An Alton Family Tradition Since 1854
Towering some three hundred and fifty feet above the north shore of Lake Erie stands a mountain of sand, a most interesting phenomenon of nature known as the Sand Hills. This freak of nature far off the beaten path has been growing and shifting for centuries due to the prevailing southwest winds. Judging by fragments of pottery, arrowheads and flints found in the vicinity, it appears that the Indians occupied the areas as a campground long before the white man realized it existed.
John Alton purchased the farm from the Crown in 1850. In the Norfolk County Atlas printed in 1877, it tells of the large Sand Hills on John Alton’s farm. At that time the summit was crowned by the observatory of the United States Lake Survey. This structure was framed of heavy timber to form a tripod about 70 ft. high, on the top was a tent to protect the observers and the instruments from the sun and wind. A similar station was built on Long Point and another in Pennsylvania and at definite intervals mirrors were flashed from one station to the other. From this they obtained satisfactory data to provide reliable charts for the sailors. It also tells of visitors climbing the hills and baseball games being played there.
About 1890 George W. Alton started charging horse and buggies 10¢ to visit the Sand Hills. In 1926 when Stanley B. Alton was the owner, cars were starting to come and the entrance fee was raised to 25¢ per car. The first campers started to come in 1930. Stanley continued to operate the park until 1965 when James and Dorothy Alton took over. Since the death of James in 1994 the park remains in the Alton Family now being owned by Dorothy and son John.