Another fantastic event awaits history enthusiasts in Broome County. Gerald Smith will be presenting “An Ideal Place for a Stroll: A History of Casino/Ideal/En-Joie Park” on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 6:45 p.m. in the Decker Meeting Room at the Broome County Public Library. The presentation is hosted by the Broome County Historical Society.
The interest in this topic began when Smith gave a walking tour of the Village of Endicott a few months ago. While discussing the area near Union-Endicott High School, the group’s interest sparked in En-Joie Park’s history. Smith explained that the park was originally Casino Park, established as a product of the trolley car system that had its own park entrance.
Trolley car companies often developed parks at the end of their tracks to control entrance fees and concession income, and the Binghamton Railway Company was no exception. Many of the company owners were also involved in the Endicott Land Company, which sought to develop the area with factories, businesses, and residences.
In 1894, Casino Park opened as a private park, featuring a building that hosted various events such as boxing matches and concerts. However, George F. Johnson, of Endicott Johnson, disapproved of the park’s restricted access and purchased it in 1916, renaming it Ideal Park and making it free for all.
Johnson implemented the same policy at Bennett Park in Binghamton and repurposed the park as a recreational destination. Ideal Park, later known as En-Joie Health Park, operated from 1916 until 1930, offering attractions and events before closing down.
Over the years, the park hosted numerous races, concerts, and memorable events. Yet, like everything else, its time came to an end, and in 1968, the park was sold off as Endicott Johnson faced its final stages.
Smith looks forward to sharing more insights into the park’s history during the presentation, inviting attendees to learn about the park’s operation and its ultimate fate. The event promises to be an engaging dive into the area’s rich history and holds the possibility of exciting news for the presenter’s future endeavors.