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Encyclopedia > Dogpatch USA
Dogpatch USA

Dogpatch USA billboard. Note the free admission.
Location Marble Falls, Arkansas, United States  Flag of the United States
Opened 1968
Closed 1993
Area 825-acre
Rides 20? total
Slogan "Have A Heckuva Day at Dogpatch USA!"
Portal:Amusement parks Amusement Parks Portal

Dogpatch USA is a defunct theme park located on State Highway 7 between the cities of Harrison and Jasper in the state of Arkansas, USA, an area known today as Marble Falls. It was opened to the public in 1968 and was based on the popular comic strip Li'l Abner, which was created by cartoonist Al Capp and set in a fictional village called "Dogpatch". Image File history File links Dogpatch USA billboard. ... Marble Falls, Arkansas is the postal designation of an area on Arkansas National Scenic 7 Byway between Harrison and Jasper. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar). ... Image File history File links Roller_Coaster_Icon. ... Theme park redirects here. ... Arkansas State Highway 7 is a highway in west-central Arkansas. ... Harrison is a city in Boone County, Arkansas, United States. ... Jasper is a city located in Newton County, Arkansas. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... Marble Falls, Arkansas is the postal designation of an area on Arkansas National Scenic 7 Byway between Harrison and Jasper. ... This article is about the comic strip, the sequential art form as published in newspapers and on the Internet. ... Lil Abner was a comic strip in United States newspapers, featuring a fictional clan of hillbillies in the town of Dogpatch. ... I do Lil Abner!!, a self-portrait by Al Capp, excerpted from the April 16-17 1951 Lil Abner strips. ...


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 would see 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. St. ... Exhibition Hall of the Makaryev Fair. ... Invest redirects here. ...


Ownership of the park changed hands many times throughout its history, and it was finally closed in 1993. Since that time much of the property of the twin parks 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. Vandalism is the conspicuous defacement or destruction of a structure, a symbol or anything else that goes against the will of the owner/governing body. ...

Contents

History

Conception

In 1966, Albert Raney, Sr. decided to sell his family's Ozark trout farm and listed it with O.J. Snow, a Harrison real estate agent. Snow examined the property and decided that the Raney farm was ideal for an amusement park based on pioneer themes—an idea he had entertained for years. He noted that features of the area resembled those pictured in the Li'l Abner comic strip: Mill Creek Canyon at the base of a 55-foot (16.8 meter) waterfall was deep enough to be the "bottomless canyon",[1] and the nearby tourist attraction Mystic Caverns (also owned by the Raney family) could become "Dogpatch cave", where "kickapoo joy juice" was brewed by a few unsavory Dogpatch characters.[2] Image File history File links This file or image is copyrighted. ... Albert Raney, Sr. ... Mystic Caverns is a show cave located between Jasper and Harrison on Arkansas highway 7 near the now defuct amusment park, Dogpatch USA. It has been in comercial operation off and on since around 1928 and is likely the second comercially operational cave ever in Arkansas. ...


Snow and his business associates formed Recreation Enterprises, Incorporated (REI) to develop the land and present the idea of a theme park to Al Capp. According to an Arkansas Gazette article, Snow sent Capp home movies of the property and descriptions of the attractions. There would be horseback riding stables, paddle boats, train rides, local arts and crafts shops, family-oriented theatrical presentations, an apiary and a honey hut and a fudge shop. There would be a botanical garden, rustic-themed entertainment, and many Lil' Abner comic-strip characters who would roam the park and perform various skits for the patrons. And there would be the trout farm and the Mystic Caverns cave, which were already in operation. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is a daily newspaper published in Little Rock, Arkansas. ... Small wooden sculpture depicting a Native American mother holding her child. ... Serge Sudeikins poster for the Bat Theatre (1922). ... An Apiary in South Carolina, Langstroth hives on pallets An apiary (also known in the US as a bee yard) is a place where beehives of honeybees are kept. ... For other uses, see Fudge (disambiguation). ... Inside the United States Botanic Garden Washington, D.C. Botanical gardens grow a wide variety of plants primarily categorized and documented for scientific purposes. ... A stilt-walker entertaining shoppers at a shopping centre in Swindon, England Entertainment is an event, performance, or activity designed to give pleasure or relaxation to an audience (although, for example, in the case of a computer game the audience may be only one person). ...


