Americana 1900- The Complete Presentation

James G.

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Original Poster
No amusement park is complete without a carousel! Your great historic care, seen with the vintage Wurlitzer and the reclaimed horses, would make your Looff Memorial Carousel one of the best out there.

Would you be including a brass ring? My two favorite operating carousels, at Knoebels and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, both feature such rings, turning these rides from afterthoughts into must-dos. I know it’s a potential injury lawsuit, so I understand it’s exclusion. Even so…
Please refer to the edit near the end of the Looff Memorial Carousel description...and thank you for your observation of something that I should have thought about ahead of time. :banghead::arghh:;)

James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

The Grange Hall Barbeque (HDP)


Overlooking the starting line of the Steeplechase, on the corner of Main Street and East State Street is the Grange Hall Barbeque. “What is the Grange?” you might ask. Founded in 1867, its complete name is “The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry.” It was organized to encourage farm families to “band together to promote the economic and political well-being of the community and agriculture.” This fraternal organization of mostly farm families was extremely influential in promoting laws that benefited farmers and the entire agricultural community, but was also a social organization for members to get together for friendship and fun. Many Granges held fund-raising dinners, ice cream socials and other activities in their rural Grange Halls.


The Grange Hall Barbeque welcomes State Fair visitors to one of these delicious dinners. Served cafeteria-style, like most of these traditional Grange meals, guests take a tray, collect their silverware and napkins, and proceed down the serving line past an almost overwhelming selection of home-style foods: fresh dinner rolls, side dishes, salads, soups and desserts, all centered around the main feature- the selection of grilled and smoked meats being prepared outdoors on large charcoal grills beside the Grange Hall along Main Street. All a visitor to Americana 1900 has to do is follow their nose towards the aroma of hams and beef briskets smoking in the wood-burning smokers, the chicken, steaks and sausages grilling, and the slabs of beef and pork ribs being prepared by skilled grill masters.


Diners carry their heavily-laden trays from the cafeteria line into the main Grange Hall meeting room/dining room. The walls are decorated with antique farming implements, prints of Grange announcements and patriotic portraits of every American President from George Washington to William McKinley (the “current” President in 1900). The plentiful tables and chairs under gently-turning ceiling fans provide for a comfortable dining experience, but if diners wish for more fresh air there is an outdoor dining patio overlooking the starting line of the Steeplechase.

*This is a personal note from the creator of Americana 1900:
"Several times a year, after Sunday church services, my family went to the Union Grange Hall for their biannual Barbequed Chicken Dinner, and it was always amazing. The line to get into the Hall passed by the racks of chicken being grilled over charcoal, which never failed to make you even hungrier than you already were! Along with the barbequed chicken (I always got a half-chicken, and we always took some home) I also always got a bowl of their chicken and dumplings, potato salad (home-made), green beans (cooked with bacon from one of the local hog farmer’s smokers), and apple crumble pie with freshly hand-churned vanilla ice cream. I never realized that those dinners would become some of my most treasured childhood memories!"



State Fair Corn Dogs


What would a visit to a state fair be without a delicious corn dog on a stick? Hillshire Brands, the producer of the State Fair (brand) Corn Dog, sponsors a popular counter food stand in the center of State Fair, located between the two Machinery Sheds. The State Fair Corn Dog Stand is easy to find- a thirty-foot tall replica of a State Fair Corn Dog, topped with a rotating State Fair brand sign rises above the roof of this white-with-red-trim structure (colors were chosen after the above drawing was completed). Serving windows on opposite sides of the stand let hungry State Fair visitors select from one of the several varieties of State Fair corn dogs produced by Hillshire Brands - Original, All-Beef, Fiesta (with jalapeno and cheese) and baskets of State Fair Minis. Other products produced by Hillshire Brands, including those under their Sara Lee brand name, are also available here. State Fair Corn Dogs are the perfect fair food to eat while relaxing in the surrounding shaded dining plaza or while strolling around the fair, taking in the sights and sounds while enjoying the traditional taste of a State Fair Corn Dog.



Food Concessions and Wagons
Several temporary food locations are found throughout State Fair, mostly in the form of food wagons serving a variety of traditional fair foods (popcorn, flavored ice, fresh fruits and other health-conscious snacks, and ice-cold soft drinks such as old fashioned root beer, ginger beer and sarsaparilla).

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James G.

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Original Poster

Cracker Jack Shack


Just east of the Thunderbolt and Lightning Station on Main Street is the Cracker Jack Shack, where what has affectionately been called “America’s First Junk Food” is available in a nostalgic shop that not only sells boxes of the popular product but also sells a variety of Cracker Jack merchandise, apparel and decorative items. Cracker Jack was introduced to America in 1896 with the slogan, “The More You Eat, The More You Want,” a slogan that still holds true today.

