A One-Time Michigan Favorite: Photos of Boblo Island, 1890s-1970s
Who in Michigan hasn't heard of Boblo Island?
Unfortunately, there are many under the age of thirty.
Boblo Island was at one time the most popular summer amusement getaway in Michigan. Rides, animals, concessions, games, food, dancing, swimming...Boblo had it all.
It opened in 1898 as Boblo Island Amusement Park on Bois Blanc Island (not the Bois Blanc up near Mackinac Island, but the one on the Detroit River). The island was situated between Detroit and Canada, but for a Michigander to visit, you had to cross the Canadian border...usually by one of the Boblo ferry boats. Even though it was officially on Canadian land, Michigan unofficially claimed it as its #1 amusement park.
Ferry boats leaving and docking from Detroit and Canada were continuous throughout the day...visitors waiting to board the boat got a thrill when they saw it finally coming down the Detroit River.
Once on the island, you were treated to rides such as the Aeroplane, Bug, Comet, Dodgem Cars, Enterprise Thrill, Falling Star, Ferris Wheel, Fire Truck Ride, Merry-Go-Round, Nightmare, Pony Rides, Scootaboats, Screamer, Sky Streak, Train Ride, Whip, Wild Mouse, and Zugspitze! Not to mention the Bathing Beach, Blockhouse, Boblo Cafe', Dance Pavilion, Dog & Monkey Revue, Lighthouse, Maritime Monument, Souvenir Building, and Zoo.
Henry Ford himself financed the Dance Pavilion, which was constructed to be the second largest in the world with a capacity of 5,000.
With the combination of bad management, the evergrowing gaming world, rising upkeep costs, newer amusement areas in the state, and Cedar Point about an hour or two away, Boblo finally closed down in 1993.
The rides are all gone and mostly sits empty. If you'd like to see what it looks like these days, CLICK HERE.
And take a look at the photo gallery below as well!
BOBLO ISLAND THROUGH THE YEARS