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Summer Dreams: The Story of Bob-Lo Island [Paperback]

Patrick Livingston

Price: CDN$ 29.68 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

April 9 2008 Great Lakes Books
This is a definitive history of Bob-lo Island, a Canadian amusement park in the mouth of the Detroit River and a favorite recreation spot for generations of Detroit-area residents. Located twenty miles south of Detroit where the Detroit River meets Lake Erie, Bob-lo Island was the ultimate summer playground for families from Detroit and Windsor for nearly one hundred years. In its heyday, the island housed an amusement park with one of the world's largest dance halls, an elegant restaurant, and a hand-carved carousel. It also employed two large Frank Kirby - designed ferry steamers - complete with dancing and other entertainment - to transport patrons to and from the island, which was not accessible by car. In "Summer Dreams", author Patrick Livingston tells the story of Bob-lo from its discovery by French explorers to its subsequent use by missionaries, British military men, escaped slaves, farmers, and finally the wealthy class, who developed the island as a summer resort.It was not until the Detroit, Belle Isle, and Windsor Ferry Company, looking to expand its business ventures, bought the island in 1898 that Bob-lo became known as a destination for Detroit's burgeoning middle class. The park provided the perfect place for Detroiters to dance and play and simply escape the whirlwind of what was rapidly becoming an industrial and mechanized city. Livingston notes that operation of the park presented special challenges to management teams over the course of the century, particularly in the running of its U.S. - based steamers and competition with modern amusement parks that could be reached by car. Livingston chronicles the island's recent history, including the final closure of the park in 1993, the auctioning of its steamers and rides, and its redevelopment as a community of multimillion-dollar homes.With illustrations and personal profiles added to its historical narrative, "Summer Dreams" recounts the phases of Bob-lo's history and its importance to natives of Detroit, Windsor, and Amherstburg. Local historians and anyone with roots in Detroit and the Border Cities will enjoy this informative volume.

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"Patrick Livingston has written the complete book on Bob-Lo, from the well-known subjects of amusement rides and river cruises to the lesser-known tales of racism, insolvency, and rowdy motorcycle gangs. Summer Dreams is smart, informative, and a great addition to anyone's local history bookshelf." - Bill McGraw, Detroit Free Press columnist and co-editor of The Detroit Almanac"

About the Author

Patrick Livingston is the author of Eight Steamboats (Wayne State University Press, 2004) and a former agent with Michigan State University Extension and Michigan Sea Grant. He is currently involved with the Great Lakes Education Program on the Detroit River and a project linking teachers from Nepal and Michigan in water-quality analysis and information sharing.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bob-Lo Island- the original "Three Hour Tour." Sept. 4 2008
By Edward Golick - Published on Amazon.com
Bob-lo Island is now home to dozens of luxury homes and condominiums for the well to do, but for nearly one hundred years it was Everyman's playground. Located eighteen miles south of Detroit and just west of Amherstburg, the island was Detroit and Windsor's favorite summertime destination.

In Summer Dreams: The Story of Bob-Lo Island, Patrick Livingston reveals the island's fascinating history, from the British occupation of the island in 1783 to its development as an amusement park and its current reincarnation as a resort community. More than just a glossy nostalgia trip, Summer Dreams also exposes the back story of racism, youth gangs and mismanagement of the island.

Livingston not only captures the glory years of Bob-Lo with its many amusement rides and attractions, he goes behind the scenes to reveal the inner workings of both the island and the famed steamers used to ferry patrons to and from the island. Also featured are a handful of essays written by people with first hand knowledge of the island and more than a hundred vintage photographs and illustrations. Summer Dreams: The Story of Bob-Lo Island is recommended to anyone who has pleasant memories of riding the Thunderbolt, enjoying a picnic lunch on the immaculately kept grounds or stealing a kiss from your best girl on the Moonlight Cruise.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, yet not April 30 2011
By Camille G. - Published on Amazon.com
As a downriver rat who spent many summers anticipating the trip to Bo-Lo, I read this with rapt enthusiasm. My sister worked for AAA Michigan, who bought it in 1983 and owned it for a few years. We got to go free every year, and it was a blast.

EXELLENT history of the park from start to finish as far as who owned it, what they did with it, what happened when it (frequently) changed hands.

Leaves a few questions unanswered, and in my opinion, could have been more forthcoming with information about the boats and their current, sad status.

Could have used more pictures, particularly from its most popular amusement park period from the 70's through the 90's.

Nevertheless, if you ever enjoyed going to Bo-Lo and are curious about the goings-on of its history, it's a good read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boblo memories June 2 2010
By R. Stephen Franks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I grew up visiting Boblo Island every year with my grandmother. The boat rides were as great as the park. It is a part of my best childhood memories.

The book takes on a very complete and accurate history of not only the amusement park, but of the island as well.

A must have for any amusement park, coaster enthusiast, or someone just wanting to take a trip down memory lane.

Sad to see it gone.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful history of Bob Lo July 2 2012
By Denverite - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I made many a trip on the Bob Lo Boat when I was a child. This book is well written and brought back many memories.

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