Out of the Past: The Circle Inn, Athol Springs

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

The Strohm family owned The Circle Inn on Lakeshore Road from 1939 until 1963. Before the new Lakeshore Rd. cut through the property, The Circle Inn was famous for what many said was the best view of the lake and the lakeshore back toward Buffalo.

Frank Strohm behind the bar at The Circle Inn in Athol Springs in 1946. (Buffalo Stories archives)

The place was one of a handful of taverns and clubs which were right in the vicinity of that infamous  “go-to” spot for television news broadcasts trying to show Western New York just how filled with frenzy the winds are coming off the lake.

The Circle Inn was directly across the street from Red Top Hot Dogs— not far from Hoak’s, where that now-famous car became encased in ice during a storm in January, 2016. The photo went viral, and had national news outlets like ABC visiting Hamburg.

The infamous frozen car in the Hoak’s parking lot—not from from where The Circle Inn stood.

At one point in 1950, the Strohms were offering “the only lakefront properties available between Buffalo and Evans, only 9 miles from Lafayette Square.” His property was divided into 20 smaller lots for summer homes.

After the Strohm family sold the business, the restaurant was known as The Seacrest Supper Club. The building burned down in 1968.

Frank Strohm lived in Hamburg from 1936 until he retired to Florida in 1963. He died in Boca Raton in 1971. While Frank is shown here behind the bar, it was his wife Mary who was the tavern’s legal owner. Living to see four great-great grandchildren, she died at the age of 101 in 2002.

This story originally appeared in The Hamburg Sun.

 

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.