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Out of the Past: Fourth of July, Hamburg Town Park, 1926

The Fourth of July holiday is the traditional beginning of what Town of Hamburg residents hope will be a glorious summer recreational season.

The seven young ladies posing for this photo seem intent on getting a good start to a happy fun-filled summer. The picture was taken on the Fourth of July in 1926 and although it is known that the ladies are from Blasdell, they cannot be identified.

The picture is from the Elizabeth (Baker) O’Neil estate and it is likely that she is in the group with three sisters.

On Oct. 5, 1914, the Locksley Park Company deeded to the Town of Hamburg for the sum of $3,500 the property that would become the Town Park.

It was agreed that the premises would be maintained and used by the town as a “park” for the use and benefit of its residents. It was further agreed that the “park would be forever preserved in a state of nature, that no wine or spirituous liquors be allowed, and that a place be provided at the foot of the cliff for horses and vehicles.”

The Town Park project was approved in 1917 when William Kronenberg was supervisor. It is believed that the actual construction of the facility took place in 1920. With the current talk of waterfront access and development, town residents can appreciate the foresight of our early leaders in setting aside this part of the lake shoreline for our use.

Beside the use of the park for swimming, boating, and other water recreation, many town residents in the 1930s can remember dancing upstairs in the pavilion. At that time, city people would rent cottages in Locksley Park to enjoy the summer fun.

Today, Thursday, July 4, town residents will join other people across the nation in celebrating the Declaration of Independence, our country’s birthday. Picnics, fireworks, and yes, a day at the beach are traditional. But we would also hope that our readers would take the time to pause and reflect on the price American have paid to sustain that freedom since the first Fourth of July in 1776.

Photo: The late Dr. Elizabeth O’Neil

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