Niagara Gazette — For approximately two years, attention has been turned to a new project, something Proefrock calls “a dream come true.”
The museum’s side yard at Thompson and Vandervoort streets now holds the new Kiddieland section, featuring a pony cart ride, kiddie helicopter ride and kiddie boat ride from the old Page’s Whistle Pig in Niagara Falls, as well as a kiddie car ride from another donor. All were constructed in the 1940s and 1950s in the building that now houses the museum.
While Proefrock had helped the area would be open for the anniversary this week, it’s going to be a little bit longer — although, if all goes well, it will be soon.
Ed Janulionis, treasurer of the museum board, also runs Allen Herschell Company, which sells parts of all the Herschell rides produced over the years. He noted that the new area commemorates an important part of the history of the company that many people don’t realize.
“Kiddieland represents a facet of the company a lot of locals don’t realize,” he said, “in that they built a lot of rides other than carrousels. A lot of folks will think carrousels and that’s the end of it. No.”
In fact, from 1946 to 1970, approximately 2,500 rides were produced by the company, he said — and only 400 were carrousels.
Bathke said the museum’s collection of industry documents, including Herschell catalogues, is also something of which many local residents are unaware.
“We really have an intensive collection,” he said. “I seems like people go to us or the Smithsonian; we have quite the repository. It’s really been a neat journey that way. People walk in and they don’t know the full depth of what history is there. It’s just amazing.
“It’s like Niagara Falls, really. It’s in your own backyard, but how many locals go there each year? It was such an important industry in town that happened to touch the entire world, that most people don’t realize.”