In the past I had asked that everyone who wished to share a memory with others email it to me at FrontierTownFan@hotmail.com. Many of you did so, and I do read every email I receive and will eventually get to answering them (sometimes it takes me a while). During the summer of 2006 I was so busy that I got way behind on keeping up my correspondence and even further behind on moving memories from emails I received onto this page.
I have now (Thanksgiving 2006) finally moved all the emailed memories that people wished me to share on the website. In August I added a Guest Book to this site. I had been hesitant to use a guestbook because I have seen them abused by spammers on other sites I visit. However, in the interest of expediency, I tried one and it has been successful. To leave a memory or thought to share with other visitors to this Frontier Town site, or to view what others have said, please click on the link below. This is not a sophisticated guestbook program - it was supplied by my web hosting service. I monitor this guestbook often and remove any offensive entries but please realize that I have no control over the content if you should see such an entry before I can remove it.
Please feel free to still email me - I do, eventually, answer every email - but I will no longer be putting things that I receive in email on the memories page. Instead I will leave it to visitors to share their own memories and thoughts through the Guest Book page. To leave a memory, or view what others have said, use this link to go to the Guest Book, but before you do you might want to scroll down this page and see memories from site visitors that I received before I added the Guest Book. And you might want to follow this link to Dave's Ode to Frontier Town to read a particularly poetic email I received from one frequent visitor to this website.
|I remember as a kid that my parents couldn't afford to buy me and my sister guns so when Billy the Kid was robbing the train , we used our finger guns to stop him. I also remember going to Fort Custer and being enlisted in the cavalry. We had to stand in formation and when one kid was found with gum in his mouth, he had to dig a hole and bury it. - Bob|
|One of my most humorous memories was that of my father and the "bumper stickers" they used to attach to your car while you were in the park (most were wired on to the bumper as true stickers were not yet an available item) Anyway, my dad was a fanatic about his cars….they were kept spotless…and he would always go off when we returned to the car at the end of the day to find one of those "sons a bitches" had put one of those "sons a bitchin'" things on the bumper. Today you would have to buy one….then it was considered cheap advertising………..anyway…we would have to hear about that damn sticker/tag all the way back to Utica……my mother used to laugh like heck (when dad wasn't looking!!!!!!). - Al|
|Just found your web site and I am really enjoying it. Art Bensen was my Uncle, and I grew up at Frontier Town. From the time I was 6 or 7 years old I would go to the Town every day in the summer. I worked there for 4 summers when I was in high school (one of the "sons o bitches" putting those signs on.) I remember when the kid who caught the outlaw returned to town the Marshall would ask him "are you married or still happy?" Of course the kid knew he was't married, so the answer was always a resounding "STILL HAPPY". Thanks again for your efforts on the site. - Doug|
|My dad had a motel up the road 2 miles, so Frontier Town was only a short bike ride away for me. What a wonderful place to grow up. I guess I worked at all the jobs there were in Frontier Town, from waiting on tables at the restaurant to riding in the rodeo. I may have been the guy who held up the stage the day you were there. I remember after work a bunch of us would go down to the river to get clean enough to go home. I just finished reading a book about Verplanic Colvin, the first to do an accurate survey of the area. Fortunately his ideas were not adopted, since he wanted to build a dam below Schroon Lake and flood the whole valley up to Elizabethtown. That would have been a heck of a lake. - Curt|
|Just A sad note, As with all things in life, all must change. I remember well my days of Frontier town. My Mom was born and raised right across the street. We used to go at least 5-6 times a yr. No, things will never be the same, That was a simpler time, With the instant gratification that is so apparent nowadays, Kids no longer have any imagination. Or will not take the time to imagine. It’s all video games and T.V. - Herbert|
|I have dreamed of the day that I would be see pictures of the 30+ years of memories and dreams I hold locked within my mind from my childhood through my solo trips when my parents didnt want to go( I went alone 2-3 times, hoping nothing would have changed, and to hold on to what childhood memories I could)...All of the fun summer vacations, and looking forward to our family sojourn to Frontier Town, From Parking in the Lot, seeing the towering Frontier town sign off of rt9, to slowly walking down the pathway after the enterence to see feed the bears, walk through the dark crooked floors,Gold Mine, seeing all of the Wild Deer, walking through Roths forge,Grist Mill, Oxen, and then to where My real dreams lived,The wild West, Cowboys, Indians, Cavalry, Bullets Flying, stagecoaches...Who needed Disney World! I remember being greeted by My American Indian FRIEND,Swift Eagle, My favorite American Indian, and Danny his son, and family....Marshal Dick Coury, and his Old Deputy who walked with a limp....The Dalton Gang, Judge Roy Beam, etc... The train robberies, the Stage holdups, the shoot outs,the Rodeos(the Gladiator race :) Bullriding( I still hear the echoe of Judge Roy Beams voice on the speakers in the Arena, The Dunkings, BOOT HILL(LoL), The Train( I even remember when the train would depart & arrive inside the park,in fron of the Rodeo Arena...And My first Scare that I was going to have to stay forever at Ft Custer in the Cavalry when I was 4-5 years old.... I also got a newspaper headline, and a Marshall's Engraved star with my name, that has since Rusted... I only wish I could have my children experience the subtle old Frontier town Stylings of N.Hudson, NY. I am broken Hearted about the Auction as if I've lost something, some sort of meaning, something I was always hoping to hold on too - Dave|
|Your site brought back many happy memories to me today. I remember thinking that Frontier Town was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I liked it even better than Walt Disney World. Of course I was an avid horse nut at the time, so that may have had something to do with it! I remember describing it to all of my friends when we got home. - Christine|
|I have been searching for a long, long time for any info on Frontier Town. Finally I found you! The last time I was there was in 1995 or 1996. I had never been there as a child, but had heard about it. Now, as a 42 year old "adult" I decided to take a ride up there. I was amazed, it was just too cute...the type of park that was popular when I was growing up! I watched the "dunking" and even got "held up" on the train. My friend and I got to see a wonderful rodeo show which was very impressive, as I had never seen any type of rodeo before. Though the park looked a little "run down" I never thought that it would actually CLOSE! I just found out about that a few months ago...the end of an era Well, I want to THANK YOU for a trip down memory lane. I will always be sad that Frontier Town is no more; it's like a piece of history is gone just like drive-ins and 5 & 10 cent stores and....well, anything from our childhoods. - Deanna|
|I enjoyed your site with the pictures of Frontier Town as they brought back many great memories of my days there.I worked there in the summers of 1953,'54,'56 and '57.We lived just up the road from there.I did everything from parking cars to being an MC.I did about every job at one time or another.Working there was as much fun as visiting or more. The Prarie Junction part was added on about 1955.My father and uncle did a lot of the work for Art.They both had large trucks and would bring in stagecoaches,buggies and horses.They also transported them to parades,ect.They also worked on the RR and construction of Prairie Junction and the Music Hall.(Hotel) I will send pictures in a seperate email.The picture that the Press Republican printed as Characters of Frontier Town were actually Swift Eagle and his Wife Chi Chi with a visitor.Swift Eagle is an Apache from New Mexico and Chi Chi is a Cheroke from Virginia. [Editor's Note from Steve - I heard from Swift Eagle's and Chee Chee Bird's daughter Matoaka that Chee Chee Bird was Chickahominy from Virginia, not Cherokee.] Thier children were Singing Eagle, Dancing Eagle(Danny),Powhatan and Matoaka. As you probably know Molly and Dolly were relocated to a habitat in FL.The original bears were picked up by Art Benson after the mother was killed by a trctor trailer driver on the south entrance to Frontier Town on rt. 9.They were named Sampson and Delilah.They were stuffed and put on exhibit after thier death.They had cubs who later died and I assume Molly and Dolly were cubs of thiers. Hi to Curt and David-haven't seen them since they were small.I also remember Roger. - Harold|
|Thank you, Steve Gross, for preserving the memories of Frontier Town. I grew up in Syracuse, NY -- born in 1949, and went to Frontier Town through 1956 or so. As I played cowboys and 'indians' very seriously as a child, the only other place that so fit my personality was the now-gone railroad theme park - Rail City? - up along Lake Ontario, I think. For various reasons, my daughter wasn't taken to the parks as a child, but I made sure she got to see some of those remaining. She was in her late 20's when I took her to Frontier Town. She participated in everything with the joy of eight year old, unaffected by disapproving stares from parents with little kids, with me cheering her on. (She's employed in the museum world and does lots of special events, always making sure that adults get to play, too - we're both big on that). Anyway, it was a lovely day. The staff were wonderful. I felt I'd been able to give my daughter some of what she'd missed, and that we both knew would probably disappear. It was good going back when we did, as we had, by then, travelled and primitive-camped through the west. I was struck by the almost unearthly natural beauty of Frontier Town, and the quality of light there. It was magical, and I've often thought that living in the area would be rather sublime. Now that time may be here. I look forward to keeping up with your notes, and can't wait to show my daughter your website. History is important. The simple joyfulness of the various parks is something I would want everyone to experience. Thank you. - Anonymous|
