One of Michigan's mostly-forgotten amusement parks is Tashmoo Park, located on Harsens Island in St. Clair County.

You'll find Harsens Island along the St. Clair River on the east side of Lake St. Clair. The island was named after New Yorker James Harsen, who was one of the first white settlers to arrive back in 1779. He made a deal with the local Native Americans and bought the island in 1783.

Over 100 years later, a post office finally began operating in 1900, called Sans Souci. It became well-known as a shipping and trading center, and was re-named Harsens Island in 1960.

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The island was ripe for fishing and hunting, which brought more and more visitors. Inevitably, amenities for the tourists popped up: hotels, fancy restaurants...and its own amusement park, Tashmoo. It opened in 1897 by the White Star Line, who built a brand new steam ship, the 306-foot Tashmoo, that brought tourists and local customers to this new amusement area beginning in the late 1890s. The Tashmoo was able to carry up to three-and-a-half thousand passengers and was the largest paddle-wheeled steamboat on the Great Lakes.

There weren't the typical rides at the park (there was a merry-go-round), but they did have a casino, dance pavilion, picnic area, recreation center, roller skating rink, and sports center. As with all good things, it had to come to an end. Once the steamboats stopped running, the customers stopped coming. Tashmoo Park closed for good in 1951.

The gallery below shows many old photographs of what the park once looked like, some memorabilia, the ships, the postcards, and location. Sadly, almost all the Tashmoo Park buildings are gone except for the former dance pavilion.....which is now used as a marina.

Gone For Good: Tashmoo Park, Harsens Island, Michigan


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