Snow also assured Capp that the park would be quiet and dignified, and would not include roller coasters or thrill rides that would conflict with the rustic Li'l Abner theme. Capp, who had turned down other offers, accepted this one and became a partner, claiming he had once driven through the Ozarks and had pictured just such an area for the setting of his fictional "Dogpatch" town. Capp was apparently happy with Snow's concept and confident that his Li'l Abner creation would not be tainted. A typical roller coaster The roller coaster is a popular amusement ride developed for amusement parks and modern theme parks. ... “Ozark” redirects here. ...


Doubts at the start

Arkansans have always been sensitive about being portrayed as hillbillies, so the concept of a theme park based on such a stereotype was not widely accepted. Lou Oberste of the Publicity and Parks Commission expressed reservations, and Commission Director Bob Evans agreed that Arkansas had difficulty shedding a similar image created by comedic actor Bob Burns. and the once-popular radio characters heard on the long-run Lum and Abner series (1932–54), which led to the creation of a Lum and Abner Museum in Pine Ridge, Arkansas. Hillbilly is a term, often considered pejorative but sometimes endearing, referring to people who dwell in remote, rural, mountainous areas. ... For other uses, see Stereotype (disambiguation). ... For other persons named Bob Burns, see Bob Burns (disambiguation). ... Lum and Abner was an American radio comedy which was on the air as a first-run network program from 1932 to 1954. ... Pine Ridge, Arkansas was the setting for the radio program Lum and Abner (http://en. ...


Edwin T. Haefele of the Brookings Institution and Leon N. Moses, Professor of Economics at Northwestern University, happened to visit Arkansas at this time. When reporters asked for their opinions of the Dogpatch project, they expressed doubts about the likelihood of its success, citing the failure of other theme parks that had popped up trying to capture the success of Disneyland. They also felt that such theme parks tend to cause nearby property values to deflate and local businesses to relocate to more desirable areas.[3] The Brookings Institution is a United States nonprofit public policy think tank based in Washington, D.C.. Described in 1977, by TIME magazine as as the nations pre-eminent liberal think tank,[1] the institution is devoted to public service through research and education in the social sciences, particularly... Northwestern University (NU) is a selective private, nonsectarian, coeducational research university with campuses located in Evanston, Illinois and downtown Chicago, Illinois. ... Disneyland is a theme park that is located at 1313 South Harbor Boulevard in Anaheim, California, USA. It opened on July 17, 1955. ...


Despite these reservations, the Publicity and Parks Commission toured the property and decided to support the project, and the Harrison Chamber of Commerce approved the plans for the 825-acre (3.3 km²) park (in comparison, Disneyland originally called for only 8 acres).


Building and opening the park

Brochure circa early 1970s

Al Capp and his wife attended the ground-breaking ceremony on Tuesday, October 3, 1967. Phase I of the project, at a cost of $1,332,000, included construction of the buildings and rides. Phase II, which was to be the construction of an RV park, amphitheater, motels and a golf course, would cost an additional $900,000, and would never be fully realized. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (998x763, 51 KB)This file or image is copyrighted. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (998x763, 51 KB)This file or image is copyrighted. ... is the 276th day of the year (277th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1967 (MCMLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the 1967 Gregorian calendar. ... “RV” redirects here. ...


Under the direction of Jim Schermerhorn, an REI board member and experienced caver, Mystic Caverns, which was renamed "Dogpatch Caverns", was completely renovated. Dangerous conditions were corrected to ensure public safety, including a better lighting system, walkway, and entrance. During renovation, while Shermerhorn was operating the bulldozer, a second cave was discovered next to Mystic Caverns. Realizing the potential value of this pristine cave, he had it blocked off so that it could be preserved untouched. It was named "Old Man Moses Cave" and put on the "to do" list along with the other projects intended for Phase II. Schermerhorn also acquired a number of authentic 19th century log cabins in the Ozark Mountains and had them dismantled, shipped, and reconstructed in the park. This fact was never advertised. Caving frequently involves a lot of mud. ... A Caterpillar D10N bulldozer at work A bulldozer is a very powerful crawler (caterpillar tracked tractor) equipped with a blade. ... For other uses, see Log cabin (disambiguation). ...


Dogpatch USA officially opened and welcomed about 8,000 visitors on May 17, 1968. The centerpiece of the park was a giant statue of the fictional town hero, Jubilation T. Cornpone, and it was unveiled that day during Al Capp's dedication speech to a crowd of about 2,000. General admission was $1.50 for adults and $0.75 for children, and the park reported a net profit of about $100,000 at the end of the 1968 season. is the 137th day of the year (138th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Net profit is an accounting term which is commonly used in business. ...


