at night back in Detroit, Mr. Short continued entertaining at the local bars and taverns he frequented.