Miami Beach, at the northwest corner of Northern Drive and Leversee Road, was formerly one of the old reservoirs. The City of Troy leased it for use as a swimming, skating, and recreation facility from 1930 to the early 1960s. In 1963, Miami Beach was replaced by a water filtration plant.
Prior to Miami Beach, there had been a public Bath House north of the intersection of 123rd Street and First Avenue. Other early swimming locations (designated or not) were along the Hudson River, including the Laureate Boat Club dock at the foot of Glen Avenue in Batestown, near Whale Island, and Pleasantdale Beach.
MANY ATTRACTIONS AT MIAMI BEACH, OIL MILL HILL
Troy Times. May 29, 1930: 3 cols 1-8. [Detail from scan at fultonhistory.com]
TO CREATE PARK.
Old Lansingburgh Reservoir to Be Used for Bathing and Skating Purposes—Dance Hall, Band Stand, Bridge and Road to Be Constructed—Will Begin Activities January 1.
An amusement park is being created at the old Lansingburgh reservoir at the head of Oil Mill Hill by David Patnaud and Henry Carnrick, who have leased the reservoir and ground surrounding it for a period of five years, with an option for a more extending lease providing their venture proves successful. A gasoline station and lunchroom are in the process of construction and will be finished by next week, the first buildings to be put up on the grounds. When this is finished, work will be started on a dance hall. The old spillway will be bridged as soon as the necessary materials arrive and a road will be constructed around the proposed park. Included in the facilities will be a bathing beach and in the winter ice skating. The beach will be sanded and a dressing room erected for the convenience of the bathers and skaters. A small bridge about 25 feet in length extends out into the reservoir and at the end of this a bandstand will be erected. During the summer months concerts will be given and in the winter music will be furnished for the skaters. The park has been named Miami Beach by Mr. Patnaud. The land acquired in the lease also embraces part of an apple orchard, and tables and seats will be put up under these trees for a picnic grounds. Numerous concessions are planned for the park and also a merry-go-round, chair plane and other amusements. Dancing will be conducted evenings and will start with the completion of the dance hall. According to Mr. Carnrick, the dance hall will be completed and dancing and skating will be enjoyed by January 1.”
Troy Times. September 17, 1929: 3 col 1.
Many Attractions at Miami Beach, Oil Mill Hill; Amusement Center Will be Open Tomorrow—Boats Provided for Fishermen.
The attractions of a Florida resort in the city of Troy are provided at Miami Beach on Oil Mill Hill, which will open tomorrow, with the promise of being one of the most popular amusement parks in the Troy area. ‘An attraction for every member of the family’ is the slogan of the Miami Beach Park Co., which is composed of David Patnaud as President and Harry Carnrick as Secretary, and nothing has been left undone to make the amusement center one of the most outstanding in the state. Dancing will be conducted every night, with music being furnished by the stellar orchestra of Troy, Irv Gordon and His Miami Serenaders.
Refreshments will be served by E. T. Cone at his Miami Beach stand, which will feature frankfurters toasted by the new method and Mahlon Carnrick, who will serve Wagar’s ice cream exclusively. Space will be set aside for the parking of 500 automobiles and picnic tables and chairs are placed about the grounds for the benefit of persons who wish to spend the day at the new playground. A large lake for boating, bating and fishing is located in the center of the park. Due to rainy weather, however, the management has been unable to drain the lake. This will be done next week, the bed scraped and the entire surface sanded for bathing purposes. The bathing beach will be opened about June 10, furnishing one of the best beaches in this vicinity, with clear, pure water from springs in the lake.
Lumber used in the construction of the buildings was furnished by Charles Collins & Sons, as well as the paint, oil, varnish and garden furniture. The pavilion has been decorated and a dance floor installed. Lighting fixtures and the lighting effects were furnished by R.L. McGrath of Fulton Street. The sand for the beach was furnished by Clemente Bros. Six new boats have been placed on the lake for fishing and boating parties and in the winter skating will be enjoyed, a large dressing room being located beneath the pavilion. Swimming sports will occupy an important part in the summer program when the new beach is completed and the finishing touches have been placed on the diving board.
Troy Times. May 29, 1930: 3 cols 6-8.
The dance pavilion at Miami Beach on top of Oil Mill Hill, Lansingburgh, was destroyed by fire of suspicious origin shortly after 4 o’clock this morning with a loss of $12,000. The fire was discovered by Frank Hayden, R.D.2, and George Rasmussen, who lives near the dance hall. A telephone call summoned firemen from Pumper 12 and shortly after an alarm was sounded from box 273 at 124th Street and Fourth Avenue by Patrolman Shires of the Fourth Precinct, summoning firemen from Pumper 11 and Truck 1.
According to witnesses several explosions occurred in the burning structure. The fire when discovered was confined to the northwest corner of the structure, but fanned by a strong wind it swept through the frame building, which was one story high. The hall was a mass of flames upon the arrival of the firemen and only prompt work on their part prevented the destruction of a gas station nearby.
Water for fighting the fire was taken from a stream across the road from the building, as there are no fire hydrants located within several hundred feet. A large quantity of lumber, stored near the dance hall, was also destroyed. A small refreshment stand to the north of the building was badly scorched.
Telephone and electric wires were burned down and several ‘live’ wires endangered the firemen and spectators. Workmen from the New York Telephone Co. and the New York Power and Light Corporation began repairing the wires as soon as the fire was extinguished.
