Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Freedomland USA, Bronx, NY

This is our backyard that I'm sitting in.  Behind me are the remains of  Totsie, one of two tugboats from Freedomland USA, an amusement park that no longer exists.  Rob was lucky enough to acquire it a few years ago from Quassy Park in Connecticut.

Remains of the Totsie in 1998
Freedomland was an entertainment park, the largest anywhere in the world. It was New York's answer to Disneyland. Built in the shape of the United States, this 205-acre park's main theme was American history. It was divided into seven sections of the US, each with its own special exhibit or disaster. You could travel from the East Coast to the West Coast, all in one day.

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 fire

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:
updated 8/17/13

new link to rob's freedomland site



  1. What great childhood memories for susan! I don't ever remember hearing about this park but it sounds like it was a very memorable place in the first year or two. Loved reading about it! :o)

  2. How interesting! It sounds like a place that I would have loved to have been able to have had the chance to go to! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Freedomland was incredible! Not a day goes by that I still do not think about it. I have tons of unforgettable memories (good memories) from a long time ago. What more can I say. (You can't live in the past).