21st Santa Claus Lane Ornament Now Available
Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce has unveiled its newest Santa Claus Lane ornament, a depiction of the former Cloud 9 Park. Through the ornament sales, holiday lights are funded and can be lit in Olean from November to early January. The ornament, in a series created by artist Kathleen McDonald, is $25.00.
Many of the previously made ornaments are still available with a limited inventory. The first to be unveiled was the Olean Municipal Building. In 2000, the Fannie E. Bartlett House was depicted, followed in 2001 with St. Mary of the Angels Church. Olean High School came next in 2002 (and is sold out at GOACC but is sold by the OHS Alumni Association), St. Stephen’s Church in 2003 (sold out), St. Bonaventure University in 2004, and in 2005, a depiction of Santa Claus Lane. In 2006, the Olean General Hospital was created, in 2007, the ornament was the Olean Post Office, 2008 was Community Bank, NA with 2009 Ivers J. Norton. The next ornaments are 2010 Castle Restaurant, 2011 St. Francis Hospital, 2012 Chuck Wagon Restaurant, 2013 Palace Theater, 2014 Boardmanville Elementary and 2015 Reds and Trudys. Last year, GOACC had created depiction of North Union Street and of Olean Class Cars. These past ornaments are available at the Chamber office.
Included with each of the ornaments is a brief history -- The ‘scenic’-sational Cloud 9 Park, located high a-top Mt. Hermanns in the heart of the Enchanted Mountains, was the love project of Olean resident and park owner Montogomery Shoemaker.
The summer of 1964 welcomed the Cloud Nine Park, Olean’s most popular attraction. That season, the park had approximately 37,000 visitors. The park consisted of 400 acres of hillside created into a recreation area with attractions for persons of all ages. Cloud 9 was a family affair with the seven Shoemaker children working and operating the concessions and rides.
A year later, a whole new section was opened. Centered on the theme of the local oil boom days, the special ‘Gusher City’ park was a replica boom town. This section was built over a mile from Cloud Nine, and was accessible via a miniature train.
Passengers boarded the Gusher City Special train with the first stop at the Gusher City Station. The open coach, narrow gauge railroad came around the mountainside at an elevation of 1,760 feet. Train riders visited the boom town, complete with a 72-foot high oil well drill rig, old steam engine, oil pumps and a general store, post office and museum.
Other rides included ferris wheels, merry go round, chairplanes, motor boat ride, auto ride, junior tractors, swimming and wading pool, children’s playground, Noah’s Ark animal park, miniature golf. The ferris wheel rotated over the north face ‘wall’ and an airplane ride was strategically located on the edge of a level. These were contributing factors to the well placed name of Cloud Nine.
Camping sites were in the forested section of Cloud 9 with exciting and dramatic views of the countryside. The view was panoramic from the patio of the park’s Gazebo restaurant. The gazebo was located at the north end of the parking lot at Look-Out-Point. Autos were able to park right at the edge of the park. The restaurant served up concession style foods including the famous ‘cloud’burgers.
Situated on several levels on the northwest face of Mount Hermanns, Cloud 9, at virtually any point, commanded a grand view of the Enchanted Mountains and the city, five hundred feet below. Normally opened 7 days a week from Memorial Day weekend thru Labor Day, the park had weekend hours till the snow flew. An average of 1,500 people visited each week, with about 600 on Sunday.
The park also included dozens of secluded picnic areas for large and small groups, each complete with a grill, well water, work table and picnic tables. There were also two pavilions that accommodated 300 people.
Winter season had ski, skate and toboggan all at the Cloud 9 winter land. Two areas were provided for ice skating. The family would place electric signs up at the park, one of them was Cloud 9. During basketball season with St. Bonaventure, they would place a large letter “B,” and then a “Y” during the annual membership drive at the Olean YMCA.
During the Christmas season, a lighted star would shine from the hill. Neil Shoemaker son of owner Montegomery would walk up to the lit star at Cloud 9 to fill up the generator to make sure that every night the star would shine brightly for all to see. Then Neil would get on the toboggan (which brought the gasoline up there) and ride back down the hill. Most days it was their dad. The star was forty feet made of 2 by 4s and a couple of poles.
After several successful seasons, the admission price and individual ride fees weren’t holding up the budget. After a 1970 very wet summer season, Cloud 9 closed its doors. Cloud 9 Park was the ‘high spot’ of the Enchanted Mountains.
Every year, the Santa Claus Lane committee chooses the landmarks to be designed on the 3 1/2 inch circular resin ornament. The artist sketches the layout from photos provided by Chamber officials and a prototype is created. Once the prototype is approved, work begins with the process of pouring and hand-painting each piece. The ornaments arrive in Olean, individually boxed and numbered, with a brief description of the ornament.
The new ornaments are available at the Chamber office at 301 North Union Street and at Seasons at the Olean Center Mall. Ornaments can also be shipped outside Olean for an additional $6 for shipping/handling charges per ornament. For more information on the ornament or Santa Claus Lane activities, please call GOACC at 716/372-4433, stop in the office, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SANTA CLAUS LANE
Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce • 716-372-4433 • email@example.com