|I love your site. It's a marvelous time capsule, thank you for your time and energy keeping it alive. Around October last year I got the idea to look into what happened to the old attractions my grandpa used to take me to. I discovered that no only had FT closed, I was a year late to hear of the auction. If only they knew HBO would soon have a sucess with DEADWOOD, maybe they would have held out a little longer. Thanks, - Joseph|
|Hi there. First of all, I'd like to thank you for all of the time that you've put into the website. I'm not sure how I came across it at 2:30 AM, but I did, and I've spent the last our or so looking through the pages. It certainly brings back memories: Memories that seem far away to me, but relatively close in perspective. I'm only 18 years old now, and I recall two trips to Frontier Town in my youth. Although I grew up with a generation of video games and other electronic entertainment, I still found something alluring about taking a train ride into the forest, and emerging in a town that seemed so fantastic. Decked out in cowboy hats and carrying cap guns, I remember spending all day in the park with my family. My memories are foggy, but luckily, thanks to your website, have been refreshed. In fact, I remember distinctly my last visit to the park. In the small gift shop in the A-frame building just before going home, and thinking that I couldn't leave the place soon enough with my small feet aching and thinking that we would return again in a few years. The next time I returned, it was passing by the abandoned buildings a couple of years back. Frontier Town, as well as the other Adirondack attractions such as Ausable Chasm and the North Pole, will always be remembered as a place of great memories from my childhood. - Corey|
|Hi there, at one time I worked at Frontier Town. My name is Debbie DeCesare. My husband I own DeCesare's Pizza in Schroon Lake,NY. Frontier Town was one of the best places to work at. I worked in the gun shop, the print shop and the canteen. The canteen is the little shop next to the train depot when you pulled down into the town by the rodeo arena. I am very good friends with the Gokey family. And that was one of the saddest days when all the stuff from Frontier Town had to be auctioned off. It is nice to see that you have set up a web site dedicated to Frontier Town. There is also stuff from Frontier Town at the MT. Severance store in Schroon Lake. And there is a Frontier Town sign on a building next to the leather outlet in Lake George,NY. I wanted to purchase something at the auction to hand in my pizza place. But everything went too high. Thank you again. I wish that more people had cared about Frontier Town the way that some of us do. - Deb|
Dear Mr. Gross: One of my earliest memories is visiting Frontier Town with my parents and 2 older brothers. I remember watching a shootout. I must have been about 5 at the time. I'm 35 now. My family has owned the "Huletts on Lake George" seasonal resort, at Hulett's Landing, since the 1950s. I spent summers at Lake George until I was about 23 and still get there when I can. We're on the web at www.hulettsonlakegeorge.com. I really have no unique memories to share, having not been to Frontier Town in many years, but I can say that I fondly remember visiting there and that I like your site. I was sad to see Frontier Town go. Regards, - Frank
PS - I do have a unique memory after all: I shared my email with my older brother. He responded, "you got scared because you thought the shootout was real." Know what? His recollection jogged mine. I did think it was real. - Frank
|Hello Steve, I too am a Frontier Town Fan! I grew up in Moriah about 15 miles from North Hudson. I went to FT as a child every year from the time I was born 1964. We have many wonderful memories. Also many pictures! My Dad rode in the calvary when he was a teenager and also sat on his horse on Rt 9 by the rode getting tourist to turn into the park!! I worked there as a teenager in the summers of 82,83 & 84. It was the best time of my life. Goat (Sheriff) & Jane Mullis still remain friends of mine. I visited with them last summer. I worked in the restaurant and often helped out at the rodeo & in town. I was great friends with Dale & Sissy Gibson who were the trick riders there the summer of 83. I can remember going into Clarence Canarys house with some of the cowboys to see him work on saddles in his back shop. My family and I returned to North Hudson to camp last year. My parents still