Attendance expectations for the park were, in retrospect, extremely optimistic; according to a Los Angeles consulting firm, there would be 400,000 patrons in the first year, and 1.2 million by the year 1977. But Dogpatch USA hosted only 300,000 visitors in 1968, and never reported more than 200,000 visitors in any subsequent year. Los Angeles and L.A. redirect here. ...


The park changes hands—Jess Odom

In 1969, a disagreement arose among the members of REI with regards to investing the profits of the first year. Snow believed all the profits should be reinvested in the park, but the other members wanted to divide some of it among themselves. As a result, Jess Odom, an Arkansas businessman in search of a worthwhile opportunity, bought Snow's and other REI members' shares for $750,000 and gained a controlling interest in the park. Odom had been successful in several other endeavors, including the founding of a planned community northwest of Little Rock called Maumelle. REI expected Odom to spend an estimated $5 to $7 million on improvements and the addition of "Skunk Hollow" next to Dogpatch USA, but these plans never came to fruition. Little Rock redirects here. ... Maumelle is a city in Pulaski County, Arkansas, United States. ...


Odom signed a long-term licensing agreement with Capp, giving the park and any future Lil Abner franchises the rights to use all characters, events, jargon, names, and titles until 1998. In return, Capp would receive two to three percent of the gross of admissions over the same time period.


For the 1969 season, Odom hired the former six-term Governor of Arkansas, Orval E. Faubus, as General Manager and President of REI. He is reported to have claimed that running the park was very similar to running the state. This is a list of governors of Arkansas. ... Orval Eugene Faubus (7 January 1910–14 December 1994) was a six-term Democratic Governor of Arkansas, famous for his 1957 stand against integration of Little Rock, Arkansas schools in defiance of U.S. Supreme Court rulings. ...


Success is elusive

1969 marked a particularly popular year for rustic and hillbilly pop culture. Shows such as Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, and The Beverly Hillbillies were in vogue on American television, and a similar rustic-themed park just a few miles away near Branson, Missouri, Silver Dollar City, had become a huge success. The Li'l Abner comic strip was appearing in over 700 newspapers daily throughout the country, which kept the fictional town of Dogpatch in the public eye. In addition, Al Capp had just signed a deal for a restaurant franchise and the rights to develop his comic strip into a TV series. Hillbilly is a term, often considered pejorative but sometimes endearing, referring to people who dwell in remote, rural, mountainous areas. ... This article is about the television series. ... Petticoat Junction was an American situation comedy that was produced by Filmways, Inc. ... For the 1993 film, see The Beverly Hillbillies (film) The Beverly Hillbillies was an American television program about a hillbilly family transplanted in Southern California. ... A typical busy night on The Strip (Hwy 76) The Titanic Museum is shaped to look like the real Titanic and is a popular tourist attraction in Branson The Duttons performing their famous song where they all play each others violins at their theater in Branson Missouri Herkimer and Cecil... Silver Dollar City is a theme park in the state of Missouri. ... Franchising (from the French for honesty or freedom[1]) is a method of doing business wherein a franchisor authorizes proven methods of doing business to a franchisee in exchange for a recurring payment, fees and a percentage of sales or profits. ...


Dogpatch USA was profitable in its first few years. In 1971, Odom, who foresaw unlimited potential for the park, bought out most of the remaining investors for $700,000 and became, essentially, the owner. REI borrowed $2 million from Union Planters Bank in Memphis in May 1972 to build a sister park called "Marble Falls", with the intention of making the "Twin Parks of the Ozarks" a year-round attraction. Marble Falls, a ski resort with a convention center, toboggan run, motels and an ice skating rink, was ready just in time for the Christmas season of 1972. Exhibition Hall of the Makaryev Fair. ... A modern bobsleigh toboggan A toboggan is a simple sled used on snow, to carry one or more people (often children) down a hill or other slope, for recreation. ... Holiday Inn Great Sign Exterior of a Howard Johnsons motor lodge. ... Outdoor ice skating in Austria Ice skating is travelling on ice with skates, narrow (and sometimes parabolic) blade-like devices moulded into special boots (or, more primitively, without boots, tied to regular footwear). ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ...


