On rare visits to town, Joe would swap stories of his business ideas in exchange for a drink. One idea was of a balloon factory, using the prevailing westerly winds to transport travelers to Buffalo. Another idea was a feather factory, using the abundance of birds that can be found on Presque Isle. Joes favourite idea was to begin a circus that would feature wild animals being transported in a wheelbarrow over a high wire stretched between the peninsula and the mainland.
Most people found Joes ideas amusing and harmless; he never found the financial backing to realize his dreams. Others feared Joe would claim squatters rights to the peninsula and, in an event shrouded in secrecy, he was committed to the State Hospital for the Insane in Warren, Pennsylvania, on April 14, 1910, for an act of violence that eyewitnesses say Joe was the victim. Joe died in 1912, longing for just one thing, to return to his beloved Presque Isle. How much would Joes holdings be worth today if he had owned the peninsula? A restaurant at the entrance to Presque Isle is named after him.
Legend says that the sand replenishment needed each year is simply because Presque Isle loved Joe Root as much as he loved her. This is why she keeps slipping away in search of the King of the Peninsula.
Return to Presque Isle State Park, in the Parks section of this website.