The prizes in a Cracker Jack box first appeared in 1912, and over the decades toy rings, baseball cards, booklets, whistles and thousands of other trinkets have surprised and delighted children (and many adults) who invariably stuck their hands down to the bottom of the box to find their “secret toy surprise.” One of the world’s largest collections of original Cracker Jack prizes is on display in the Cracker Jack Shack.


Shoppers can choose boxes of the candy-coated popcorn and peanut treat prepackaged in heirloom designed boxes, or can purchase it in bulk by the ounce or pound. The prepackaged boxes still have the “surprise prize” in the bottom of the box, now specially wrapped to avoid the accidental swallowing risk of small objects by young children.


The Blue Ribbon Shop


Opposite the Penny Arcade, on the east side of the State Fair Road entrance to State Fair, is the Blue Ribbon Shop. State Fairs have always had competitions for the best of everything in the state: the best apple pie, the best pickles, the best jar of homemade minced meat. Here in the Blue Ribbon Shop can be found a bewildering assortment of traditional cooking supplies, spices, utensils and a huge selection of cookie cutters. This is not a place for high-tech electric grills and microwave ovens, but if a cook needs a new cast-iron skillet, Dutch oven, porcelain mixing bowl or a collection of wooden spoons, they have come to the right place. Also found here is an extensive selection of homemade jellies, jams, apple butter, pickles and just about anything else that a blue-ribbon winning home cook could produce that would win the blue ribbon at their State Fair. Freshly-baked pastries, cookies and breads sold singly or by the bag or box can be purchased at the Bakery counter. Dozens of cookbooks, especially cookbooks with a historic or heritage theme, fill the bookshelves. The Blue Ribbon Shop- where everyday cooks shop to help them create blue ribbon meals every day.


Grandstand Shoppe


Located under the Steeplechase Grandstand is the small Grandstand Shoppe, which shares space with the Steeplechase Photography Studio and Family Album Counter. Jockeys, would-be jockeys or anyone with an interest in or love of horses can find a selection of horse and horse racing-themed objects d’art, books, toys and artwork in this boutique shop. A variety of souvenir picture frames are featured, to proudly display the photos of the winners and other competitors of the daily Steeplechase races held in State Fair Township, thus making a permanent memento of a winning day at Americana 1900.



James G.

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Original Poster



One of the first attractions to greet visitors to State Fair as they enter the Township from State Fair Road is the Penny Arcade, an iconic attraction in an amusement park or fair if there ever was one. The games found here, in the State Fair Arcade, are not the high-tech electronic games found in modern amusement park arcades, but are the classic wooden pinball machines, ball toss and skeeball games, and the ever-popular “love test” games. There is even the world’s largest collection of the nearly-forgotten Cail-O-Scope machines.


What is a Cail-O-Scope? These are hand-cranked, animated picture machines containing a reel of stereographic photos that, when a coin was inserted and the handle was cranked, the photos fell one-by-one in front of the viewer into which the operator looked. This created a 3-dimensional short movie. Many different subjects could be shown in these early movie machines, from such early news features as “The San Francisco Earthquake” and “The Great Regina Cyclone” to more risque (and popular) titles such as “Naughty Marietta” (who never quite lived up to her anticipated naughtiness).

In some cases, the arcade games found here are original antiques, carefully restored and renovated. Others are reproductions based on surviving original examples, but all games in the arcade recreate the arcade experience that our grandparents enjoyed when they were young, and that laid the foundation of the modern, computerized video game phenomenon.


Each game costs between $1 and $5 to play, depending on the game and its age and historic importance. American $1 coins are the only tender used, and coin machines are located throughout the arcade to provide them, accepting both American dollar bills (of all denominations) and credit and debit cards.


The State Fair Arcade is not just an attraction. All proceeds from the games played here are donated to “A Kid Again,” which provides support services for children with serious, debilitating illnesses and their families.

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James G.

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Carnival games are as much a part of fairs and amusement parks as the thrill rides and unhealthy (but delicious) foods are, and here in State Fair is a collection of some of the most popular and traditional carnival games, along with one historic version of a newer theme park game.

“Ring a Bottle”, “Toss a Quarter on a Plate”, “Pop the Balloon” and nearly a dozen other classic games challenge fairgoers, and offer the winners such prizes as stuffed Teddy bears (first introduced in 1903), Kewpie dolls (from 1909) and even small bags of salt-water taffy. Barkers call out to passersby to try their skill (or luck), adding to the festive carnival atmosphere.


These games line the south end of the fairgrounds, extending from the Courthouse Square entrance gateway all the way to the archway leading to The Pike, with only the Thunderbolt and Lightning Station, the Cracker Jack Shack and restrooms at either end interrupting the continuous row of brightly lit, brightly painted and loudly advertised games of skill.