Success seemed to be on the horizon for Odom and Dogpatch USA, but the many unforeseen events of the 1970s cast a dark shadow on Odom's dreams. Attendance figures throughout that decade were woefully short of expectations. In 1973, interest rates began to skyrocket, and a nationwide energy crisis kept many tourists home. TV shows with country themes virtually disappeared from the American TV screen and the popularity of hillbillies waned. The Li'l Abner TV show and restaurant chain never came to pass, and Al Capp retired. Capp's retirement brought an end to one of the greatest advertisements for Dogpatch USA – the Li'l Abner comic strip. An interest rate is the price a borrower pays for the use of money he does not own, and the return a lender receives for deferring his consumption, by lending to the borrower. ... The 1973 oil crisis began in earnest on October 17, 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC, consisting of the Arab members of OPEC plus Egypt and Syria) announced, as a result of the ongoing Yom Kippur War, that they would no longer ship petroleum... A restaurant chain is a set of related restaurants, typically with the same name in many different locations either under shared corporate ownership (e. ... Advert redirects here. ...

Dogpatch USA brochure circa 1978, note the addition of the Rocketship ride.

The mild winter weather which visited Arkansas through the mid-1970s proved to be the undoing of Marble Falls as a ski resort, and its snow cannons and slopes sat idle much of the time. The modest profits of Dogpatch USA were not sufficient to keep the two parks afloat, and Odom, already $2 million in debt, was forced to borrow an additional $1.5 million in the unfavorable financial atmosphere of 1973. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1004x765, 132 KB)This file or image is copyrighted. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1004x765, 132 KB)This file or image is copyrighted. ... This does not cite any references or sources. ...


In 1974, Odom partnered with the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville to create an in-park repertory theater featuring its own "Boars Head Players". This venture turned into a huge disappointment; the group presented two of the five promised productions, and did not return for any of the following seasons. Today, this troupe is still active at the University of Arkansas. The University of Arkansas is a public co-educational land-grant university. ... Fayetteville is a college town in Washington County, Arkansas, USA and home to the University of Arkansas. ...


In 1976, Union Planters Bank began foreclosure proceedings on $3.5 million in debts. In 1977, Al Capp and the Li'l Abner comic strip retired, and First National Bank of Little Rock began foreclosure proceedings on $600,000 in debts. In September of that year, Odom stated that, because Marble Falls had lost as much as $100,000 a year since it opened, the ski slopes would be closed permanently. Amidst this, Dogpatch USA recorded one of its most profitable years in 1977. Foreclosure is the equitable proceeding in which a bank or other secured creditor sells or repossesses a parcel of real property (immovable property) due to the owners failure to comply with an agreement between the lender and borrower called a mortgage or deed of trust. ...


Two personal injury lawsuits, seeking more than $200,000 in compensation, were brought against Dogpatch USA in 1979 and settled in 1980. By 1979, Dogpatch USA's income was less than its operating expenses, and attempts by Odom to get the town of Harrison, and later Jasper, to issue tourism bonds to refinance millions of dollars of debt were unsuccessful. That same year Odom announced that negotiations had been underway to sell the park to a private nonprofit group called God's Patch, Inc., which would turn Dogpatch USA into a biblical-themed amusement park, but funding never materialized. The heat wave of 1980, one of the worst in Arkansas' history, made that year one of the worst for the park and marked the second consecutive year that Dogpatch USA operated without sufficient income. In October 1980, Union Planters Bank filed to take possession of both Dogpatch USA and Marble Falls. A month later, Dogpatch USA filed for bankruptcy. For alternative meanings, see bond (a disambiguation page). ... Refinancing refers to the replacement of an existing debt obligation with a debt obligation bearing different terms. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library. ... For other uses, see Heat wave (disambiguation). ... Notice of closure stuck on the door of a computer store the day after its parent company, Granville Technology Group Ltd, declared bankruptcy (strictly, put into administration—see text) in the United Kingdom. ...


The OEI years—Wayne Thompson

In 1981, Ozarks Entertainment, Inc., (OEI) bought Dogpatch USA for an undisclosed amount and retained ownership through 1986. Taking the park in new directions, OEI, under the leadership of General Manager Wayne Thompson, reduced the park staff by more than 50% and added many attractions, one of which was "Earthquake McGoon's Brain Rattler", the park's second roller coaster ride. The amphitheater hosted concerts featuring stars such as Reba McEntire, Hank Thompson, and Ike and Tina Turner. The name amphitheatre (alternatively amphitheater) is given to a public building of the Classical period (being particularly associated with ancient Rome) which was used for spectator sports, games and displays. ... Reba Nell McEntire (born March 28, 1955) is a Grammy award winning American singer and country music performer, and actress. ... Izear Luster Turner (born November 5, 1931) is an African American musician (piano, guitar), bandleader, talent scout and record producer, best known for his work with his former wife Tina Turner. ... Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock) November 26, 1939) is an 11 time Grammy Award-winning (sharing three), American Singer, Dancer, Record Producer, Executive Producer, Film Producer, Actress, Writer, Performer, Songwriter, Author and occasional Painter whose career has spanned from 1956 to present. ...


