From news articles to pictures and stories of times gone by. I would like to thank the Howard County Historical Society ( Mike Walczak ) and especially the Harrison's, without which this site would not exist, and this site is therefore dedicated to them and the memory of The Enchanted Forest. ALL images are property of the Harrison Family. If you want to get involved by sending in a story or a picture to share, then email Kipp
The Enchanted Forest in Ellicott City , Maryland was the first Theme Park in Maryland and the East Coast, and the second oldest Theme Park in the USA, Disneyland being the oldest. It opened Monday, August 15, 1955. Admission was $1 for adults and 50¢ for children
The park began on 20 acres, later expanded to 52 acres and then it reduced to 32 acres after Bethany Woods was built. It featured no mechanical rides or spectacular special effects, and in its heyday it hosted some 300,000 visitors annually. Opened in 1955, it thrilled and delighted generations of families from far and wide throughout the next three decades. Sadly, the park closed in 1988, when the original owners sold the property, and construction of the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center began. In 1994 the park was re-opened by JHP Development, 1997 Mid-Atlantic Realty Trust (MART) became the owners and in late 2003 Kimco Realty Corporation merged with MART making them the current caretakers for The Forest.
The statue of Old King Cole, who once greeted visitors, now beckons shoppers at the original park gate, guarded by a dragon, warns trespassers away. Behind it, on the park's remaining few acres, sit the remnants of nursery-rhyme displays in various stages of disrepair.
As recently as last year (2005) though, a number of items were moved to Clark's Elioak Farm , and restored. For those of you that can remember those magical days then these names should make sense:
Mother Goose and her Gosling, the Black Duck, the six Mice that pulled Cinderella's Pumpkin Coach, Papa Bear, the giant Mushrooms, the bell-shaped Flowers, two giant Lollipops, a number of Gingerbread Men, a large Candy Cane, the Little Red Schoolhouse, the Crooked House and the Crooked Man, the Easter Bunny's House, the Beanstalk with the Giant at the top and the beautiful Birthday Cake.
by Willard Carroll
As a child, I visited the Enchanted Forest many, many times. Over the years, I've collected memorabilia associated with the park - mostly souvenirs originally sold there. Fifteen years ago, while living in Los Angeles, one of the original signs came up for auction on ebay. It cost more to ship from the East Coast that the purchase price! It has now made its way to Camden, Maine where I have lived for the last four years.
The cartoon characters had deteriorated by the time I got it. Researching images of the park, I discovered that those characters had actually been painted over a somewhat different grouping. One photograph gave a fairly good indication of this final look for the sign. I took it to a local sign maker and restorer who repainted the characters, repaired a rotting section (the upper left and back), repainted the brown drop-shadow beneath the "Enchanted Forest" lettering and gave the sign a general clean-up. We decided from the start not to over-restore the sign and repaint everything. All of the lettering was still in fairly good condition and the only area which had been almost completely lost to time was the character painting.
I couldn't be more happy with the result. The only question now is...where to hang it?
* * *
| Update ~2013 ~ Here are some old links about the Enchanted Forest and information that explains how many of the original figures and structures from the now closed Enchanted Forest in Maryland were saved and relocated to Clark's Elioak Farm in Maryland over last few years.
From January 9, 2004 ~ Old article about people who had wanted to try to reopen the original Enchanted Forest on it's original soil and some of the problems they faced trying to do so:
July 25, 2004 ~ Old article explaining how it was the repairing of the E.F.'s original Cinderella's pumpkin coach to be offered at a local charity event that became the reason why other items from Enchanted Forest were soon saved.
(Please note that it was actually Meredith Peruzzi who had started the internet discussion group the Enchanted Forest Preservation Society that this article mentions.):
And finally how Martha Clark, of Clark's Elioak Farm, was given the opportunity to save and relocate what she can of the original Enchanted Forest.
As well as a list of the figures and structures that they now have at Clark's Farm.
And some they have created and recreated as well.
Much of what the farm has on display is from people that had saved these figures in their own private collections over the years,and offered them to the farm, so they could be seen and enjoyed once again.
Please remember that Clark's Farm is always looking for any other figures and/or structures that may have been saved from the original Enchanted Forest They would love to display even more. Please contact them is you have any as well as photographs they may copy. These photographs not only help record such a wonderful part of Maryland's history, but are also a great reference when the farm would like to recreate a new figure.
10500 Clarksville Pike (Route 108) * Ellicott City* Maryland * 21042
410-730-4049 * email@example.com ) Thank you!
Items now at Clark's Farm: The 3 Bears House, The Little Red School House, The Old Woman's Shoe/Slide, The Merry Miller's House, The Crooked House and Crooked Man, Willie the Whale, Little Toot (He is in water for photo ops), Humpty Dumpty, 2 Papa Bear figures, and Mama Bear, Robin Hood, Sleeping Beauty in her royal bed with the 3 fairies flying over her, Snow White and the seven dwarfs bed, with Sleepy still in his, the Wishing Well, The Giant and Beanstalk, The Little Pigs houses, even the pig on his brick house, Robin Hood and the men he fought with, Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater's wife, The Genie and magic Lamp, Robinson Crusoe. and one Card Guard from the Alice in Wonderland Tunnel, Jack from Jack & Jill and Little Boy Blue, and the Sombrero, Mother Goose and her Babies, and part of The Rock-A-Bye Tree.
And some figures that Clark's Farm had recreated because they were missing: Jill, from Jack & Jill, Prince for Sleeping Beauty, Merry Miller and his mice band, the 3 Men in the Tub, Pumpkin for Peter's wife, school Marm for Little Red School House, The tortoise and Hare, and Children for the Old Woman's Shoe.