Thursday, January 19, 2006

Community Impact

Whenever something new hits a small, under developed part of town it usually has some pretty serious effects to the local economy. Whether it be a large retail chain opening up shop in a strip mall, or a decent sized amusement park opening up within walking distance to residents its hard to ignore the possibilities for income and revenue. It's also irresistible to have people clamor onto the bandwagon and ride that train into the ground.

Magic Landing was a boom to a small town called Socorro, Texas. It was a huge reason the park could hold such elaborate fireworks displays, the town was outside the fireworks bans that El Paso had to conform to. Bordering El Paso's east side, the town of Socorro is definitely the small town with the small town mentality. Laid back and relaxed in certain areas, busy and booming in others. There were a lot of people early on who saw Magic Landing as the answer to making their business dreams a reality. When the park closed in 1988, so did the hopes and dreams that the park meant to the town.

Like the park, all signs of the optimism that Socorro had with the park in operation disappeared forever. Land developers had purchased new land to build and had plots already laid out & some foundations formed, with the understanding the park would be around for a few decades to cater the community with revenue. Businesses popped up hoping to take in some cash from the people willing to make that seemingly long journey to enjoy themselves. None of them can be found anymore.

None, but one relic.

Magic Laundromat

While researching all of the roads around the area, I came across this tombstone of progress. Located at the corner of North Loop and Moon Road, you literally have to go out of your way to find this building. It's off of the main road and completely unassuming. You might look at the name of the Laundromat and think to yourself that it's mere coincidence that in the town of Socorro there is a now extinct business called Magic Wash & Dry. You might look at the sign and think that the font used isn't the correct font found throughout the park. You might also stop and think this was once someone's dream.

Without renting an airplane to take the picture...
*Thanks to Google Earth

It's not much of a coincidence when you put things into proper prospective. Moon road is a feeder road for one of the cotton fields that rests behind Magic Landing. The road existed with the residences all around it, and it was a popular road to watch the fireworks if you didn't feel compelled to park on the side of the freeway with traffic zipping by you at 65-75mph. The road ends and turns into a dirt road suitable only for tractors. It's also private property and I was shoed away one time too many (hint hint, don't try it!).

Dried Color Stock

The windows have been boarded up a really long time. The closed sign in the window is definitely of vintage 80's stock. If you were to look closely at the sign, you can see the remnants of the colored plastic stock that made up the two pastel colors. The sun has baked them like Shrinky-Dinks and it's amazing that what remains sticks to the plastic, but it's there for everyone to see. Magic Wash & Dry was someone's dream of making a profit using the name of the park to drum up business.

I don't knock someone's efforts in trying to make money and become a success. It's actually expected in this day and age to try and ride on the success of others & that a great profit can be made at the emulation of another's expense. The park is gone. There are no current records of any shops around Socorro with the "magic" name attatched to it. If there are, odds are they hold no association with the park and would venture to say the similarities would be coincidental.

This update isn't a sealed chapter. I could turn another street corner and see a new example of someone's failed dream. I could run into the person who tried in vain to be successful along with the park. Since finding the Laundromat, I sit at my computer and look at photos of the park & the old VHS copy of the parks commercial and wonder what might have happened if the park & surrounding community survived to this day. What would be different?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again great article and research. Thanks.

1/19/2006 10:37 AM  
Blogger Eric A. Garcia said...

Great article. Have you already compiled all the photos or is this something yet to be done? Let me know if you need help or contributions.

1/30/2006 10:50 PM  
Blogger The Archivist said...

I have tons of pictures of the park that I took last year ready to be posted. What I have found is a lack of photos from the public of "back in the day" shots, action shots of the park in its hey-day. Photos families took of their good times at the park. Im not lying when I say I am relying heavily on a blind man's parents saving photos of their visits to the park.

As far as contributions in writings of the park go, I am always looking for people to contribute what they know of the park. If you have any info you would like to share, but would rather keep annonymous, or would like to take the helm of the site for an update or two, drop me a line,

1/31/2006 5:34 AM  

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