Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Fotos (February 7, 2014) -- Story Land in Glen, New Hampshire

Molly (in shorts) at age 6 exiting the Pumpkin Carriage ride at Story Land in New Hampshire

In 1954 Disneyland opened in California. California, however, is a long way from New England and so not many New England children made the pilgrimage to Disneyland that year or in the years immediately following the opening.  

New England children did have a magical place to go in 1954 even if it was not Disneyland. The place was called Story Land and it was located in Glen, New Hampshire.

Story Land was the idea of Bob and Ruth Morrell.  While living in Germany in the early 1950s when Bob was serving in the Army, they befriended a woman named Edith Von Arps.  Frau Von Arps made dolls based on characters in classic fairy tales and she sold them door-to-door. The Morrells eventually bought about 25 of Edith Von Arps's dolls and when it came time for the Morrells to return home to the United States, Frau Von Arps suggested that they build a tiny village around the dolls when they got home.  This suggestion was the kernel of an idea that grew into an amusement park that is still in business today.

The Morrells began their business with the dolls as a theme and an idea to add rides for children and their parents.  The first and only ride when the park opened in 1954 was a tractor ride -- 15 cents for children and 25 cents for adults. In short order other rides were added more geared to fairy tales and the characters portrayed by Frau Von Morrell. By the time the park was approaching 50 years old, the park had expanded to encompass 35 acres and it had more than 20 theme rides for children and their families.  

In August 1958, my wife Molly was just barely six years old when she, her parents, and her older sister and brother visited Story Land during its fourth season of operation.  Molly is shown above walking out of the Pumpkin Carriage ride.

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Photograph digitized from a color slide taken by Daniel J. O'Kane and in the family collection.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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