Probably the most unusual carnival game is a historic version of a modern amusement park favorite, the Three-Point Basketball Toss. Although not a “traditional” carnival game, it is so popular with modern guests that the creators of Americana decided to go back to the game’s origins and recreate it for modern fans. “Basket Ball” (two words, as it originally was spelled), was invented by Dr. James Naismith, a physical education instructor at Springfield College in Massachusetts, in 1891 as a way for his students to stay physically active during the long winter months in New England. He nailed a peach basket to a pole, got some soccer balls, made up some rules and invented one of the world’s most popular sports.


The Basket Ball Toss in State Fair returns to the game’s origins with peach baskets nailed to poles, and players needing to get the soccer balls that were the original basketballs into the peach basket. Winners receive a souvenir ball to take home (actually, they receive a receipt to get their soccer ball as they leave the park at the end of the day, to avoid having to carry them around the park all day).


James G.

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Original Poster

Fairgoers with trash to dispose of need only look for the waste receptacles and recycling bins located conveniently throughout State Fair. The waste receptacles look like a stack of bushel baskets, and the recycling bins located beside them are large milk cans. Both are appropriately marked.


Restrooms are located at either end of the row of carnival games that line the south end of the Township, and can also be found in the Penny Arcade building at the north end.

Drinking fountains and benches are very similar to those found in Maple Grove and Morrison Farm.


State Fair is always a center of screams, laughter and thrills, but it is at night that the fairgrounds practically burst with fun and excitement. While most of the other Townships of Americana 1900 are gently lit with gas streetlights in warm, sepia tones, State Fair bursts with colorful neon (first introduced in 1910) and bright white incandescent-style lights. Strings of Mr. Edison’s light bulbs stretch across East and West State Streets, and moving floodlights turn the massive wooden edifice of Thunderbolt and Lightning into an ominous storm cloud, with lightning occasionally streaking across its surface. More light spills across the pavement from the carnival games, the on-ride lights of the Caterpillar, the Tumble Bug, the Machinery Sheds and especially from the Looff Carousel, which stands at the State Fair Road entrance as a glittering beacon, beckoning visitors from across Americana 1900 to come and join the fun.


Thrill rides, family rides, dark rides and experiences found no place else in America make Americana 1900’s State Fair Township the park’s night-time center of fun and excitement. Dine on the finest barbeque in Alabama; ride the winning horse on Steeplechase; discover the Fearsome Critters that inhabit the dense forests of America; try your skill at a ring toss game and maybe even win a Kewpie doll! Discover State Fair during the day, but rediscover it at night!


State Fair Township in Americana 1900- truly a great State Fair in a Grand New Theme Park!



James G.

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Original Poster
Wow, this is still amazing! Haven’t read in a while (planning to binge the whole series) but this park has inspired me to come up with a theme park in Rhode Island themed to New England that is currently in the planning stages, there are a lot of cool ideas here!
That would be great! Remember, though, what Thomas Edison said. "Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration." I've been working on Americana 1900 for about five years, and on the actual write-up for roughly a year on and off. You can't do too much research, and for everything that makes it into the final creation, probably twice that much doesn't make the final cut. It can be incredibly inspirational, and exciting, and I have learned so much about theme park history, amusement park rides and writing in general. The most important thing to remember, though, is that it has to be fun! If you're not having fun doing it, you're either not doing it right or you shouldn't be doing it. My last bit of advice is- do not try to create something that you yourself aren't interested in. Learn as much as you can about the subject matter, then decide how to share it with your audience to let them become as interested in it as you are.

James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster


It’s make-believe time. Pretend you’re not so stuffed with Grange Hall Barbeque that you can’t move. Pretend the dizziness from riding every historically-fun spinner in State Fair has finally gone away. Pretend your arm isn’t still sore from playing every carnival game at the Fair, or your rear isn’t still tender from riding Steeplechase for the fourth time in a row. It’s time to head east on Main Street through the agricultural gateway leading out of State Fair (where the ears of corn in the archway overhead spell out “Y’all Come Back Now!”) and enter a place the likes of which hasn’t been seen in America for over a hundred years.

This is The Pike.



The Midway Plaisance (World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893); The Zone (Panama-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, 1915); The Trail (Lewis and Clark Exposition, Portland, Oregon, 1905); The Isthmus (San Diego Exposition, 1915). Every world’s fair held in America in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries (and there were a lot of them) had a catchy name for the entertainment and amusement zone of the fair, the place where a scenic railway could be found next to a Japanese Village and across the street from a recreation of the Galveston flood and the Streets of Cairo. The largest of the international expositions held in America during this era, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 in St. Louis, Mo., was no exception. Its entertainment zone was called The Pike, and it was spectacular. A mile in length and lined with dozens of private concessions (each charging admission to get in), The Pike could take fairgoers to the Tyrolean Alps, Ancient Rome (with an incongruous side trip to Hawaii and the Kilauea volcano in the same show!), down one of the largest Shoot the Chutes water rides ever built, on a boat ride to witness “Creation” and after that, across the street to view “The Here After.”


