Saturday, September 10, 2016

Freedomland, August 1961

It's been quite a while since I last posted photos of "Freedomland U.S.A." (the Bronx, New York), but I have three for you today.

This first one was taken over in the "Chicago" (1871) area. Just visible in the upper left is one of the steamboats, "The American" (the other was "The Canadian"); see the ticket booth for the Great Lakes Cruise? The little girl has apparently never seen a person with a camera before. Say, there goes a fire company pulling (and pushing) an olde-timey fire wagon through. Why in the world would they need that?

What? Chicago's on fire again? Seems like it happened every 20 minutes. Which it did. Lucky kids were chosen to help fight the blaze, just like at a real conflagration! Tax payers like it because kids work for free and they don't eat much. The boys with the ostrich feather hats are my heroes.

Comparing the Disneyland Band to the Freedomland version is an interesting study in contrasts. While Disneyland's musicians dressed in crisp uniforms, the Freedomland band appears to be made up of a motley collection of cops, clowns, and other characters. A baton twirler is always a plus, though! Notice the beautiful steam locomotive at the station.

I have a few more Freedomland images for you, coming soon (?)!


K. Martinez said...

Love the motley Freedomland band. I never understood why Santa Fe Railway was a sponsor at Freedomland on the East Coast. Why not New York Central or Pennsylvania Railroad? Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I've always wondered that as well; I assume that it was because C.V. Wood already had a relationship with Santa Fe through his Disneyland connections, but it would have been cool if another company had been a sponsor. Meanwhile, I guess nobody else likes Freedomland!

Mark H. Besotted said...

Bah, Major! I love Freedomland (in the same way I love Ed Wood movies).

One reason we don't let kids fight fires much these days is actually in that picture: the ostrich plumes on their hats kept catching on fire...

Nanook said...

Oh, Major-

I just wasn't feeling the love last night. But today - today's a different story-! Who couldn't love a theme park parade more at-home as a part of the Doo-Dah Parade, I ask you-? You woulda' thought that alone would guaranty a long and successful life for Freedomland, but apparantly I have a lot to learn about successful theme parks.

(Perhaps a 'phantom' boat ride would've been the ticket...)

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, Ha! I wasn't feeling it last night either. Mainly because I couldn't get them to open full size without going through Photobucket, so sometimes I just wait until the next day because when they don't open in their own window right away the first night, they almost always do the next morning.

I love Freedomland and want to see more (please). It is yet another place that I wish I could have seen in person. I see that the railroad trestle has Santa Fe R.Y. painted on it? What does the R.Y. stand for? I'm familiar with the R.R. abbreviation, but not R.Y.

Patrick Devlin said...

I think it was Santa Fe because the main depot was in Chicagoland (No, not that Chicagoland). And TM!, I'm pretty sure that's RY and not R.Y. That's a pretty common abbreviation for railway.

TokyoMagic! said...

Patrick, thanks! I had never seen that before!

Chuck said...

While the C.V. Wood connection was probably key to Santa Fe participation, it really did make good sense to advertise nationally. Even though Santa Fe trains went no further east than Chicago, they still had connections to the eastern railroads, allowing through shipment of goods from one coast to the other. AT&SF advertised nationally in magazines like Life and The Saturday Evening Post and, if memory serves, I believe they even maintained a sales office in Manhattan.

TM!, the official name for the railroad was the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway, so, as Patrick notes, "RY." is a logical abbreviation.

The thing that makes the whole picture look odd to me is seeing that tiny Maine two-foot-gauge locomotive from the Edaville R.R. in Santa Fe paint.

Major Pepperidge said...

Mark H. Besotted, you’d think they would have learned from New York City’s famous “Furry Brigade”. They dressed in full fur costumes (“Because they’re comfortable!”). Let’s just say it didn’t end well.

Nanook, “Not feeling the love” seems to equal, “Freedomland… MEH!”. Oh well, I’m going to post what have, regardless. Somehow I have the suspicion that the motley band was the least of Freedomland’s problems, survival-wise.

TokyoMagic!, sorry about the Photobucket issue. I hate them. Yes, “hate” is a strong word, and I mean it. As I’ve said before, they are now 95% about promoting Photobucket, and 5% about serving their paying customers.

Patrick Devlin, when you say “…not that Chicagoland”, I have no idea what you mean.

TokyoMagic!, I think we’ve even seen “RY” used in regards to the Disneyland “railway’ in some instances.

Chuck, you make some excellent points about Santa Fe; I’m sure that Santa Fe had to be encouraged with the very successful association with Disneyland. Meanwhile, as an aside, there is a sidewalk in downtown L.A. (not a nice part of town today) with a beautiful old terrazzo Santa Fe logo. The building is gone, but the logo remains. I can’t believe that there does not appear to be a photo of it somewhere on the interwebs.