Dogpatch USA

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“Have A Heckuva Day at Dogpatch USA!”

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Dogpatch USA November, 2013

Dogpatch U.S.A. Video Tour 2014

Dogpatch U.S.A. Video Tour 2014

History of the Park

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 theLi’l Abner comic strip: Mill Creek Canyon at the base of a 55-foot (16.8 m) waterfall was deep enough to be the “bottomless canyon”, 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.

Snow and his 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, 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 Li’l Abnercomic-strip characters who would roam the park and perform skits for the patrons. All in addition to the trout farm and the Mystic Caverns cave, already in operation.

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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.

Arkansans have always been sensitive about being portrayed as hillbillies, so the concept of a theme park based on such a stereotype was questionable. 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.

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 move to more desirable areas.

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 park (in comparison, Disneyland originally called for only 8 acres).

DogPatch Documentary: Click to Watch

This documentary project done at University of Arkansas. Recalled glory days of failed theme park Dogpatch USA. Main themes include Ozark stereotypes, Daisy Mae’s bust line, and eyes that are bigger than bottom lines. Enjoy!

Construction and Opening of the Park

3470398666_f064ddc168Al 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 extra $900,000 but would never be fully realized.

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 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 several authentic 19th centurylog cabins in the Ozark Mountains and had them dismantled, shipped, and reconstructed in the park. This fact was never advertised.

Dogpatch USA 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.

Attendance expectations for the park were, in retrospect, extremely optimistic; a Los Angeles consulting firm projected 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.

Dogpatch Map

Roller Coasters Saved!

After the parks closer, the roller coasters (Mad Mouse, Tobaggon, Super slide were moved to Little Amerricka and another little know theme parks. This was to keep the roller coasters from sitting and rotting like the rest of the buildings and playgrounds. One fun slide that was not saved and left on the property was “Wild Water Rampage.” A slide designed to slide you down at a near ninety degree angle. sliding down caused passing people to be splashed with water too. The stucture is rusted and rotted away to severly to be saved.

http://www.littleamerricka.com/Rides/#rollercoasters

 

Jess Odom ownership

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,dogpatch_postcard_earthquakemcgoonsbrainrattler but the other members wanted to divide some of it among themselves. As a result, Jess Odom, an Arkansas businessman in search of an 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.

Odom signed a long-term licensing agreement with Capp, giving the park and any future Li’l 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.

Also in 1969 the b-movie ‘It’s Alive!’ was partly filmed at the Dogpatch Theme park.

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.

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, tobogganrun, motels and an ice skating rink, was ready for the Christmas season of 1972.

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 be, 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.

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.

ARDOGhingedIn 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.

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.

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.

 

OEI ownership

In 1981, Ozarks Entertainment, Inc. (OEI) bought Dogpatch USA for an undisclosed amount; it would retain 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.

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 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.

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 continue to operate as tourist attractions.

In the 1980s, the ownership of Marble Falls was divided 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.

Telcor ownership

In 1987, The Entertainment and Leisure Corporation (Telcor) purchased a 90% stake in OEI. The other 10% was retained by Herb Dunn, Lynn Spradley and Jerry Maland, residents of the area. Telcor, a corporation formed to buy and manage theme parks and headed by Melvyn Bell 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, who was general manager of the park, became President of Telcor with Sam Southerland as Vice President. Thompson and Southerland were principal owners of OEI, and Southerland actually managed the finances for all three Telcor parks. Under Thompson’s leadership Telcor made renovations and improvements, and a new ride called the “Space Shuttle” was added.

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 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 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.

In 1991, after concerns from civic leaders that the park would not open for the 1991 season due to financial problems, it was indicated that if the park opened at all, it would open as a scaled down arts and crafts park. General admission was eliminated; 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 distinctive aspects of the park—the Li’l Abner theme—was completely dropped and the name changed to Dogpatch, Arkansas.

The park was closed permanently on October 14, 1993.

 

The abandoned park, 2005

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 “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, he neglected to do anything with the park. In late 2002 he had the 141-acre (0.57 km2) 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.

