By Jolene Hawkins
In 1899, The Buffalo Rochester & Pittsburgh (BR&P) Railway Company secured a farm on the banks of the Cattaraugus, about 150 acres…. where a picnic area was established and called it Cascade Park. It was intended for a place to go after church on Sundays, for social and school gatherings and parties, as well as for family reunions for those that desired a day outing where they could be free from the disturbing elements often found at pleasure resorts of this kind.
By July 1899, one could get round trip tickets from Buffalo for 15 cents! With fine graveled walks that went up and down hillsides, and songbirds that were heard in the woods singing, and the woods themselves were full of maples, beech, elm and evergreen trees, it was always a pleasure to get off the train and walk through the woods. Visitors could go and see the cascade falls as it flowed over the rocky escarpments, or go wading or swimming if they wanted to.
Every year, the popularity of the park grew, as well as the park itself, with the addition of a pavilion, a kitchen building, a dining room, and a dance hall, where 300 couples could dance. The BR&P Railroad was making daily round trips to bring folks from Buffalo down to Springville to enjoy a day in the sun and country at this park.
In 1905, the BR&P ordered 15 new coaches for the use of the Cascade Park Run. In 1906, a merry go round was installed at the park for the children. Oh and we can not forget the baseball games that were played there—fun for all ages indeed!
In 1922, the BR&P offered the sale of Cascade Park to Springville for the group forming a Country Club. Membership in the club would be open for everyone and the suggested ideas at the time were tennis, as many courts as necessary, canoeing, (a newly formed dam had created a nearly 2-mile lake) golf, dancing, baseball (free for the local teams), picnic grounds, camping sites, basketball, croquet and lawn bowling. There was already an established train service to the park, and they estimated that the dance hall alone with create a net of $1,000 each summer! The annual dues would be used to keep it running and maintained. Today, the property is the Springville Country Club.
Several towns were offered this park, and of course, Springville got it… and the rest, as they say, is history!