Saturday, July 15, 2017

Freedomland, U.S.A.

Here are three more scans of vintage slides featuring Freedomland U.S.A., located (for four short years) in the Bronx (New York, of course). I am endlessly fascinated by this park, conceived by C.V. Wood - a valuable aid to Walt Disney in the early planning of Disneyland, though they had a major falling out. You can read about it in Todd James Pierce's "Three Years in Wonderland"!

This first photo shows the next exterior to the "Civil War", "...a horse-drawn wagon adventure ride through recreations of American Civil War battle ground, camps, derailed trains and burning houses, which ends in the middle of a mock battle". As historians know, the Civil War was perhaps the most fun war ever.

There is something very evocative about these faux ruins, as if they were all that was left of a building after General Sherman's "scorched earth" march to the sea.

Freedomland had its own Santa Fe-sponsored railroad (with two locomotives), and it looks like it was a beauty. This particular locomotive appears to be the "Ernest S. Marsh" - yes, the same name as Disneyland's #4 engine (which debuted in 1959, while Freedomland didn't open until 1960). Notice the couple consulting the handy park map - as you can see, the park was in the shape of a prehistoric chicken.

I don't mean to be unkind, but come on - that HAS to be a man in that dress and golden pigtails, right? He's looking extra glum because this is "Bring Your Son To Work" day, and in about 20 minutes, 10 year-old Mikey will find out what his dad does for a living. Hey, it's honest work! For the last year the old man has been telling his kid that he "works with cattle". 

Elsie the Cow was a featured (and popular!) resident of Freedomland (you could see her in her "boudoir"), but Elsie was a brown Jersey heifer. I can sense your disappointment. 

I have only a few Freedomland images left!



Sorry this is posted here , but I have some answers regarding Friday's posts on the Disneyland Submarine Voyage redo in 1986/87 with the NEMO diving bell and information on the 1996 return farewell performance of AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL. ; post on Thursday the 13th

Barry Rivadue said...

I was at Freedomland when about four or five years old. Still vivid in memory, especially the facade set on fire, and a Model T car ride on tracks at sunset.

TokyoMagic! said...

By any chance, did that cow play a double role as "Elsie" and as "Mrs. O'Leary's cow? You know, sort of like Samantha Stevens and and her cousin Serena. Or Susan Evers and her sister Sharon McKendrick.

Nanook said...


Turns out "Elsie" is 'a bit of a diva', and wasn't comfortable in the presence of a woman who might 'upstage' her. Hence the borrowing from 'yarō-kabuki theater', if you catch my drift. Although he certainly does that bonnet proud-!

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, I was wondering about that, but didn't say anything since I wasn't entirely sure. I should have looked at the size of the bones in the hand and the wrist.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I somehow missed your second to last paragraph until rereading the post just now. That is what happens when I read your blog so late at night....or I guess technically, it would be so early in the a.m. (I actually read the post around 4 a.m., but didn't comment until later) Anyway, your "Bring Your Son To Work day" and "works with cattle" lines are too, too funny. You slay me, Major.....thank you!