It was enormously popular, and a welcome relief from the miles of stuffy, boring displays in the “official” exposition buildings. In a time when few people traveled outside of their own state, or even their own county, the chance to explore foreign lands in these international villages and shows was irresistible.


The Pike at Americana 1900 is not a mile long, but at over one thousand feet in length and nearly five hundred feet wide, it is a huge space. It is not lined with recreated villages of far-distant lands or displays designed for “religious or moral edification,” as was often claimed by publicists trying to justify their existence to a rather reserved population at the beginning of the 20th Century, but is instead lined with unusual amusement rides and pavilions housing such diverse attractions as a chocolate factory, an earthquake, and a race between horses and a steam locomotive. This is Americana 1900, and the rides and attractions found on The Pike are as American as, well, as the apple pie served in the Harvey House Restaurant on The Pike.



Here is where I intended to present a brief backstory for The Pike, but as I began to write it I realized that it wouldn’t be a brief story. As many writers will tell you, the story began to tell itself, and what started out as a short story evolved into a novella. I will post it in three installments, with today being Installment #1, to give you a choice of either reading one section each day or waiting and reading the entire work in one sitting. The choice is yours. Whichever you choose, I pray that you will immerse yourself into this backstory as you discover how The Pike in Americana 1900 came into existence, and if you find this story mildly diverting, my hope of entertaining you, my esteemed and respected friends, will have come to fruition.



Ambrose Meredith Bunting II was born on July 4th, 1872, the first (and only) child of Ambrose Meredith Bunting, in Philadelphia, Pa. His father’s company, the “American Patriotic Supplies Corporation,” had won the contract to provide all the banners, flags, patriotic paraphernalia and pretty much anything that was red, white and/or blue for the Centennial Exposition, held in Philadelphia in 1876- and there was a LOT of red, white and blue used to decorate the fairgrounds. His father became immensely rich from keeping the flags at the fairgrounds looking fresh and the banners looking brand new. He called himself a “patriotic entrepreneur” and reveled in his new-found wealth. He was also a shrewd investor, didn’t live extravagantly, and when he died unexpectedly when a shipment of red, white and blue fireworks he was inspecting for use in Philadelphia’s 1886 ten-year-anniversary celebration of the nation’s centennial was accidentally ignited by a careless warehouse worker with a penchant for Cuban cigars, Ambrose M. Bunting II became the sole heir to his father’s estate- after his mother.
After graduating at the top of his class from the Temple College of Philadelphia (now Temple University), Ambrose (who went by A.M. Bunting, and HATED to be called “Junior” or “the second,” because he insisted he was his own man), gave himself a graduation present and boarded a train for the World’s Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893. He vaguely remembered celebrating his fourth birthday at the Centennial Exposition, and that hazy childhood memory had instilled in him a fascination with the concept of world’s fairs. He was fascinated by the size of the fairs, the spectacular buildings and architecture, the exotic sights and smells of the foreign exhibits and concessions, and the moment he walked onto the fair site in Chicago he had an overwhelming feeling, as he described it years later in his memoirs, of “being home, of being someplace that I knew I could never leave, yet knew I must leave. ‘How do I rectify this incongruity?’ I wondered to myself. As I wandered the broad plazas, strolled through the magnificent Palaces dedicated to every known human enterprise and observed people from around the world gathered in a spectacular celebration of the human experience, I felt as if I were surrounded by something more important than myself, and I knew that I must make certain that it would survive somehow, even if it were just a fragment. It must not be forgotten.”

Mr. Bunting had planned on staying for a week. He stayed for a full month, and refused to consider returning to Philadelphia and his late father’s business (which he had been named Vice President of as a graduation present from his mother) until he had solved his dilemma. There was hardly a single building, display, Midway attraction or Ferris Wheel car he had not explored as he searched for the answer to his obsession.
Until one day.

A.M. was sitting on a park bench in one of his favorite locations, watching the colors on the multichromatic Transportation Building change as the sun moved across the sky. Unlike nearly every other building at the fair, it was painted a vivid red, a shocking contrast to the overwhelming whiteness of the other buildings. They were all beautiful, magnificent, but something about the Transportation Building, with its breathtaking Golden Doorway over the main entrance, would transfix his gaze for hours. A.M. sat there memorizing it, debating with himself about what purpose the row of huge white angels that ornamented the space between the facade’s arches served. That day, a fairly young man, probably a few years older than A.M. sat down next to him.

“I’ve seen you here before,” the stranger said directly to A.M. “I can’t decide if you like this building or not.”

A.M. was a bit startled by this comment, both for the fact that a perfect stranger had noticed his repeated visits, and that he had somehow telegraphed his thoughts to this unknown person. The question seemed harmless, and the strange gentleman who had spoken it seemed more curious than challenging.

