Saturday, September 27, 2014

More From Freedomland USA, June 1960

Here are the last three scans from a lot of 6 slides from Freedomland, USA. See the first three HERE!

This first shot was taken from the Old Tucson Mining Company Ore Cars (otherwise known as an aerial tram ride, or "sky ride") as they passed above the train tracks, looking towards the train station that was part of the "San Francisco" area of the park. That train almost, almost looks like the trains at Disneyland, with the old steam locomotive pulling those yellow passenger cars. But it is also pulling three open-air cars that are more or less the equivalent of Disneyland's early "cattle cars" - only the guests could sit.

Just think how much more impressive this would have been if the designers had done a better job of evoking old San Francisco? I'm not sure how they would have achieved this, since steep hills would be impractical.


There's that Tucson Mining Company thingy again. It's TWO skyways side by side, which is pretty neat. I'm all for it. A team of mules can just be seen at the base of the towers - now we know Walt didn't have his Skyway go into Frontierland. It really throws the western theme off. I believe that the tunnel was the transition into the area known as The Old Southwest, 


There goes Danny the Dragon, managing to look both fearsome and friendly. Danny didn't ride on a traditional track like you might expect… instead he followed a smooth roadway that had a guidance system buried beneath the black top. It had something to do with reversing the polarity of tachyons. So the driver made Danny stop and go (when necessary), but he didn't tell Danny where to go. You don't do that to a dragon.


I hope you have enjoyed this visit to Freedomland, USA!

13 comments:

Chuck said...

The rail equipment for the "Santa Fe railroad" at Freedomland was actually smaller and narrower than what's at Disneyland. Originally built for two-foot narrow gauge railroads in Maine (the DLRR is built to the more common 3-foot narrow gauge), the equipment was leased from the Edaville Railroad in South Carver, MA. The locomotives and rolling stock were trucked back to South Carver every fall after Freedomland closed for the season to be used in Edaville's annual holiday lights festival.

The locomotive seen here is either ex-Monson RR #3 or #4, built by Vulcan Iron Works in Wilkes-Barre, PA in 1913 and 1918, respectively. Both locomotives are still around today and owned by the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum. Number 4 is located at the museum in Portland, ME, while #3 is on long-term lease to the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR in Phillips, ME. Both are currently out of service and undergoing overhauls, but are planned to return to operating service.

Here's a 2011 clip of #4 pulling the Maine Narrow Gauge RR Co. & Museum's "Polar Express."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFSYP6su4II

The passenger cars in this clip are also original to various Maine 2-foot railroads (although some have been heavily modified over the years), and several were previously leased for use at either Freedomland or Pleasure Island, another C.V. Wood theme park that operated in Wakefield, MA from 1959-69.

K. Martinez said...

I think one of the glaring flaws of Disney California Adventure is the piss-poor representation of San Francisco. A turn-of-the-century Barbary Coast and/or Chinatown would've been cool.

The double skyway image is cool. The New York World's Fair had one. Does Six Flags Great Adventure still have theirs?

Danny the Dragon sort of reminds me of the Casey Jr. Circus Train's dragon cars and the lift hill track portion of Casey Jr. Didn't Danny the Dragon end up in Storytown, USA?

Nice Freedomland images. Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Chuck - You did a fantastic job on the research. I absolutely love details like this. Thanks!

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, wow, I think I owe you a royalty check or something! Thanks for all of the amazing info. It's interesting that you mention the Edaville RR, because I just scanned a slide (one of those square "127" format slides) of a little locomotive with the word "Edaville" on the side. Of course I looked the word up, and saw that they had leased their equipment to Freedomland, which was a big surprise. I'm glad that both of Freedomland's locos are still around, and being restored. 2-foot gauge, man, that is narrow! Thanks again.

K. Martinez, it's funny, because I always thought that DCA resembled a Six Flags park due to its lame theming (although I thought that Grizzly Mountain and the river rapids were nice). So much of it feels like big industrial buildings with stuff lazily applied, no real attempt to immerse guests in another world. Eisner was SO sure that people loved Disney so much that they would accept the low-budget park. I know that many fans (like me) felt like it was almost a slap in the face. I think Great Adventure still has their skyway, though I don't know about Danny the Dragon. There is still the version in San Jose's "Happy Hollow", which I have been on. Maybe you are close enough to SJ that you could check it out!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

If I said it once I said it a hundred times. Nuns can't resist a good Dragon Train Ride.

Unique photo's to say the least.

Habits are the Catholic version of the Babushka.

Nanook said...

@ Alonzo P Hawk-

And I always say - wherever there are nuns, sailors can't be too far away. They just seem to travel in packs.

Dean Finder said...

The Skyride at Six Flags Great Adventure is still runnin. However, the towers were changed when the ride was relocated there, and the cars were taken from Six Flags Great America. So it's hard to say it's the same ride from the World's Fair.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyride_(Six_Flags_Great_Adventure)

K. Martinez said...

Dean Finder - I didn't realize the sky ride (Delta Flyer/Eagles Flight) from Six Flags Great America was gone. Fortunately, we still have our Von Roll sky ride (Delta Flyer/Eagle's Flight) here in California's Great America, Santa Clara.

Major - Yes, Danny the Dragon is still at San Jose's Happy Hollow.

Chuck said...

Major - thanks! Why don't you just double what you're already paying me and we'll call it even.

Looking forward to eventually seeing that Edaville slide you just scanned.

Ken - Danny did go to Storytown, USA (now Six Flags Great Escape), but he apparently stopped operating in 1996 and his dedicated real estate given over to a Vekoma Boomerang. I was able to find a 2002 photo of him sitting backstage at Great Escape (http://cabinetmagazine.org/issues/7/dannythedragon.php), but no information on what happened to him after that.

I also found a home video of a trip behind Danny shot at the end of his last season at Great Escape: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1Phzi4ool0 I am amazed that no effort was made to visually screen the park from that motel next door.

K. Martinez said...

Chuck - More great stuff. I like the video. I'd assume they might want to leave it exposed to the motel and roadway so it would entice some of those people passing by on the road to check out the amusement park. Sort of like advertising. Thanks for the extras again!

Nanook said...

Dear All-

According to Greatadventurehistory.com/Skyride... The Sky Ride at Great Adventure has towers from Freedomland and originally the cars and mechanical components from the World's Fair Sky Ride. Following the closure of the Sky Ride at Six Flags Great America, at Guernee, some of their cars replaced the fleet of vehicles at Great Adventure (the remainder of the cars going to Six Flags Georgia).

Major Pepperidge said...

Alonzo, it looks like there are a lot of things that nuns can't resist. Which is ironic.

Dean Finder, thanks for the info about the Skyride at Six Flags Great Adventure.

K. Martinez, hooray!

Chuck, I will TRIPLE it! Maybe I need to do a "trains" post (have I done one of those before?).

K. Martinez, it makes me sad to think that the Storytown "Danny" is just sitting there unused. I wonder why? He can't be that technologically complicated. I wish that some other park would buy him, fix him up, and make lots of kids happy again.

Nanook, who knew that there would be so much interest in the Sky Ride? Not me!

Chuck said...

Major - You drive a hard bargain, but I accept your offer. We can conclude the salary negotiations.

You did do a post called "Train Stuff" on May 18th, 2013. But you're always welcome to post more...