After years of neglect, a shelter in Front Park is getting a much needed overhaul. The shelter was first designed and constructed in 1898. At the time, it was adorned with a beautiful red Spanish tile roof, which gave it much of its character. In the 60’s that roof was replaced with temporary roll roof, and then asphalt shingles were added as a rather long lasting and unfortunate repair.
An interesting fact is that the structure was originally built as an enclosed shelter. In the 50s the shelter was reconstructed as an open air pavilion with views out onto the park (see history of Front Park).
Today, thanks to $92,000 from the Niagara Greenway Fund, the red Spanish tiles are making a comeback. Along with the roof, the rafters are being repaired, the concrete slab floor is being replaced, and the masonry is being repointed. The burned out grills that were once part of the shelter’s interior are getting scrapped, in lieu of new grills that will be placed adjacent to the shelter.
^Photo: Olmsted Parks Conservancy
In recent years Front Park has become a hub of soccer activity for refugees who practice and host games on a regular basis. Soccer has become a popular pastime for scholastic clubs at this location as well. Front Park also has a children’s playground, monuments, tennis courts, and beautifully planted gardens along The Terrace, which was also restored a few years back. It is the hope of many to see the old Civil War cannons (see here) replaced at the site in coming years, and there are some who are even pushing for the rebuilding of the original Lake House, which could double as a visitors’ center.