“I love this building,” A.M. stated. “I love ALL the buildings here at the fair, but this one...this one is so unusual, so unique. Maybe that’s why they put it here, tucked away from the rest of the major buildings.”

“Why do you say that?” the stranger inquired. “Because its color would draw attention away from all the whiteness of the “White City?” (a description that many people referred to when describing the other major fair buildings).

“Maybe,” A.M. admitted, “but to be honest I think it’s because it would make it obvious that the other buildings are looking to the past, but this…” he said, gesturing to the long-sleek lines of its unusual architecture, “...this is the future.” The stranger half-smiled, then leaned back on the bench and sat silently for a few moments. Then, almost wistfully, he said something that would change A.M. Bunting’s life.

“It’s a shame they’re going to tear it down,” he said with a tone of regret.

“What?” A.M. exclaimed. “When?”

“Oh, not until the fair is over,” the man said. “They’re going to tear most of the buildings down. The fair isn’t a permanent place.” He turned again to A.M. and asked, sounding a bit surprised, “Didn’t you know that?”

“I guess I never thought about it,” he admitted. “The tower they built in Paris is still there. I supposed that, if they’re going to spend all that money on erecting these buildings, then they probably intend to leave them and use them for...I don’t know, for something.”

“It’s all for show,” the stranger said, once again leaning back on the bench and returning his gaze to the object of their discussion. “The decorations are all made of staff,” he said, “just plaster and hemp fibers. In a few years they'll all begin to deteriorate and fall apart. It’s already begun on some of the buildings. The fair was supposed to be held last year but it took so long to build them that they had to postpone it until this year.”

“I remember that,” A.M. said. “I remember I was happy to hear that- this way I could come here after I graduated from college as a present to myself.” He turned to the stranger and asked, “Are they really going to tear them down?”

“All except the Art Building. That’s going to be a new art gallery or museum or something for Chicago. Oh, I suppose they might sell some of the smaller buildings, the ones that can be dismantled and moved somewhere, but most of them will come tumbling down.” He sounded a bit sad, almost resigned.

“Even this one?” he asked.

“Oh, I’d say especially this one,” the stranger answered, almost bemused. “The other fair architects and administration really didn’t like it. I’m surprised they even let it be built.”

“How do you know all this?” A.M. asked, suspecting there was more to this story, that somehow this man was connected to it somehow.

“I helped with its design. I work for Mr. Sullivan, the architect. Oh, I mostly just did the technical drawings while Mr. Sullivan created the master plan, but I can see what I contributed to it, even if nobody else can.” He was quiet for a moment. “It’ll be a shame to see it gone. Every time I come to the fair I stop to say ‘good-by,’ in case I don’t have another chance.”

A spark of an idea ignited in the back of A.M.’s mind. “Who owns the building?” he asked suddenly, catching the stranger a bit off-guard.

“Well, I suppose that would be the fair corporation. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect if you stopped by the Administration Building someone in there would know.”

A.M. practically jumped up. “Sir, thank you! You might have answered a question I’ve been dealing with for weeks now.” He turned to head directly to the magnificently-domed Administration Building at the main entrance to the fair, then stopped and turned back to the stranger who was still sitting on the bench. “I’m sorry, I never even asked your name!” The stranger stood up and met A.M. as he hurried back to the bench.

“I never asked yours, either. Where are my manners?” he said as both men reached into their coat pockets to exchange business cards.

“A.M. Bunting from Philadelphia,” A.M. said, handing the stranger his business card and taking the stranger’s own card, as he introduced himself.

“Frank Lloyd Wright,” he said. “I work for Adler and Sullivan, Architects, here in Chicago.

“American Patriotic Supplies Corporation,” A.M. said, shaking hands with Frank.

“I’m sorry,” Mr. Wright said. “I don’t believe I’m familiar with your firm.”

As A.M. turned and headed towards the Administration Building, he turned back towards Frank Lloyd Wright and enthusiastically told him, “You will be, sir, you will be!”




James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster


After spending an hour in the Administration Building getting all the information he needed, A.M. headed directly to his hotel, packed his bags and boarded the next train that would get him back to Philadelphia. Two weeks later, after several loud, contentious meetings of the Board of Directors of the American Patriotic Supplies Corporation (and several more even louder family meetings with his mother and grandfather) A.M. Bunting II announced that the new name of the corporation would officially be the American Exposition Design and Ornamentation Corporation (AEDOC), and they would be changing the entire focus of the company away from just selling patriotic paraphernalia and flags and towards designing and constructing pavilions for the plethora of major and even more minor expositions that were planned to be held in just about every city in America and many more overseas in the next few decades. On a more personal note, A.M. had received permission from his mother to claim an early inheritance from her- a small farm in northern Alabama, near the site of a small town called Attica that didn’t survive the War.

