My First Amusement Park
Back in the early 80′s, I made my first trip to Arkansas, specifically Dogpatch USA and Eureka Springs. I couldn’t have been much older than five years old at the time, but the trip exposed me to two of my firsts: Amusement Parks and Horror Movies. (I’ll come back to the horror movies thing some other day.” I will never forget pulling into the parking lot, fascinated as only a little boy can be by the rollar coaster that went up the inside of a tree, the numerous trout fishing ponds, and Daisy Mae Skraggs.
Yea, I admit it, even in a public forum! My first love true love was Daisy Mae Skraggs. (Either that, or I have her confused with Funnel Cakes… but I digress.)
That was my first and only trip to Dogpatch USA and I have fond memories of an afternoon in heaven. (Don’t even get me started on the cool hotel in Eureka Springs that had a Putt-putt indoors. In the 80′s I was in hog heaven, no pun intended. Okay, it was. Sue me. I gotta get my keywords in somehow.)
My first and only trip that is, until this summer: My family scheduled its family reunion in Jasper, Arkansas, and as my father in law and I weaved around hairpin curves at dusk, I happened to look out my driver’s side window and there she was! No, not Daisy Mae, or a funnel cake, but the even more glorious, beautifully abandoned, Dogpatch USA. I had very little time and only my iPhone on me – ensuring a trip back in the near future — but I did manage a few shots and I hope this will tide you over, as it does me, until I can get back and go exploring.
A Little History: Dogpatch USA
Dogpatch USA is an abandoned theme and amusement park located on State Highway 7 between the cities of Harrison and Jasper in Arkansas, USA. It opened in 1968. Dogpatch USA was based on the comic strip Li’l Abner, created by cartoonist Al Capp and set in a fictional village called Dogpatch.
Dogpatch USA was a commercial success in its early years, and investors, buoyed with optimism about the park’s future, decided to pursue extensive and heavily financed expansion in the form of a sister park, “Marble Falls”, designed as a ski resort and convention center. But the following years saw a combination of characters and unforeseen events transform the high hopes of investors into a financial roller coaster ride which eventually ended in the park’s demise.
Ownership of the park changed several times during its operating years, and it was finally closed in 1993. Since that time the property has been neglected and frequently vandalized, and portions of the land are either entangled in legal issues, in a state of redevelopment, or for sale once again.
- Antique Cars
- Boat Train ride
- Dogpatch Caverns
- Earthquake McGoon’s Brain Rattler
- Frustratin’ Flyer
- Funicular Tram
- General Bullmoose’s Gravity House (blacklight maze, fun house)
- Hairless Joe and Lonesome Polecat’s Kickapoo Joy Juice Barrel Ride
- Helicopters (children’s ride)
- Li’l Abner’s Space Rocket
- Ol’ 99 (children’s train ride)
- Paratrooper ride
- Scambler ride
- Shooting Gallery
- Sky Driver
- The Wheel of Misfortune
- Trash Eaters
- Trout Pond
- West Porkchop Express (train)
- Wild Water Rampage
- Wolf Island Paddle Boats
- Yo-yo ride
Abandoned Dogpatch USA Photos
A 8mm Home Video Taken at Dogpatch USA
"A Little History" Information provided by Wikipedia, at Dogpatch USA