by Margaret Melville Smith, Elmira Heights

too, as with so many others who have written to you, have wonderful memories of Eldridge Park. I was born and raised in Elmira Heights and still reside there today. Favorite memories for me start with Kiddieland and all the fun rides there, then as we got older, the bigger rides down the Midway. The Carousel and the Whip were really my favorites, but I loved all the rides!

Every time family friends would come to town or we got together with cousins, it always resulted in begging our parents to take us to Eldridge Park. They always said yes, and as I think about it now, they wanted to go as bad as we did!

When my oldest daughter Jennifer was little we enjoyed taking her there for the Hardinge's family outing and she has fond memories of the park too. But, my youngest daughter, Vicki, was only 5 years old when the park closed. Sadly she doesn't remember too much about it.

Just a few years ago my father shared a memory he had of the park. He was always too scared to ride the roller coaster but one day a buddy of his managed to get him on it. He said it cost a dime to ride. After the first ride he was so scared he couldn't let go of the bar so his friend ended up paying for four more rides each before he could get off! We have enjoyed that story many times!

Now I have three little granddaughters. On nice days my daughter, Jennifer, and I take the kids over to the park and walk around. We reminisce about how the park used to be and picture where all the attractions were located. Then we take a walk around the lake. I am impressed at how beautiful the park looks and how many people enjoy walking, biking, rollerbladeing and fishing there. We couldn't help noticing how beautiful
the carousel building looks and could only imagine what the new horses and
other animals would look like.

I was to be out of town for the first time on a Memorial Day weekend in 2006. My family thought I was a little crazy for having second thoughts about going away. But I looked so forward to the opening day of the new carousel, as I have been reading about all that the Preservation Society has been doing and I too wanted to be a part of the celebration! Today, May 19, 2006 as my daughter and the two youngest granddaughters were driving up Grand Central Ave. out of habit, I looked over at the carousel building. I noticed that one of the doors was open, so I turned the car around, telling my daughter we had to check it out! As we pulled into the parking lot we could see that the carousel was running!

We asked a couple of men who were there if it would be possible to park and go over and take a peek at the horses. They said "of course!" One of the guys we talked to in the parking lot asked me if I wanted him to ask if we could take a ride on it, of course I said "YES". They were checking the mechanism of the carousel to make sure it was ready for next weekend. The men working on it said yes come on in and take a ride!

Well I can't tell you how it felt to take my granddaughters on that beautiful carousel! So many memories came flooding back and to see the smiles on their faces and my daughters too almost made me cry! When we were leaving the building I told the 5 year old that we had just experienced a piece of history being reborn and she looked up at me and said, "I want to come here every day!"

Thank you Dr. Lyon and the rest of the EPCPS for your dedication and hard work to make this dream a reality. I think the carousel is even more beautiful than I had picture it would be. I know my granddaughters will come to love it as much we all have! I hope that more of the park can be brought back to life, as we need a place like this for our grandchildren to enjoy! This was a special day for me, one I will never forget! God Bless you all!

How about you? Do you remember Eldridge Park?
What was it like for you? Any favorite memories?
write to us.

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