Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A view from another's eyes...

Ah, springtime.

What is it about the coming summer months that I love the most? Is it the smell of a charcoal brickette fresh from the bag? Is it the quick onset of heat stroke when walking to your car at the mall, or is it the hypnotic sound of a lawnmower running over a sprinkler head that gets me in that mood?

I guess its everyones cabin fever subsiding and the giddiness of months old pent-up energy under layers of clothes and blankets that makes summertime activities that much more fun.

It also marks the time when you can go to the amusement parks and enjoy yourself to the point of puking. The warm nights mean you can stay outside longer and enjoy more things, like puking.

With that said, a viewer of the website was kind enough to send me pictures of Magic Landing back in the day.

Visiting hours are from... No, looks like it though. Note the 1970's era stroller parked lazily in the middle of the frame. Stroller manufacturers don't dare make anything remotely resembling metal these days. Dammit I love how not only were our amusement parks screaming metal death traps, but our strollers were too. I think my parents dragged me around in something similar to this, but thats another story.

WATER SLIDE!! Just in time for the warm weather!

So, as I am looking at the pictures from back in the day, some of the children's rides look so cheap and portable... Having worked for Western Playland years back, I remember that a majority of the rides were portable carnival rides, anchored to the ground. This, however, took cheap to a new level.

Do you know what this is? Does it have a proper name? I WANT ONE. I used to call these things "scooty-butt"s because you sat on them, then wiggled back and forth like a dog with worms to propel yourself forward. I remember I got up to speed one day and ran right into another kid at full bore. That kid was a screamer, but I guess its all fun and games until someone loses a finger...

Okay, when did this start? I don't remember hay rides in the park. In interviews with people on the streets, nobody remembers hay rides. This seems to be a pictured rarity at the park.

I must say, I lived vicariously thru him for a while. As always, if you have pictures of the park in its heyday, drop me a line at

I'd love to feature your pictures!

Until next time, kids!

*A very special thanks goes out to Galen Zerbe (pictured above) & his family for use of the photos. All pictures circa 1985 & used with permission.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A comment from the Archivist

Last night I watched the 9pm newscast from KFOX TV and I have to make comment with that's was said in the report.

Another fire broke out at the park, and the fire chief for Horizon City made a plea for something to be done at the park to curtail the number of fires & illicit activities that seem to be plaguing the park within the last few months. The chief, pleaded for the owners of the park to come forward, and take care of the park so the risk of injury related to extinguishing the dilapidated buildings that remain standing doesn't pose a risk to fire crews putting out the flames.

The insinuation I got from the report was to have the remnants of the park torn down to lessen the risk to the community that surrounds and the firemen.

At this point, I'm in agreement.


Yeah, I was too with myself.

Look, the park is dead in the water and to be honest the owners seem to care less about the park in it's current state than they did when it was in operation. There is no real reason for the buildings to remain standing, and the value of the park continues to drop with all these confirmed arsons plaguing it. At what point does the park become a complete write-off?

Worse yet, what point will it take for the county to take action and bulldoze it themselves?

The way I see it, the park owners cared little enough for the safety of the public as well as their own employees during it's operating years, the now two decade long abandonment shows how they care even less for the people who's job it is to safely put out fires when it lights up the far east side of El Paso.

What say you all?