Thompson also brought in the corporate sponsorship of Coca Cola, Dr Pepper, and Tyson Foods, and superheroes including Spider-Man, Batman and Robin, and Captain America for personal appearances and autograph signing. Gospel and bluegrass shows were presented, and Denver Pyle (Uncle Jesse from the popular TV series The Dukes of Hazzard) was signed on as the park's spokesman both onsite and in TV commercials. The emphasis on new promotions paid off; Dogpatch USA was profitable in every year that Wayne Thompson was General Manager for OEI (1981–86), and more visitors spent more money per person during these years than in any other years. This article is about the beverage. ... For the alcoholic cocktail said to taste the same, see Flaming Dr. Pepper. ... Tyson Foods, Inc. ... Spider-Man swinging around his hometown, New York City. ... Batman (originally referred to as the Bat-Man and still referred to at times as the Batman) is a DC Comics fictional superhero who first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939. ... This article is about the superhero. ... Gospel music is a musical genre characterized by dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) referencing lyrics of a religious nature, particularly Christian. ... It is proposed that this article be deleted, because of the following concern: Article doesnt appear to meet notability according to WP:NOTFILM and makes no assertions that it does. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Dukes of Hazzard is an American television series that originally aired on the CBS television network from 1979 to 1985. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ...


In 1981, Dogpatch Caverns and Old Man Moses Cave were sold to Bruce Raney (grandson of Albert Raney, Sr.) and a fellow investor. Old Man Moses Cave was finally renovated and renamed "Crystal Dome" and "Dogpatch Caverns" became "Mystic Caverns" again. Managed by Raney until they were sold to Omni Properties, Inc. in 1984, the twin caves have continued to operate as tourist attractions to this day.


In the 1980s, the ownership of Marble Falls was divided up and changed until it became so entangled in legal problems that it was impossible to clearly identify who actually owned each part of the property. In 1983, a new investor, "Buffalo River Resorts", began selling parcels of the land for timeshares and condominiums, although buyers had to be informed of the uncertain legal status of the property. A timeshare is a form of vacation property ownership. ... This article refers to a form of housing. ...


The end of Dogpatch USA—the Telcor years

Dogpatch USA Brochure for the 1992 season, note the free admission.

In 1987, The Entertainment and Leisure Corporation (Telcor) bought out 90% of OEI and became the new owner. Telcor, a corporation formed to buy and manage theme parks and headed by Melvyn Bell[4] of Bell Equities, owned two other parks at the time, Deer Forest Park in Coloma, Michigan, and Magic Springs in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Wayne Thompson was retained as GM, and under his leadership Telcor made renovations and improvements, and a new ride called the "Space Shuttle" was added. Attendance that year reportedly increased by 16%. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (892x670, 98 KB)This file or image is copyrighted. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (892x670, 98 KB)This file or image is copyrighted. ... Coloma is a city located in Berrien County in the U.S. state of Michigan. ... Sign from the city limits. ...


In 1988, Wayne Thompson departed, and Lynn Spradley, a Dogpatch USA veteran of 14 years, became GM and managed the park through the 1991 season. During this time Spradley bemoaned the fact that Dogpatch USA was forced to spend much more per patron on promotional strategies to attract visitors than other theme parks, and that most kids did not even know who the Li'l Abner characters were. By this time the comic strip had been out of print for more than 10 years.


Dogpatch USA floundered in the face of stiff competition in the Telcor years, especially from Silver Dollar City, which duplicated most of what Dogpatch USA offered but on a grander scale, and was only an hour's drive to the north. And what Silver Dollar City lacked, the Ozark Folk Center (a fully subsidized state park) in nearby Mountain View provided, and neither park was wrapped in an outdated cartoon franchise. Silver Dollar City is a theme park in the state of Missouri. ... Mountain View is the county seat and largest city in Stone County, Arkansas. ...


In 1991, more changes were made as a last-ditch effort to boost attendance. Emphasis was placed on arts and crafts instead of rides and entertainment. General admission was no longer charged and patrons paid for each individual attraction instead. Telcor decided to save the money that the Capp estate was receiving for use of the name and characters, and with that one of the most unusual aspects of the park—the Li'l Abner theme—was completely dropped and the name changed to Dogpatch, Arkansas.