“What in the world do you want the farm for?” she asked him.

“I have an idea for something special. Call it my private playground,” he told her enigmatically.

“Ambrose,” she said, shaking her head, “what would your father say?”

“He’d probably say, ‘Good job, son! You have to change with the times.”

“I doubt he’d say that,” his mother said, sounding a bit disapproving.

“Mother,” A.M. said, “someday we’ll get a chance to ask him, and if I remember Father, he’ll not be shy about telling us what he really thinks!”

They both laughed at that.


The next day A.M. Bunting II was on a train back to Chicago, to meet with the directors of the World’s Columbian Exposition. Two weeks after arriving, after a much less contentious meeting than he’d had with his own Board of Directors and his grandfather, he was the new owner of the Transportation Building and immediately began making plans for it to be dismantled and shipped to Alabama after the closing of the fair.

If there were whispers about the sanity of the strange young man from Philadelphia, nobody questioned his financial situation. He might be crazy, but his money was good. At first, Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright was perplexed when A.M. walked into his office at Adler and Sullivan, told him that he had purchased the Transportation Building and that he planned to rebuild it on a farm in Alabama.


“Can it be done?” he asked Frank, who was still reeling a bit at the news.

“Well, I...I...suppose so,” Frank stuttered. “I usually build buildings. I don’t take them apart and move them around.”

“But can it be done?”

“Didn’t you think about that before you bought it?” Frank asked.

“That didn’t answer my question.”

Frank thought for a few moments, his mind going back to that park bench, the one that the two of them shared barely a month ago, when fate brought them together. He remembered looking at the Transportation Building, the gilded surfaces on its Golden Doorway changing color as the sunlight slowly moved across it. He envisioned the row of white linen ornamental angels, totally unnecessary but aesthetically pleasing, spreading their outstretched wings over its facade. He was being offered a chance to save it. What would happen if he said, ‘no’? He almost shuddered at the thought.

“I’ll do it,” he almost blurted out to A.M. “I’m not going to let some other hack try to take my building apart and end up destroying it. If anyone knows how to do it, I do.”

“Have you ever dismantled a building and moved it before?”

“Have you?” Frank asked A.M.

A.M. smiled, then said, “I guess we’re both going to learn by doing,’ and they once again shook hands.


Six months after the World’s Columbian Exposition closed, the backlot on the west side of the fairgrounds, the out-of-the-way location that the Sullivan and Adler-designed Transportation Building had occupied, was nothing but a vacant lot. It had been carefully dismantled, under the direct supervision of Frank Lloyd Wright (with Louis Sullivan’s bemused blessing), and loaded into dozens of boxcars to be shipped down to Alabama. Four months later, the Transportation Building stood once again, but now in a former farm field in Alabama, its brilliant red walls and almost glowing Golden Door presiding over fields of corn and cotton.

Frank and A.M. stood admiring the now-completed structure, at first not speaking. Finally, Frank asked his new friend a simple question.


A.M. knew what he meant, and answered him with a simple, “You’ll see.”


The next fifty years saw a bewildering number of international expositions held around the world, but no place held them as often, or as successfully, as America, and where there was a world’s fair, there was AEDOC. It designed pavilions, exhibit halls, theme structures, foreign concessions, and the interior exhibits for hundreds of national and industrial pavilions. A.M. Bunting assembled the best, brightest, most talented architects, designers and artists in the business, and it was a safe bet that the most popular exhibits and most praised pavilions at these fairs had AEDOC involved in them somehow.

Occasionally a newspaper reporter would ask Mr. Bunting what his favorite world’s fair was, and he always gave the same answer- “The one I’m working on right now!” but in his soul was the real answer. It was the one in Alabama, in the middle of a corn and cotton field, the one that every few years grew larger, more magnificent, more spectacular. If few people other than the caretakers ever saw it, that didn’t seem to bother A.M. He would go and make a visit to it every few months, occasionally taking his wife and children, but more often just by himself. He found that being surrounded by (in his opinion) the most magnificent structures ever conceived by modern man kept him humble, almost protected from the stress of the modern world. It was difficult to explain, but he knew, even if he couldn’t express himself.

