There is a second part to the trolley story.
About halfway between Conneaut and Erie was the power house and maintenance barn. It was at Elk Creek where the company owned several acres. The land was developed into a family recreation park with natural features such as shaded walks and a pond, plus developed activities: a rustic bridge, tennis courts, a dance pavilion, playground with self-propelled rides, a cookhouse and picnic shelter. And, there was a baseball diamond with a grandstand. Water was bottled from the pond there and called “Elkora.” Oh, and there were row boats on the pond.
It was a delightful summer family setting. It was open from Memorial Day to late September and actually rivaled Waldameer in attendance. Concerts were given on summer evenings and the pavilion was open for dancing on weekends. Admission to the park was free, but it cost 5¢ to dance. Admission to the ball games was 15¢ and another 10¢ for a seat in the grandstand.
To get there was easy. Take the trolley.
Post cards from the time show lovely settings at Elk Park. It was a grand place for families.
Then Route 20 was paved and people began buying autos, traveling by car more and more, and business slowly began to fade. The company remodeled the pavilion for year-round use and added a bowling alley and pinball machines. An electric piano perked up the music a bit in the dance hall.
But two disastrous winters added to the troubles and on September 16, 1922, the business shut down. It was the last day for trolley service, but the park remained open for several years afterward.
It was gradual, but during those years the flavor of the park began to change. The clientele began to change too. Instead of dances there were poker games and stag parties. Families began to shy away.
Then came the final blow when a party was held on August 28, 1936 (a Friday). It was a “$1 to get in/$10 to get out” night… a stag party with “three immoral films, a motion picture projector and a pair of dancing girls,” reported the Cosmopolite. The paper reported that 150 men were in attendance and another 250 were waiting to get in. The party was raided but it took six hours to clear everyone out. Fines for “immoral conduct” amounted to nearly $2,500.
And that was the end for the Conneaut and Erie Trolley and Elk Creek Park.