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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Freedom Land

In the midst of a two week vacation that has incorporated every possible tourist attraction that could possibly appeal to a 9 year old along the East Coast, USA. My skin has developed a strange chlorinated glow from the multitude of water parks visited and I have developed a crack-like affinity for frozen custard and chocolate fudge.

This trek led me back to thoughts of my own youthful daze and trips to places like Freedom Land

"Thirty minutes from Times Square in Baychester in the Bronx!"

I think I blew lunch on the Riverboat

Wikipedia offers details that a young Yuma has long since forgotten.

"Its slogan was "The World's Largest Entertainment Center" (later, "The World's Largest Outdoor Family Entertainment Center").

Freedomland opened on June 19, 1960. It closed at the end of the 1964 season when it failed to make a profit.

Freedomland was conceived by Cornelius Vanderbilt Wood (1922–1992), a young Texan, who had previously worked in the planning, construction and management of Disneyland. Hired by Walt Disney in 1953, Wood was the person who selected the orange grove site in Anaheim, California where Disneyland was eventually built.

Wood became very close to Disney during the next two years, but eventually the two men had a falling out. Reasons for this are unclear, but three theories exist: Wood was embezzling money from the park[citation needed]; Wood was taking too much public credit for Disneyland or Wood betrayed Disney by planning his own amusement parks, effectively stealing Disney's original concept.

By January 1956, Wood had been fired from Disneyland. To this day, The Walt Disney Company refuses to acknowledge any role played by him in the creation of the Magic Kingdom.
Groundbreaking ceremonies for Freedomland took place on August 26, 1959. Disaster struck on March 24, 1960 when six unfinished buildings were demolished by fire and had to be razed.

The area was a swampy one connecting the Hutchinson River and the drainage into Westchester Creek, and was not entirely filled. This led to a profusion of mosquitoes during much of the season.

Moral of the story? Don't piss on Walt Disney......

Memories exist here: Welcome To Freedomland, USA!!