In 1902 the Electric Tower from the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo rose above the cotton fields that lined the east side of The Pike, and immediately became one of the tallest buildings in the state. In 1904 he purchased the “Creation” exhibit, an extremely popular if tacky concession on The Pike, a name that he decided would be the name of his own personal fair in Alabama. He brought the United States Government building from the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland, Oregon to The Pike- but only the central section. He thought its flanking towers and curved, colonnaded wings were “tasteless and a better fit on a Spanish monastery than an American government building.” The 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle contributed their Forestries Pavilion, which A.M. redesigned and rebuilt at the opposite end of The Pike and a thousand feet away from his first building, his beloved Transportation Building. The San Diego World’s Fair of 1915; the Panama-Pacific Exposition, also held in 1915 in San Francisco (a popular year for fairs on the West Coast); Liege International Exposition in Liege, Belgium, 1930 (an unusual foreign fair for A.M. to be interested in, but AEDOC had designed and sponsored the United States Pavilion, with the stipulation that he got to keep it when Belgium was finished with it); A Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago, 1933-34; the Great Lakes Exposition in Cleveland, 1936; The Golden Gate Exposition, San Francisco, 1939-40; and the granddaddy of them all, the New York World’s Fair of 1939-40 (“The World of Tomorrow”). All contributed structures to A.M. Bunting’s personal fair in Alabama, and most did so at little or no cost to Ambrose other than the price to dismantle, move and reassemble them. They were happy to have someone willing to cover the cost of demolishing what they considered to be temporary structures, and A.M. Bunting created his own playground, a world’s fair in a corn and cotton field in Alabama. He didn’t just re-erect these structures as they were originally, since most of them actually were just temporary buildings, and wouldn’t last more than a few years in the heat and humidity of northern Alabama. He rebuilt them of solid, permanent materials, used his own personal wealth to improve the infrastructure to support them (water, electricity, a decent road that wasn’t like the mud and gravel roads that crisscrossed much of the state) and finally, on July 4th, 1941, on his sixty-ninth birthday, he declared The Pike finished. Every parcel of land along both sides of this one-thousand-foot-long, five-hundred-foot wide space was filled with the most amazing, architecturally-important, unusual, and- to him- interesting pavilions from the past fifty years of world’s fairs and expositions in both America and elsewhere. He had done it. He had saved them from being forgotten.

Ambrose stood with his family that day, his birthday, in the exact center of the Pike, surrounded by the sunken garden that stretched from the Transportation Building to the Forestries Building, from the San Francisco City Building to the Tower of Electricity. They stood there silently for a few minutes, taking in the splendor that surrounded them, the wonders that they had watched being created, but none had seen them from the very beginning other than A.M., back in 1894. His wife Anne, his son Anthony, his daughter Meredith and her husband Charles Vanderbilt, and his five-year-old grandson Andrew (who more than any other member of his family seemed to share his passion for The Pike) stood there on that warm, muggy July afternoon. Suddenly, Andrew asked a question with the innocence of a child.

“Grandpa, what are you going to do with it now?”

Ambrose had no idea. It had been a work-in-progress for so long that he never really considered what to do with it once it was finished.

“I don’t know,” he admitted. “I guess I never thought it would be finished.” He paused for a few moments, then asked, “Andrew, what do you think we should do with it?”

“Can I bring my friends to see it?” he asked hopefully.

“Andy,” his father said, “Alabama is a long way from Philadelphia. It took us two days on the train, then that long car drive up here from Birmingham. I don’t think your friends’ parents will let them come all this way just to play around a bunch of old buildings.” He said that, then heard his father-in-law inhale sharply, almost a gasp that someone would call his favorite place in the entire world ‘a bunch of old buildings.' “I’m sorry, Dad. That didn’t come out like I meant it to.”

A.M. sighed a bit, then said almost sadly, “No, you’re right. It is a bunch of old buildings, and I don’t know what to do with it.”

“Maybe you could open it up to paying visitors, and their admission will help to cover the cost of maintaining it,” Meredith suggested.

“And you expect people to pay their hard-earned money to come all the way out here in the middle of nowhere to walk around a bunch of old buildings?” he said, winking at his son-in-law to show that there were no hard feelings about the earlier unintentionally-derogatory description of his life-long project. “There’s nothing inside any of them to look at. Remember, I bought the buildings, but all the displays went back to whoever donated them.”

“Dad, we don’t need to discuss it now,” his son Anthony said, “and anyway, I think we need to be getting back to the car and back to Birmingham. Those clouds look like we might be getting a storm.”

“Aw-w-w,” Andrew moaned. “If it rains we won’t get to see the 4th of July fireworks.”

“Andy,” his grandpa said, “if the fireworks get rained out, I think I still have some fireworks stored out in the garage. When we get back to Philadelphia we’ll take them way out in the country someplace and fire them off.”

“Ambrose Meredith Bunting!” his wife said in that tone that will stop a man in his tracks. “You have fireworks in the garage? After what happened to your father?!”

“Don’t worry, they’re fine. None of us smoke cigars in the garage. Andrew,” A.M. said to his grandson, “you don’t smoke cigars in the garage, do you?” he joked.

“Not in the garage,” Andy responded, totally deadpan, which brought everyone to a completely stunned silence for a moment, then they all erupted in laughter at the joke this precocious five-year-old had made.

They made it back to the car just before the rain started.


