Saturday, February 4, 2012

Huckleberry Railroad

Yesterday, I saw a list of the cities in America that have been devasted by the recession.

I was saddened to see Flint, Michigan among the list, but after the decline of the auto industry, I knew it had to hold a place.

As a little girl I was given the option of picking a place for my Prayer Partners (Harvey & Martha Viers) to take me on an outing. They said "anywhere", so I picked Huckleberry Railroad.

Huckleberry Railroad was the land of dreams..."and it was, it really was."
I couldn't find pictures to recreate the memory, but think of the set to Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and you should be able to imagine how fantastic this place was. I could forget all about the decade I was living in for an afternoon. I could be Laura Ingalls Wilder for the day.

They had the typical one room school house with rows of desks housing their own ink wells.  There was the general store where I remember getting to pick a flavoured candy cane from a stack of glass jars. We walked along the planked sidewalks and peered through the paned window at the displays. There was a blacksmith and various stables, and of course, the Huckleberry Steam engine. 

This park didn't need to learn from Norman Rockwell. It was already quaint in every sense of the word.

I found this post card online to prove what a tourist attraction Flint had once been.

There was a playland called Penny Whistle that was also located in Flint. Our class used to take field trips there. In my 1st grade mind, it was epic. I remember looking out the bus window to see this massive structure appear in the horizon- like a castle or Wonka's Factory. I would like to see it now. I couldn't find anything on it, so I imagine that it's closed down or delapidated. Inside it was one large fun house. There were zip lines and giant ball pits. Think of an outdoor Chuck E. Cheese's.

It's so hard for me to believe that a place that had once brought so much joy into lives is now in a land where there is much sorrow.

I'm really fascinated with abandoned parks especially after we drove by The Story Book Forest in Ligonier, PA or maybe it was The Enchanted Forest in Conneaut Lake Park, PA.
Or it could have been Story Land of Schellsburg? I don't know how I will ever find out because all I know is that it was somewhere in Pennsylvania and the adults in the car at the time (my mom and dad) did not seem to care what specific location it was when I asked them to verify 20 years later. So I am left wondering.

The site, Story Book Lands provided a slew of locations for me to speculate.

Okay, I'm going to rule this one out...because I would definitely have a fear of Jack-In-The-Boxes to this day if  I had to see this as a kid.  What kind of sick person would put this is a park for children? Of course they don't show the children's faces in this picture because it would be poor publicity to feature children in sheer terror on the brochure.

I love this one. Magical!

These are two different locations. They must have been a part of some tract housing system.
Are they not certifiably errie?

I know that the park that we passed had a giant shoe that served as a house and that it was in Pennsylvania, but those are the only concrete details that I have to go by. It's a mystery of some sort.

It's so sad that parks like this have to suffer while other forms of entertainment flourish. Maybe it is a testament to the demise of the American family?

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