In 2005, 17-year-old Pruett Nance was riding an ATV through the property with permission from the property owner. He collided with a length of wire strung between two trees, and was injured. The question of whether or not the wire was put there maliciously became the subject of a lawsuit the Nances filed against the park’s owners. The suit eventually ended up in the Arkansas Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the Nances. They were awarded $650,000. When the park owners did not pay the judgment, the deed to Dogpatch was awarded to Pruett Nance, and he became the new owner of the park.

Revitalization of Marble Falls

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In 1988 Debra Nielson began buying parcels of the Dogpatch property. Eventually the area she owned included the ski lodge, convention center, roller rink, and motel. She renamed the acreage “Serenity Mountain”. She moved into the Ski Lodge and operated a bed and breakfast there. She also opened a nondenominational church in one of the abandoned resort buildings. In December 1999 Nielson leased the abandoned skating rink to the Humane Enforcement and Legal Protection or HELP. HELP was a non profit
group that provided therapeutic horse back riding free of charge.

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. 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 is also a section of their website dedicated to this.

Pelsor Ownership

2014 – The Dogpatch property was purchased by inventor Charles L. Pelsor for 2 million dollars.  Big plans are in the works to clean up the park and restore what he can.  A few of his ideas are restocking the trout farm, building a new restaurant, a Dogpatch museum and other nature related industries are some ideas that he has as well for the neglected area.

Historical Photos

These photos were generously donated by Susan Johnson and her family. Thanks to all who gave us photos to use!

Official Dogpatch USA Facebook Fan Page

To see more photos of the old theme park (past or present) please visit the official Dogpatch USA Facebook Fan page. http://www.facebook.com/DogpatchUSA

Links to more History

http://arkansasroadstories.com/attractions/dogpatch.html

http://www.abandonedok.com/dogpatch-u-s-a/

66 Comments

  1. Was luck enough to get to visit as a child. It was most amazing loved it all to bad my grand kids won't be able to have the same experience.

  2. I remember going to dog patch in 1983 for our senior trip. I had a great time. Now my son and his family live about two miles from the park go by it all the time. It makes me sad to look at it now. I would really like to walk threw it now just to see what it looks like. I lived in College Springs Iowa in 83. If it reopens I will be going to it as much as I can. Now I have grandchildren I would love to take there.

  3. I was in college (if I remember right the TV station I worked for ran the story too) when the then owner tried to sell it on eBay… did an interview with Carr's son. He took us on the property and it was amazing… like the park closed one night and didn't reopen the next morning so everything was just left there. Had the chance to go by it again a few months ago and it still amazes me.

  4. Thanks for taking pictures of this place! I have seen many other pictures of Dogpatch on the net, but this has to be the best set I have seen. My parents would take me here every summer as a kid. Somebody should bring it back!

  5. Born and raised in Arkansas, but I never went to Dogpatch USA. Your article makes me wish I had. Really well done. Beautiful photos, too.

  6. My mom and dad took my sister and me to Dogpatch when i was 11. I loved it. I think I fell just a little in love with Daisy Mae, though.

  7. One of my earliest memories is being at this park. There was a barrel ride–where essentially, they put you in a human-sized centrifuge and dropped the floor out from under you. I screamed so loud and long, they stopped the ride and then I threw up on the operator on the way out. Good times indeed.

  8. I went to Dogpatch as a kid with my parents. My sister pushed me off one of the paddleboats and then laughed and laughed as I scrambled to climb back on. Good times.

  9. Although we only went once or twice, I have a lot of fond memories of this wonderful place at the end of a cable ride down the mountain. Unfortunately, due to the location and modern times leaving the characters behind, I can see why it would close.

  10. I visited there in 1990, I think. In reality that's not too long ago. I'm amazed at how it has gone downhill in that short of time. Great job capturing the place.

  11. Was recently at Dogpatch. Wasn’t a smart idea to invest so much money in the Middle of Nowhere. Seen where forestry has planted Bamboo on Mt Judea to slow erosion. Least that will help first responders if some idiot drives of mountain. Lot of people drive too fast on the curves and passing even in double yellow lines

  12. I was there in the 1976-79 time frame and rode the Monster Mouse with my son. He wanted to ride it again and as I stood watching I was appalled. The metal frame work would move and the supports would rise out of the ground. Needless to say he was not allowed to ride it again and was mad at me.