After struggling a few more years, the park was closed for good on October 14, 1993. In 1997, citizens of Dogpatch, Arkansas (which had been the postal designation of the area since the park opened) voted unanimously to change the name to Marble Falls, its original name. No records exist of such a vote to change the name to Dogpatch in 1966, and residents who lived there in 1966 and are still living there today claim it was carried out against their will. is the 287th day of the year (288th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar). ...


Abandonment

Although all of the attractions that were of value were removed and sold, the bulk of the structures of the park sat in decay until late 2005. Demolition and redevelopment is the usual fate for such a park, but Dogpatch USA was built in a commercially unattractive and undeveloped rural area, and throughout its years there was little if any commercial development of the surrounding area (other than the failed "Marble Falls" ski resort) to augment the park's attractiveness to visitors and tourists. The location is also known to be "off the beaten path" and somewhat difficult to access compared to other theme parks nearby. These factors, no doubt, contributed to the park's demise and hindered its redevelopment, despite the fact that in its heyday the park's landscape was described by visitors as "beautiful". Its appearance during this time was comparable to Heritage USA, a similar amusement/waterpark venture that declared bankruptcy and has also been neglected. For other uses, see Demolition (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Heritage USA is the now defunct 2,300 acre (9 km²) Christian theme park/water park/residential complex built in Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA, by PTL Club founders televangelist Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker. ...


Shortly after it closed, the park was put up for auction on the courthouse steps in Jasper. The auction was handled by Jim Sprott, a Harrison lawyer whose wife Jan had been an original "Daisy Mae" at Dogpatch USA from 1968 through the 1970 season. Ford Carr, president of Leisuretek Corporation and Westek Corporation, received a quit claim for the property at that time however neglected to do anything with the park. In late 2002 he had the 141-acre site placed on eBay with a minimum bid requirement of $1 million. Although he was looking for a $4 million bid, there were no bidders. In 2004 it was reported by KATV in Arkansas that the property was again for sale, for $5 million. Ideas and suggestions about revitalizing the park were occasionally discussed during the Carr years of ownership, but no concrete plan materialized. A quit claim deed is a legal document by which a person releases or quits any claim that they may have had to property. ... This article is about the online auction center. ... KATV (referred to as KATV 7 or Channel 7 News), is an affiliate station of ABC serving the Little Rock television market and central Arkansas. ...

Image taken from within the abandoned park at 3:53 PM, 28 June 2005
Image taken from within the abandoned park at 3:53 PM, 28 June 2005

In 2002, a visitor to the neglected and vandalized park observed that the statue of General Jubilation T. Cornpone, the centerpiece of Dogpatch USA, was "toppled and broken on the town square." In 2004, the statue was removed from the park, and was later spotted near the Shepherd Of The Hills Homestead on the Shepherd of the Hills Expressway in Branson, Missouri. The statue was moved to another Westek property for fear that someone would try to steal it. ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x768, 160 KB) Summary This is a picture from the now defunct amusement park Dogpatch USA Licensing File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x768, 160 KB) Summary This is a picture from the now defunct amusement park Dogpatch USA Licensing File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... is the 179th day of the year (180th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... A typical busy night on The Strip (Hwy 76) The Titanic Museum is shaped to look like the real Titanic and is a popular tourist attraction in Branson The Duttons performing their famous song where they all play each others violins at their theater in Branson Missouri Herkimer and Cecil...


Since its closure the park has often been visited by urban explorers (despite the fact that "No Trespassing" signs were posted since 2002, or possibly earlier), and pictures posted on various internet sites attest to this fact. Problems with trespassers and stolen property during these years led to the posting of a caretaker on the grounds. An urban explorer stands near the outfall of a muffin shaped brick and concrete storm drain, under Saint Paul, Minnesota. ...


The Arkansas Herpetological Society (AHS) obtained written permission from the owner and conducted a field trip to the park in June 2004. AHS is a non-profit organization which gathers and disseminates factual and reliable information regarding the indigenous snakes and other reptiles and amphibians of Arkansas. Torry Chapman, moderator of the AHS web site, stated that her organization had planned a second field trip to the park in October 2005, but encountered prohibition by a spokesperson of the owner. Herpetology (from greek: ἑρπετόν, creeping animal and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the branch of zoology concerned with the study of reptiles and amphibians. ...


