On Pleasure Beach
Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe with Audubon put together an interview with Morgan Kaolian for the WildLife Guards. Morgan was a frequent visitor of Pleasure Beach and Pilot who discover the carousel had been destroyed:
Jamiya: How many times did you visit Pleasure Beach?
Morgan: Hundreds of times! Staring going in the 1940’s for rides and weekends.
Attended Pleasure Beach Dance’s at the Convention Hall.
Karizma: What was your favorite thing about Pleasure Beach?
Morgan: The beach itself! Swimming on the south side (long beach), wildlife, rides, and pavilion, mid-way. Enjoyed the view from the bridge.
How much did it cost?
Morgan: .25-.50 cents to ride the rides and play games.
Amani: What is the Mid-Way?
Morgan: Roof topped building with shooting gallery, pet zoo, arcade games, merry-go-round; in the central area near small railroad that brought people around the beach.
Natalie: What do you remember most about Pleasure Beach? Do any particular experiences stand out?
Morgan: The fun I nad. Picnics, swimming, boat sails, cooking by the fireplace. Good for a hot summer.
Imanie: Did you see any wildlife?
Morgan: Yes! Piping plovers, least terns, and fish. I enjoyed to observe wildlife.
Amani: Why did you visit Pleasure Beach?
Morgan: FUN! Lion’s Club, Service Clubs and, local community establishments had cookouts in the fireplaces. However, A LOT of fires occurred and would leave beach devastated. You could swim in a saltwater pool. They also held aqua-shows and swimming events.
Amani: Why was Pleasure Beach a destination in the early half of the 20th century?
Morgan: Great get away; you could walk easily from the east side. Great family outing for north end accessible and affordable.
Many mistakes happened causing the deterioration of Pleasure Beach:
City of Bridgeport owned it then leased. Leasing caused problems with affordability, had to purchase food instead of bringing it; New York City buses with students came in for free (gave everything away); No money coming in to repair structure and rides.
Karizma: Did you meet people from outside of Bridgeport or from outside of CT during visits?
Morgan: Mostly people from Fairfield and New Haven County. Took girlfriends dancing.
Natalie: How many times did you fly out to Pleasure Beach?
Morgan: You fly over coming from the south-south west. I have radio to the tower to ask to do a fly around, if granted, I circle what use to be Pleasure Beach. One day when I was flying over, I notice that the carousel was knocked down. Come Come to find out, the Town of Stratford/Bridgeport were doing water work or putting in line, a worker decided to tell the bulldozer operator to knock buildings down without permissions or permit and no city official on site.
Jamiya: Did you go to Beardsley Zoo to see the restored horses? If so, how many times?
Morgan: There were hand carved horses left inside carousel worth $1000; people started to steal them not knowing the value. Someone raised complaints about the history and value. I take annual visits with my grandchild.
Bit: What would you like to see out on Pleasure Beach in the Future?
Morgan: Unfortunately, there is not too much remaining due to recklessness. I would like to see the bumper car building. Whatever is left remaining, beach clean-up, maybe have retired couple to live there as caretakers. Access to beach, bridge should be repaired, walkway for pediatricians. DUCK CAR, LARKS can be used to get materials out to beach, as well as, residents. I’m concerned the longer people stay away, animal life and plant life will overtake the entire beach, people will not be allowed to go there; as of on, humans only can occupy 50%. We need to share with wildlife - SHARE THE SHORE.
Corrie: Do you have any last advice or thoughts?
Morgan: If you visit the Bridgeport Library, they have pictures and information. I can provide you with aerials photos. Start petitions and newspaper writing to access pleasure beach. It is important to BALANCE AND SHARE. I feel a contest of why they should bring back pleasure beach would be great for younger citizens of Bridgeport.
For more insight on Pleasure Beach, please watch “The Lost Stable” by Peter Vandell featuring Morgan Kaolian: