Monday, December 5, 2011

Fast away the old world passes

Christmas, always a mixed bag of emotions, has just gotten a little sadder. On Saturday night, I saw a news story on the 11pm news out of Burlington. The story was expanded upon on the Sunday news show. Santa's Land, an old school amusement park just up the road in Putney is closing for good. Again.

Developed, built, and opened in  1957 by WOR radio co-founder Jack Poppele (also from New Jersey), the place has been a family visit tradition for a few generations now.

It is just north of Putney on Route 5, which used to be a major highway. Times change. Insurance prices skyrocket. Gas for a day trip becomes prohibitive. I wish I still had a car. Not only would I rush up there to have my picture taken with Santa and see the place, but I'd take a cake or something else for a wake to the Wells family who restored and ran the place these last few years.

I remember when it was closed, overgrown with weeds, seedy. I loved it and wanted to get inside in the worst way. It would have made a great set for a horror film. I would have had a field day photographing it.

I was once in a car being driven by a friend on the south shore of Massachusetts, just a bit  before the where one would turn onto the Cape. I saw a tiny abandoned park out of the corner of my eye. My friend agreed to stop long enough for me to take a picture through the chain link fence surrounding the place.

Such scenes have a kind of grandeur all their own, mixed with a bit of sadness, and a bit of Killer Klowns from Outer Space weirdness. My favorite "motivational poster" also uses.... well, just look:

At any rate, it is no secret that I have a love for old amusement parks, and for abandoned buildings, remnants of a time gone by, that sort of thing. If anyone out there believes in special kindnesses to aging blogsters and wishes to know what I'd like for Christmas, well.... hint hint.  And don't forget lots of money to add things like a monorail - at least then I can count on Chris over at ibrattleboro purchasing a few tickets.

I've never been inside Santa's Land, so I poked around the web a bit and found this map/brochure kind of thing:

I come from a family of pack rats. It was a huge relief to me to discover this and know that I could blame my insanity on someone. It's because of this tendency that I am able to pull this out of my files: from the Brattleboro Reformer, a little good natured promo for the 2005 reopening of Santa's Land (I did try to fix the color fading & etc., and the first three scans should be clickable for enlarging ):

So let's lift one to Santa's Land. 
It's the kind of place that they just don't make anymore.

The last word, so to speak, belong (as it should) to the Poppeles.



Austan said...

It's sad to see it closed again, but I've a feeling it will rise again. You can't keep Santa down.

Anonymous said...

Park is OPEN for 2012 through the efforts of an "anonymous benefactor"

sdt (a.k.a. stevil) said...

Thank You Anonymous poster for the info! There's been a lot of buzz about this on FaceBook and in the local newspapers. Congrats to whomever is behind this, and to the folks running the place.