Revitalization

In the summer of 2005 passers-by began noticing activity in the park. Debris was being cleared and the trout pond was drained. In March of 2006 a news article, which discussed the clean-up project, appeared in the Harrison Daily Times. Ford Carr, who says that he spends about a quarter of his time answering questions about the property, was interviewed about the project, and claimed he was not at liberty to either confirm or deny that the property has been sold and is being redeveloped: "The official word is it's being cleaned up," Carr told the Daily Times. "That's all I can tell you."[citation needed]


As of June 1, 2006 the trout pond has been cleared of debris and refilled, and water now flows through it once again. The roofs of some of the buildings have been replaced and a few of the structures have been removed. is the 152nd day of the year (153rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


A few businesses have revived sections of the Marble Falls property. Bob Richards and Randal Phillips purchased and later reopened a portion of the property as "The Hub", a motorcycle-themed center, in June 2005. The Hub features a 60-room hotel and a convention facility that seats 1,500 in theater style.[5] Fred and Larisse Mullens have begun a venture called "The Shepherd's Fold Retreat Center and Campground". The centerpiece is a large church, where weekly services are currently being held, next to The Hub at #4 Dogpatch Blvd. They hope to redevelop the old Dogpatch USA campground and are seeking donations. Signs on their property indicate that they also plan to open a country store there. There is also a section of their website dedicated to this.[6]


The Marble Falls post office, a very small building with just a few PO boxes and a mail drop-slot, is located in what remains of the Dogpatch USA parking lot, a few yards away from the ruins of the Funicular Tram that brought visitors into the park.


The old Marble Falls Ski Lodge is now an antiques shop.


Attractions

Description of the trout farm from a 1991 brochure

The Trout Pond - a small trout farm around which Dogpatch USA was conceived and developed. It had been in operation for 30 years as a small scale tourist attraction before the amusement park was built. Sometime in the early 20th century, Albert Raney and Sons purchased the land, which since the 1830s had been part of the community of Wilcockson, and diverted the water from Mill Creek to create a waterfall and a pond. They named the property "Marble Falls", the name it and the surrounding area retains today.[7] Image File history File links This file or image is copyrighted. ...


In 1966, the Trout Pond was sold to the developers of Dogpatch USA, and the Raney family continued to operate the pond throughout the park's years. The pond was, arguably, the park's most popular and unique attraction, and was kept well overstocked so that visitors could cast a rented fishing line and have no trouble catching some "big ones". The catch was then cleaned and cooked by the restaurant staff and served to the lucky angler. After the park closed, the Trout Pond sat untended for many years along with the rest of the property. Trout were fished out by trespassers until there were none left. In 2005 it was completely drained and cleaned. It has now been refilled and water flows through once more.


Dogpatch Caverns - A nearby show cave that was incorporated into the park. It had been a tourist attraction since the late 1920s and in 1949 it was purchased by the Raney family and renamed Mystic Caverns. It also was sold to the developers of Dogpatch USA in 1966, and renamed "Dogpatch Caverns". The cave was renovated and many safety issues were addressed. During renovations, a second cave was discovered next door; it was named "Old Man Moses Cave" after a Lil' Abner cartoon character, and barricaded to preserve its pristine condition. Mystic Caverns is a show cave located between Jasper and Harrison on Arkansas highway 7 near the now defuct amusment park, Dogpatch USA. It has been in comercial operation off and on since around 1928 and is likely the second comercially operational cave ever in Arkansas. ...


Plans were made to renovate the new cave during Phase II of Dogpatch USA construction but Phase II was never completed. Both caves were sold in 1981. "Dogpatch Caverns" was renamed "Mystic Caverns" once more, and "Old Man Moses Cave" was finally opened for tours and renamed "Crystal Dome". The caves are the only original Dogpatch USA attractions that are still in operation today.[8]


Frustratin' Flyer - a steel "Monster Mouse" coaster created by Herschell. Installed in 1968 for the park's debut, it remained in operation until 1991. Dogpatch USA brochures after 1973 continued to show a Monster Mouse in operation. The mouse was sold between the 1991 and 1992 season.[9] Notable people or families with the surname Herschel include: Sir William Herschel (1738-1822), astronomer and composer, discoverer of Uranus Carolyn Lucretia Herschel (1750-1848), astronomer and singer, sister of Sir William Herschel John Frederick William Herschel (1792-1871), mathematician and astronomer, son of Sir William Herschel Alexander Stewart Herschel...