The building was owned by Irving Gordon of 94 King Street and the land is leased by Mr. Gordon from the city. Mr. Gordon stated this morning that the loss, approximately $12,000, was partly covered by insurance. he was undecided whether or not the dance hall would be rebuilt.
An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the origin of the fire was launched this morning by Arson Inspector Joseph Driscoll.
An unsuccessful attempt to burn the establishment was made last year, but prompt discovery on the part of police of the Fourth Precinct, under Captain Schulze, prevented the destruction of the building. At that time, a quantity of gasoline and oil soaked rags was found and it was termed by police as “a spite job.”
Troy Times. April 26, 1933: 5 col 5.
Superintendent of Buildings Bond has issued a permit for the re-building of the Miami Beach dance pavilion at the top of Oil Mill Hill.
The permit was issued to Charles Collins & Sons, stockholders in the Miami Beach enterprise, and calls for a building 60 by 100 feet and the enlargement of a refreshment stand located to the north of the pavilion proper. The estimated cost is $5,000 and the contractors expect to have the building up early in June.
Troy Times. May 12, 1933: 5 col 3.
Some articles concerning the Speigletown District Fire Company as it relates to Miami Beach follow, along with some items about the last decades of Miami Beach. Speigletown, had been part of the Patent of Stone Arabia and from 1819-1901 had been part of the Town of Lansingburgh.
In connection with the Fire Company, a remarkable collection of home movies, title cards, and photographs exists on YouTube tracing its early history. Some of the images might be of events held at Miami Beach. The opening scrolling text in the home movie states in part:
When serious fires occur in a locality, somebody usually does something about it. This is the story in pictures of the organization, development and adventures of the SPEIGLETOWN DISTRICT VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY.
In 1944 men from the Plank Road section, from Oil Mill Hill, Sunset Heights, Speigletown and the countryside thereabout met in the Schoolhouse and at Frank Dunn’s to organize a Fire Company.
Committee Makes Final Plans for Gala Affair at Miami Beach
The final meeting of the committee arranging for the dance to be held tomorrow night at Miami Beach, under the sponsorship of the Speigletown Volunteer Fire Company, will be held at Miami Beach tonight at 7 p.m. George Mullen is chairman and the rest of the committee is composed of Irving W. Gordon, Walter E. Wood, Charles Van Sciver, Henry S. Mantell, Robert McHaffie, Harold F. Damon, William Cannon, Edward G. Palmer, Anton Hansen, John J. Knauer, Irving C. Dutcher, Kenneth J. Lape, Carl M. Fitts and Neil J. Kelleher.
The hall has been converted into a veritable country fair with Halloween decorations and booths erected for the sale of sandwiches and refreshments. An extensive entertainment program has been arranged, in addition to a six-piece band for round and square dancing, with a competent caller. The advance sale of tickets has exceeded expectations and the committee is determined to make it a joyous affair. Dancing will start at 8:30 p.m.
Times Record. October 20, 1944: 15 col 5.
Speigletown’s District Volunteer Fire Company will hold an entertainment and dance Saturday at Miami Beach hall on Oil Mill Hill. Round and square dances will be held. Entertainment will be in charge of Neil Kelleher, Charles Murray and J. McNary. Kenneth J. Lape is chairman and Irving C. Dutcher is co-chairman.
Times Record. December 6, 1944: 12 col 1.
New Speigletown Fire Company Meets
A plot of land in Speigletown known as the Clemente property will be purchased for a Speigletown District Volunteer Fire Department building.
Final plans were made at a meeting at Miami Beach this week. Plans for the new building were shown and arrangements made for the work to start soon.
John P. Judge addressed the meeting, complimenting the members on their efforts to form a fire department.
A committee was named to investigate fire equipment suitable for the community. The group includes James C. Covert, Walter Wood, Eric Rutledge. They will report at the next meeting.
The promotions committee reported a total of $2,500 raised. The committee is sponsoring round and square dancing at Miami Beach auditorium each Saturday night.
All members of the department have been asked to attend demonstration at Wynantskill at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 3.
Anton Hanson, president, was in charge of the meeting.
Times Record. May 23, 1945: 12 col 2.
The Speigletown Volunteer Fire Co., auxiliary, and newly formed Speigleaires, drum and bugle corps, will sponsor their first annual field day and parade along with firemanic events Sunday, Sept. 17, at Miami Beach grounds, atop Oil Mill Hill.
The parade will be formed at Little Red Schoolhouse on Rt. 6o just below Speigletown village and proceed down Rt. 40 to the Old Plank Road past the fire station where the reviewing stand will be set up. The parade will climax at Miami Beach.
Firemanic contests in the form of booster line, bucket brigade, and basketball will follow.
The parade will step off at 12:30 p.m. Already some 35 area fire companies and more than 15 bands, drum and bugle corps, etc., have signed up to participate.
Trophies are to be award to musical groups and for parade and firemanic events.
Several twirling units will participate, including the Wynantskill Co-Ketts, winners at the Schaghticoke fairgrounds Saturday at Firemen’s Day. The Speigletown men and women’s units were also parade winners at this event.
Other twirling groups will be from Mechanicville, Johnsonville and Albany.
Several booths will be set up in the midway at Miami Beach. Clarence Hayward is general chairman. Any other units desiring to enter the firemanic events, parade, or musical demonstrations should contact Mr. Hayward at BE 5-0261.”
Times Record. September 7, 1961: 12 col 1.