The history of Toledo Beach Marina

The fire that struck the Toledo Beach Marina on Friday was not the first time the marina has suffered devastating loss. (See news report)

In August 1975 at around 10:15 p.m., a fire blazed through a 60 by 250 foot aluminum warehouse, lighting the night sky and causing thousands of dollars in damage to the structure, and wrecking one boat and damaging another.

Volunteer firefighters from the LaSalle community and Luna Pier fought the fire for about an hour and a half and the LaSalle volunteers were called back about 15 minutes after they left.

The second fire broke out in another part of the building, causing large swaths of the roof to fall from its charred supports, according to an excerpt from Monroe News.

The fire was suspected of being arson and an investigator with the Michigan State Police Fire Marshal Division was called in to conduct a fuller investigation into the cause.

Then LaSalle Fire Chief Raymond Coss said the fire started in the stern of a 33-foot boat owned by a Toledo man. The boat was in the northern part of the building, which at the time was one of four aluminum storage buildings. The one that burned was the only one of the four with wooden frames.

Thomas Sulier, a Marina employee, was the first to spot the fire when he went to his boat and noticed the flames.

No official cost of the damage was reported, but it is estimated that the losses are $ 100,000 for the building and $ 7,000 for the boat.

The marina at the end of S. Otter Creek Road. along the shoreline of Lake Erie has a long history that dates back to the 19th century.

Before there was a marina, Toledo Beach Amusement Park operated on the same land, David L. Eby said in a story published in the Monroe News in October.

“Like the endless sunrises and sunsets on Lake Erie, Toledo Beach Amusement Park has had its ups and downs over the years,” Eby wrote in the story.

Prior to 1907, the 400-acre waterfront venue was called the Ottawa Beach Resort. The Toledo Rail Light and Power Co. bought the beach resort in 1907 and created the amusement park. An electric trolley service brought visitors from Ohio to the park.

“Little did they know they’d crossed the state line into Michigan,” Eby said. “Calling it Toledo Beach only added to the confusion. You will find many postcards from this period that read “Toledo Beach, Toledo Ohio”. Everyone was wrong. “

The trolley also made stops at Lakeside, Allen’s Cove and Luna Pier en route. The park is sometimes closed and then reopened during difficult economic times.

“It may have peaked in the early 1900s and slowly declined after the electric overland trolleys ceased operations in 1927,” Eby said.

The park experienced a renaissance in 1950 with a slew of new rides and facilities, like a giant outdoor roller skating rink, a train ride, amid games and more, the news article said.

In 1950 the new amusement park operator was LaSalle Resort Corp., an organization run by brothers Virgil and Nelson Gladieux from Toledo.

Virgil, a well-known food concessionaire in Toledo and a former resident of LaSalle, bought the park area in 1961 and built a large marina on the lake property.

The former park was dredged and replaced by the Toledo Beach Marina, which opened in 1962. The Gladieux family owned the business for nearly 60 years and sold it to an Atlanta, Georgia marina operator in 2007 for an undisclosed price.

The marina employed 29 full-time workers at the time. The sale comprised 544 wet slides, a dry rack warehouse with 350 capacities, a gas station, a pump-out system, a shop, a deli, a bar and a restaurant as well as a full-service shop that offered paintwork and fiberglass repairs. The facilities covered 183 hectares.

Tim Gladieux, Virgil’s son, continued to run Toledo Beach Yacht Sales as a tenant on the property.

His company also retained control of more than 300 acres of waterfront property north of the nearby North Cape Yacht Club and farm property west of the marina.

The sale of the marina to the Atlanta Company allowed him to spend more time with his family and financially focus on his hospitality business, which was his core business and would grow in the years to come.

A look back in the park

When Monroe’s beach included roller coasters

History of the amusement park Toledo Beach

This giant slide was available for fun on Toledo Beach around 1908.

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