Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Blast From The Past - Bob Lo Island


Bois Blanc Island, commonly known as Bob Lo Island is located on the Detroit River between Detroit Michigan and Amherstburg Ontario. The 272 acre island, which is now being developed as private community, was once home to Bob Lo Island Amusement Park. Opening in 1898, early on the park was a quiet place to go to relax.

And, much like the Maunch Chunk Railways and Trolley parks, the amusement park was built on the island by a ferry boat company to supplement the company's income. While the ferry's were busy shuttling people back and forth across the river during the week,there wasn't much traffic on the weekends.

The first amusement park rides came along in the early 1900s, by the 20s the Whip was installed and it was an instant hit. Unfortunately, after WWII the park was facing bankruptcy.There was talk of making the island a National Park, but the talk was short lived.

The Browning Family stepped in and bought the island and the ferry's.They built rollers coasters, a Ferris wheel and a fun house, turning the park into a full fledged amusement park.

The family sold the park in 1979 and the park changed hands a few times, with AAA of Michigan being the last owner. In 1983 LARC (Leisure and Recreation Concepts, INC.) did some concepts for a 5 year plan, to bad the park hit upon hard times and of these plans ever came to fruition.

Starting in 1990 rides were sold off. In 1991, after 81 years of service, the boats ceased operation and the park finally closed on September 30, 1993.

Bob Lo is one of those parks we never got to visit, we have ridden one of it's remaining coasters, The Nightmare a Vekoma enclosed coaster ran at Bob Lo from 1988 until closing day, it was relocated at Six Flags Astroworld (which is where we rode it) and ran there until that park closed as the Mayan Mindbender. In 2006, the coaster was relocated for a third time as the Hornet at Wonderland in Amarillo Texas.


2 comments:

Mike said...

Oooo I would have loved to have seen what the "Haunted Theater Show Spectacular" would have been!

Sandra Thomas said...

Well this is a mostly accurate article. Michael Moodenbaugh in 1993 was the last owner. He had turned the park around but he was in an auto accident so his soulless Seattle partners sold it off to make a quick sale so he couldn't stop them when he came out of his coma. By the time he was conscience the island was sold off and history ripped away from the community for no reason other than greed and malice. A book is being published about Boblo during the summer of 93'.