Earthquake McGoon’s Brain Rattler - a toboggan roller coaster by Chance Rides. The ride was apparently part of the park when it was opened in 1968. In early brochures it was depicted as being a track wrapped around an enormous tree, but the ride was actually made of metal. At some time in the 1970s the ride was closed, possibly due to maintenance problems. It would not reopen until the park was sold to Ozark Family Entertainment in 1981, and was in service for the remainder of the park's years. The ride is no longer on the property and its whereabouts are unknown.[10] A working version of this ride is the Wild N' Wooly Toboggan in the amusement park, Little Amerricka, located in Marshall, WI. It has been suggested that this could have been the one that was originally in Dogpatch USA. Having first been relocated from Enchanted Forest, what is now Splash Down Dunes in Chesterton, Indiana. A modern bobsleigh toboggan A toboggan is a simple sled used on snow, to carry one or more people (often children) down a hill or other slope, for recreation. ... Chance-Morgan, a roller coaster manufacturer, was formed in 2001 with the merger of Chance Industries and D. H. Morgan Manufacturing, both roller coaster manufacturers. ... Located in Marshall, Wisconsin, Little Amerricka is an amusement park that features The Whisky River Railway, a 1/3 size railroad operating an array of steam and diesel engines and proto-typical freight and passenger cars with over 3 miles of track on the ground. ... Chesterton is a town in Porter County, Indiana, United States. ...


Funicular Tram - A "decliner inliner", the tram was used to transport visitors from the parking lot into the park below. It was purchased from an unknown manufacturer in Switzerland and shipped to Dogpatch USA at a cost of $250,000. Installed in 1970 and opened at the beginning of the 1971 season, it could transport 1,700 guests per hour at a speed of 13.5 feet per second.[11] As passengers descended into the Dogpatch USA valley they were given a short monologue about the park over the tram's PA system. In the early 1990s, two newspaper articles reported that the PA system was not functioning properly and was broadcasting only static. The tram itself remained in service until 1992 when the park eliminated general admission, and has the distinction of being the only ride that is still in the park today, although it lies in ruin. This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


Lil' Abner's Space Rocket - The ride was added no later than 1978 and, because of its overt off-theme nature, its addition is thought to signal the beginning of the end of the park. The ride, prominently displayed on brochures from the era, was removed when the park closed in 1993 and its present whereabouts are unknown.


Trash Eaters - The park had trash cans equipped with huge animal heads that would "eat" (suck) the trash out of patrons hands and into their mouths. The heads were shaped like goats, pigs, and even razorbacks, and the unusual design encouraged patrons to properly dispose of their litter by making it an amusing experience. The trash eaters used an unusual design. There was a blower motor inside the trash eater "house". The inside of the "house" was sealed so that when the door was shut, a vacuum was created which sucked trash into the trash eater's mouth. The trash would then hit a stop and fall into the trashcan located inside the trash eater "house". Several of the trash eaters remain on the property today.[citation needed] Binomial name Linnaeus, 1758 For the guitar, see Dean Razorback. ... The International Tidy Man For other meanings of litter, see Litter (disambiguation). ...


Other Rides - Other rides included: Wolf Island Paddle Boats, Boat Train ride (replaced in 1988 by bumper boats), Helicopters (kiddie ride), Ol' 99 (a kiddie train ride), Wild Water Rampage, Yo-yo ride, Paratrooper ride, West Porkchop Express (train), Scambler ride, Merry-go-round, Antique Cars, General Bullmoose's Gravity House (a blacklight maze, fun house), Shooting Gallery, Hairless Joe and Lonesome Polcat's Kickapoo Joy Juice Barrel Ride (Rotor ride) replaced by a children's play area in 1988, Sky Driver (replaced the Brain Rattler in 1989)


Footnotes

References

External links

Photography of the park in operation
Photography of the abandoned park
Photography of the revitalization of the park
  • Photos of the cleanup of the park
Related information
  • Dogpatch USA is at coordinates 36°06′24″N 93°07′56″W / 36.10678, -93.13221Coordinates: 36°06′24″N 93°07′56″W / 36.10678, -93.13221

  Results from FactBites:
 
Dogpatch USA - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4173 words)
Dogpatch USA is a defunct theme park located on State Highway 7 between the cities of Harrison and Jasper in the state of Arkansas, USA, an area known today as Marble Falls.
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.
Dogpatch USA floundered in the face of stiff competition in the Telcor years, especially from Silver Dollar City, which duplicated most of what Dogpatch USA offered but on a grander scale, and was only an hour's drive to the north.
Dogpatch - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (140 words)
Dogpatch was the fictional setting of most of Al Capp's Li'l Abner comic strip.
The inhabitants of Dogpatch were mostly lazy hillbillies, who wanted nothing to do with progress, were extremely patriotic, and devastatingly poor.
A theme park named Dogpatch USA, based on the comic's setting, was built in 1967 in Marble Falls, Arkansas.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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