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Video: Freedomland

Yesteryear Travel: Freedomland

Bronx, New York

If you watched TV in the wee hours in the early 1960s, or were a fan of a Saturday morning kid's show such as Wonderama, you probably saw this film. With a harmonica music track and a goofy narrator, it attempts to make kids want to visit Freedomland, America's most ambitious forgotten theme park. "It may look like the Old West, but the time is today, and the place is Freedomland... just half an hour by subway from Times Square in New York City!"

Freedomland was the East Coast's answer to Disneyland, with stagecoaches, teepees, two Mississippi riverboats (it had eight miles of navigable waterways), and -- as this select clip from the full film reveals -- the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which was reenacted every half hour. "An important event, brought to life at Freedomland!"

All 200+ acres of Freedomland were bulldozed in 1965 to make way for Co-Op City, still the largest residential housing project in the U.S.

One of the "Travel Time" series produced in 1963 by Peterson Productions.

Complete film at

Old Films: Fascinating!

Yesteryear Travel.

The Team has a special appreciation for archival films -- from family home movies to sponsored travel shorts. Senior editor Ken Smith is author of "Mental Hygiene," the definitive book-form history of America's classroom educational and industrial films. He was an archivist and cataloger for Rick Prelinger in the early days of the Prelinger Archives. This film is made available through the Prelinger Archives.

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