|Remains of the Totsie in 1998|
Susan's family traveled from Long Beach, NY to the Bronx for the first year that the park was in business. Since Susan's family loved history, they went often. On the day its doors opened on June 19, 1960, Freedomland became the high point of Susan's childhood.
Its first season, 1960 to 1961, was the best part of Freedomland. That's when the history theme was really played to the hilt. There was Little Old New York, Chicago, the Great Plains, San Francisco, the old Southwest and New Orleans. Satellite City was added later.
Chicago was famous for its fire. As the story goes, in 1871, Mrs. O'Leary's cow tipped a lantern in her barn and thus began the fire that ravaged all of Chicago. This was reenacted at the park, where every twenty minutes a controlled fire would burn down a building and volunteers would have to put it out before it burned down the city. After the fire, the gift shop next door would have a fire sale. Susan was one of the volunteers, even though she was only eight years old at the time. It was great fun and that was her favorite part of the park and always stuck in her memory.
|Map of Freedomland|
By 1962, the theme of the park had changed. The history was played down, and it became just an amusement park with bumper cars, roller coasters, and side shows. The park began to lose money. There were accidents and lawsuits. The front office was robbed. In its last season, the park lost more of its patrons to the New York World's Fair. On September 15, 1964, Freedomland filed for bankruptcy. Between late 1964 and early 1965, Freedomland was torn down. Later that year, plans were made for a large apartment complex, Co-Op City, to be built in its place.
Rob used to have a site up for this park. It had been taken down a year ago and now he is working on getting it up again. This is where I got my pictures from.
Here is a link to a few sites on Freedomland:
Rob's Freedomland site is now up and running. Link below:
new link to rob's freedomland site