Saturday, August 30, 2014

Storyland - Glen, New Hampshire - August 1959

Welcome to Storyland, in lovely Glen, New Hampshire (surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest)! Storyland opened in 1954; this charming little park started out with a single ride - an old fire truck! But owners Bob and Ruth Morrell collected dolls based on German storybook characters, and these dolls inspired Bob and Ruth to add tableaus populated by characters from various fairytales, fables, and "Mother Goose" stories.

There's Humpty Dumpty. Did you know that the famous rhyme never actually describes Mr. Dumpty as an egg? But that's how he's always portrayed.

Say, that old woman doesn't live in a shoe, she lives in a shoe-shaped house. That's only 45% crazy! Notice Mr. Stork delivering another bundle of joy. "…She had so many children, she didn't know what to do". Somebody needs to give her a good talking to.

I like the way this fairytale castle has a wonky "Toon Town" vibe to it. I wonder who that beautiful, blue-gowned princess is supposed to be? I say it's Cinderella. 

It's hard to tell, but that looks like some sort of pumpkin coach in front of the red and white-striped awning. Yes, that's what it is alright. Vehicles made of gourds are my favorites.

There's the crooked man with his crooked house (and presumably, the crooked cat and crooked mouse)! Storyland looks like it was full of charm and whimsey.

And, Storyland is still around today, though greatly changed from the days of today's photos. Now it has over 20 rides on some 35 acres. Some of the rides include the "Antique Cars", the "Turtle Twirl", the "Polar Coaster", "Alice's Tea Cups" (say what?), Swan Boats, a Carousel, and lots more.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Storyland!

Note: I am out of town for a few days; but don't let that stop you from leaving a comment!


Nanook said...


What a charming set of pictures. It's too bad the photographer hadn't a better sense of 'composition'... Now, get waaaaay, waaaaay back... I wanted to get a better gander at those swell black and white checkered petal pushers-!

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

I love a vintage nursery story-themed park!

There's a certain charm that hearkens back to a simpler time, both in our own pre-school lives as well as the nation's taste in outdoor entertainment.
Admittedly, some were poorly executed, missing the key elements on some level, but when well done, they were masterpieces that have fired the imaginations of adults and children alike for generations.

I am fortunate to have spent my formative years - ages 2-7 - living equidistant from Sacramento's Fairytale Town and Oakland's Children's Fairyland, with many a visit to each. It's a testament to the parks' designers, operators, and community commitment that both of these places are still going strong today. Other parks with similar themes have not fared as well.

K. Martinez said...

I feel lucky I was able to experience three classic kids parks as a child. Children's Fairyland in Oakland, Santa's Village in Scotts Valley and Frontier Village in San Jose. Only Children's Fairyland survived.

Chuck - Children's Fairyland in Oakland was my childhood park too. It's definitely community commitment that has kept that park going. I read that they even kept it low-tech to retain its original charm. Do you remember those colorful keys you could buy to turn the audio at each set piece?

Chuck said...

Those were awesome! Ours wee yellow, and there was a blue tag attached that listed the attractions with a little check box next to each so you could tick the tableaus off as you saw them.

I'm certain my parents still have at least one in their possession. We must have had three or four of them since we would often forget to grab the key on the way out of the house.

I can still remember some of the music that played as part of the narration at particular key stations - "Never Smile at a Crocodile" at Captain Hook's Pirate Ship/playground and "'Twas Brillig" at the Walrus and the Carpenter tableau/sea lion pool.

Walt reportedly visited the park while he was doing research for Disneyland, and that may have influenced some of the kinds of attractions originally planned for or actually built in Fantasyland, notably the original concept for an Alice walk-through attraction.

The Alice tunnel and card maze and the Alice Carrousel also inspired the ending scene of "Mad s a Hatter," a first-season episode of "The Batman Adventures."

K. Martinez said...

@Chuck - It's been so long, but all that comes back to me reading your comments. Especially the keys. I remember the Alice tunnel too and dragon that you could pull its leather tongue and it would talk. I also remember boarding the Jolly Trolley train in Fairyland and it took you around the edges of Lake Merritt and back. Another early childhood memory.

steve2wdw said...

Story Land is a neat little park....we used to take our daughters there in the 90's, when they were young. Everything in these pictures still survive. Yes, that is a Pumpkin Coach. You can either walk up the hill to Cinderella's Castle or take the coach. The Crooked House also doubles as the entry to the park...and it's an unwritten law that you must have your picture taken with Humpty Dumpty, although the wall isn't quite so tall anymore. Thanks for posting these.

JG said...

Roeding Park in Fresno had a Storyland years ago too. I recall one or two visits there as a kid. It must have been modeled on the Oakland park, which I don't recall visiting.

I recall a pink plaster castle much on the style of the Cinderella castle in Disneyland's Storybook land. I don't know if this park predates Disneyland but would not be surprised if it did.

I remember the kiddie Ferris wheel at the Fresno Playland park, the benches were caged and had a pivot, similar to the one at DCA, although much much smaller. That was a riot.

Storyland and Playland are still in operation in Fresno >>