live in Moriah and everytime I drove by FT I was sick to see it in such despair. I contacted a local that knew the current owner at the time and my husband and I went in to tour the place one last time before the sale. I had tears in my eyes as I walked through the one lively and wonderful town, when I saw Dolly & Molly still there I grew sicker. I took many pictures of them that day and also the town, I was glad to hear weeks later Molly & Dolly were moved to there new home in Florida and I keep up to date on them by visiting the web site. Today I was reading Art B's book for the 3rd time! When I thought I would go online to see if I could find anything about FTown and was so pleased to see you website. What a wonderful tribute! Art would be proud. I will send you what pics I have if you would like. Oh yeah, I have 2 original rodeo posters from 1983! Also many other items I have picked up or had. Did you know about the local commercial that was on TV?, that sang "Frontier Town, the great American Adventure!" I can still see and hear that commercial. Great memories!! Thanks for the great website and my walk down memory lane! - Lisa|
|Howdy, Pard. You did a great job on this site and I wanna personally thank you. In many of the Capgun Kid articles I have written for SASS, I was gratified by the responses I got when I wrote about Frontier Town. Mom and Dad took me up there in 1955, when I was six. They also took me to Fort William Henry when they were still digging it up. The family went to Lake George every year until I went into the Marine Corps. What a lot of us don't know is that there were dozens of Frontier Town Parks all across the nation...back when there were 70 shows on TV and 57 of them were westerns. I took my kids up there in between the closures, and was genuinely hurt when I learned that the place was auctioned off. I've been in living history ever since that visit to Frpontier Town and The Lake, and have been a shoemaker most of my career. I make gunbelts and holsters for capgun collectors as well as real gun leather , boots and saddles. And to think westerns have been displaced by video games. Don't shoot yore eye out, kid - Greg, The Capgun Kid (Note from Steve - Greg sent along a number of pictures Click here to see them.)|
|Hi Steve, I just happened to run across your website today. Thank you SOOOO much for running it and keeping the memory of Frontier Town alive. My uncle Ken Delafrange bought Frontier Town when I was about 7 years old. I worked there every summer until 1998 (the year I graduated high school). I am now 25. That little corner of upstate NY holds so many special and fond memories for me and my family. Looking at your website actually made me want to cry! I miss that little place and the people I met there from all over the country and Canada very very much. Frontier Town secures a special place in my heart and in each of my family members' hearts. I really feel as though I grew up there, playing cowboys and Indians! I even acted as the "wounded rider" for the Cavalry show, you may remember that. I'm sure I was there working in the retail shops when you made your visits in the 90s. Small world! I am going to pass your site along to my family members. They will appreciate it too! Thanks again! - LP|
|Steve, As Bob Hope used to sing, "Thanks for the Memories!" Judging by the information on your Frontier Town website, I'd guess that you and I are about the same age. I first visited Frontier Town in July, 1962, when I was eight years old. That was the year that my family first made the 330-mile trek from Pedricktown, in southern NJ, to a friend's cabin outside of Schroon Lake, NY, thus beginning an annual summer tradition that would last until 1978. (My wife and I even stayed there on our honeymoon in July, 1977.) Among the attractions we would visit at least every other year was Frontier Town. I had all but forgotten about the place until this summer (2006), when I began preserving my late parents' slides and negatives from about 1950 through the early '80s by scanning them into the computer. In the first box I opened were a couple of slides from 1968 of my sister, Jamie, then four years old, on horseback at some place I couldn't identify. A couple hours later, it hit me out of the blue: Frontier Town! And then I started to remember -- although somewhat dimly -- the train ride, the stagecoach robbery, the Indian speaking to the crowd as we kids gaped in rapt attention, and how much fun the place was. I'm sorry to see that Frontier Town is no more, but it seems that our changing culture and political correctness have caused such places to fall out of favor. The romantic notions of the frontier and the wild west may very well pass away with our generation, and that will be a great loss. I've only found about three or four pictures from Frontier Town so far (in none of them is there anything that specifically identifies the location). If you're interested, I'll be glad to e-mail them to you, along with any others I may come across in the process of digitizing our old family pictures. Thanks again for keeping the memory of Frontier Town alive! - Jim|