  13. Dewayne McCarrell on

    Went there many times as a kid,and the last time I went was in 92 I believe,and you could tell it was on it’s last legs.I still have a lot of old photos from the late 70’s and early 80’s when it was still a popular place,ah,memories.

  14. My wife grew up in Harrison and spent many a summer running the park with her friends. Their parents would drop them off and they’d spend all day there.

  15. i went in the park about 10 years ago because curiosity got the best of me, and there were signs that vagrants had been living there. it was really spooky. but we found the old time photo shack and i found a big stack of full size 8 x 10 negative photos from god knows when. so, i took a handful of them and reversed them in my scanner and saw the real pictures. it was super cool.

  16. askaboutcortexbomb on

    I thought this place was marked Private Property. Could this person not be prosecuted for going there and making this video? I still have a photo of me when I was little in the General Lee when the Duke Boys came to Dogpatch. One of my favorite photos!

    • AbandonedAR Team on

      We signed a contact with the current owner. Nobody involved in this video was present illegally. Can we see the photo?

  17. My children played here and caught fish in the trout pond…how very sad to see it in this state of decay and neglect. It could be a nice little theme park again even if it was only open in the summers

  18. I would love to see some one repair this park and open it as a retreat for families! I have so many memories we always have loved Dogpatch over Silver Dollar City because it was closer.

  19. There was a kid who owned the place. There were rumors that Dogpatch was going to be redone and opened back up but nothing ever came of it. Driving by here makes me sad. I wish someone who redo this beautiful place. 

  20. mightymichelob on

    Anyone 30+ remember Dogpatch? I've been there a few times, but it's very sad to see the condition it's in now. :(

  21. Those old log cabins that sit parallel to the highway are historic, handhewn log cabins that were purchased and brought into the park, log by log, and reconstructed. They were saved by the park but are now going down fast in what is left of the park. A person would need some mighty deep pockets to have any effect here now.

  22. The previous owners cleaned it up bout 9 years ago tryed to sell it to dolly wood then a local family won it In a law suit after their son rode a 4 wheeler into a un marked cable that blocked a access road into the back side of the park I live in jasper and my sister's worked summers at the park it would cost millions to restore the park to its glory days condition the copper bandits and scrappers had took all the wireing and any thing else of value

  23. My parents use to take me there many almost weekly as a child. And I took my children in the late 80`s early 90`s… Now I look at it and picture a Adult Living Center. Plenty of walking area, fishing, canoeing. I would love to be involved in restoring the area just for a walking area. Maybe someone should consider a fund drive to: Save Dogpatch U.S.A

  24. Who owns it now? At one time probably 5+yrs ago I had heard someone was going to try to remodel it and possibly reopen it guess they didn't have the money or changed there mind

  25. This is the little theme park I used to visit almost every summer when I was a kid because it was close.

    I wish I could afford to buy it and turn it into a The Meek theme park.

    • The scenes in that video reminds me of some of the images I've seen of Chernobyl.

      Is it weird to see the park so run down with the memory of it still in your mind?

      • It really is. The building built over the creek was a restaurant and we used to sit on that deck and watch the trout swim around. They didn't show the old cable cars that used to take you from the parking lot on top of the mountain down into the park itself. That was my favorite part.

  26. I am in complete shock and dismay. I knew the park had been closed a long time, but to see. I spent the summer of 1976 there as an entertainer. It was one of the funnest summers of my life, but we worked hard; 6 shows a day, 6 days a week; Memorial Day through Labor Day. Can’t believe it’s been 37 years!

  27. My Grandmother had a vacation home on Lake Norfolk. We spent summers there with the highlight being going to Dogpatch. I LOVED this place-as others have said, pictures do not do it justice. It's so sad that it lies in ruins. If I won a lottery I'd look into restoring it. The natural beauty there alone is worth doing something with. Thank you so much for this. I scan the internet from time to time, looking for new stuff about it. This was a nice surprise.

  28. I was fortunate enough to work there on the trout farm the summers of 1976 and 1977. It was one of the best times of my childhood.

  29. My family and I visited Dog Patch back in 1989 we had a lot of fun. Dog-Patch had a great run in it’s Hay-day. I just think it’s a shame the doors have closed on such a wonderful and beautiful place full of all the stuff dreams and memories are made of.

  30. Dauane Raby Jr. on

    Great job with the photos and research. My dad took me and my brother to Dogpatch shortly after it opened. Years later my wife and I took our children there several times. It was a great family place and the people were always so friendly. Thanks for the memories.

  31. It’s sad that we have become so commercialized. There aren’t any family parks that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Hell, there isn’t anywhere I can think of that promotes family togetherness these days. Between the mind-numbing BS fake-arsed ‘reality’ shows on the boob tube and mind-rotting video games and smartphones, we’ve lost touch with family, PERIOD. Progress isn’t all necessarily good….proof is in this sad little park. No, there’s really nothing here as far as industry…..but there could be. This could be a beautiful place….and not necessarily a theme park again, either. Why does everything have to be about profiteering? A retreat or couples/bikers destination…..why not? Clean it up and ….ah…who am I kidding. The world is already pathetic. No sense in thinking about an impossibility.

  32. I remember going there! Think I was 8 maybe? I remember some skunk house and throwing trash in a moose nose and it would suck your trash. The rides were horrible but still had fun. Bought a purple shirt and had the rips at the bottom with beads. Good times!

  33. From the time Dogpatch opened until sometime in the 90's my family went there every summer. It was fun for all of us. We returned to northern Arkansas this summer and were sad not to be able to take our Godson there. We went to Branson instead but would have loved for him to see Dogpatch as we knew it for many years.

  34. I unfortunately only got to go to Dog Patch once :( The year before it closed. And I had a blast! Was so hoping that someone would restore and re-open it someday. My husband had gone there many times as a kid and later worked there for a cpl seasons. I Really hope that someone will re-store and re-open it some day….I know my children as well as other children would absolutely love to get to enjoy it as so many of us have in past years.

  35. Does anyone have any pictures of the huge house that was on top of the hill where the ice skating rink was. I went there every summer as a kid. My parents were there for the first day it opened and there the last day they were opened. I loved going there. we always ate breakfast at the restaurant then went to the park we would spend a weekend there every summer sometimes more than once a summer.

  36. I always loved going to Dogpatch! I remember riding some type of "barrel" ride when I was about 4 or 5. I wasn't really big enough to be on it, I guess…and I didn't stick to the wall like I was supposed to. LOL I fell down and started screaming. A lady grabbed my arm and held me until the ride could be stopped to get me off the thing. We always tried to go at least once a year when it was open. Love seeing the photos here! Thanks for the memories!

  37. Another one of my favorites! Did a story here when I was in college (if I remember right the TV station I worked for ran the story too) when the then owner tried to sell it on eBay… did an interview with Carr’s son. He took us on the property and it was amazing… like the park closed one night and didn’t reopen the next morning so everything was just left there. Had the chance to go by it again a few months ago and it still amazes me.

  38. Wendy Fraley-Roberts on

    We were poor growing up, my parents saved for a long time to take us 4 kids. We talk about it still and have so many pictures we look at and laugh!

  39. This is really awesome I am glad you put this together. I can remember going to Dogpatch 3-4 times when I was a kid. The historical pictures really don't do it justice ,it was a spectacular place at one time.

  40. Amazing this stuff sits and rots away? Why not an auction? These buildings could be salvaged! Damn shame! We went as kids it was a neat place!!!!

  41. nothing was ever mentioned about the white settlers which were massacered by a band of cherokees which escaped from the trail of tears back in the 1830’s,believed by many historians to be where Dogpatch was.

  42. Loved going there when I was young, I loved the funnel cakes with powdered sugar, music shows, paddle boats, the gravity house, although I always got scared going across the swinging bridge in the dark. Wish they could have reopened it, I miss it!

  43. Thank you for this wonderful memorial to Dogpatch U.S.A.

    I’m hoping to find out whatever became of Arlene Murphy. She performed at the Barn on site at the theme park.

    Thank you

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