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James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

Ambrose never did decide what to do with The Pike. He only visited it twice after that- the clouds of war over Europe and the Pacific made any decision about what to do with his folly in Alabama seem completely superfluous, and Sunday, December 7th, 1941 put the nail in the coffin of any thought of opening The Pike to the general public. His son-in-law had quietly contacted the United States Department of War to inquire if they could use it in any way, but other than ordering a fence erected around the site no decision was ever made. It sat there behind a tall metal fence in the middle of “nowhere northern” Alabama, forgotten in the daily confusion of a world at war.

Ambrose Meredith Bunting II died on May 19th, 1943 from a heart attack. He had no warning, and didn’t suffer. A few months later his son Anthony was declared missing in action in France, leaving behind no heirs, and Meredith was busy taking care of her mother, who had developed what would now be called early-onset dementia, possibly exacerbated by the loss of her husband and son within a year. After her mother’s death in 1945, Meredith and her husband and son moved to Rhode Island, to be closer to his Vanderbilt family, and they all mostly forgot about her father’s huge, expensive, totally useless playground, now fenced off from intruders, covered with ivy, hidden behind trees and masked by thick overgrowth. Even the locals forgot about it.
The Pike was swallowed up by nature, an unmourned victim of World War II.


An aerial surveyor was flying over the dense overgrowth that made up much of what was now the property of the Americana Land Company. This section had nothing planned for it, other than to be left as a wildlife sanctuary. It was too far away from the site of the new theme park that was being built to be of any value other than as a buffer from outside development.

“What the hell is that?” the pilot said as they approached a huge, towering mound of ivy and what looked to be some trees growing hundreds of feet higher than they should have been.

“I have no idea,” his co-pilot said. They flew around this bizarre growth, hundreds of feet taller than the surrounding forest. They could see something metallic reflecting through the greenery. “Maybe it’s a radio tower? Wasn’t there some abandoned army base around here from World War II?”

“That must be it,” the pilot said. “The map said something like, ‘military zone- restricted,’ but when we checked with the local army reserve office they didn’t have any records of it. The Americana Land Company claimed possession of it based on the property being abandoned.”

“Look down there, at the bottom of that tower,” the co-pilot said as they circled around the area. “There was something down there, something big. Look how you can see straight lines where the trees are growing on something, like buildings.”

“It looks like pictures I saw in National Geographic when they discovered those cities down in Central America.”

“You mean the Mayans?” the co-pilot asked. “They didn’t come this far north...did they?”

“I don’t know,” the pilot said, “but we won’t find the answer up here. They’ll need to send a land team in to check it out. Have you got our GPS coordinates marked?”

“Yep. It should be no problem for the ground teams to get here and figure out what’s down there.”

Looking at the thick green undergrowth of the forest beneath them, the pilot said, “We’d better tell them to bring their machetes. They’re going to need them to chop through that mess.”


The ground crews needed their machetes- and chainsaws and GPS trackers and several days to carve their way through the dense overgrowth permitted by decades of abandonment. They discovered the perimeter fence, the one the U.S. Army installed to protect the new training base that they never actually used. Once they cut their way through the fence and discovered what was behind it, the ground surveyors realized that what they had found was no abandoned army base. It was not a long lost Mayan city, or anything they had ever seen before, but they got their first clue when they nearly walked into a solid brick wall, painted bright red underneath the thick covering of ivy that cloaked it. They followed the wall southeastward (which they could only know by using their compasses) until they came across what looked to be a huge, golden arch, almost completely obscured by the thick blanket of ivy. They pulled aside as much vegetation as they could, and discovered two things- first, a doorway, leading into what must be a huge building, and second, a plaque on the wall, darkly tarnished by years of exposure to the elements but still legible (after some brushing off of layers of dirt and ivy roots).


After a few moments of stunned silence, one of the surveyors quietly said, “Either we’re in the Land of the Lost, or this isn’t supposed to be here.”


The newly-discovered Pike was located nearly three miles from the site of Americana 1900. A massive exploration and stabilization project was started to uncover this lost world’s fair, nearly on the doorstep of a theme park dedicated to America’s history. Some of the buildings were in remarkably good shape- the overgrowth had caused some minor structural and cosmetic damage, but nothing that couldn’t be repaired, and had actually protected much of the infrastructure. Others didn’t handle the passing of the years and the ravages of the elements quite as well. Interestingly, the older structures had survived the abandonment of all those decades better than the “newer” buildings. Regardless, The Pike that A.M. Bunting II had created was still there- forgotten, overgrown, but still there. It was as if The Americana Land Company had been gifted a city from nearly exactly the era of their park! How lucky could they be?


"How unlucky can we be?” Blaine Hinkley, one of the main designers of Americana 1900 moaned as the design team met to evaluate the discovery.

“Why?” one of the other designers asked him, not expecting this response.

“It’s three miles away from the rest of the park! How are we going to get people over there? We’ve already started construction on Americana- we can’t just move everything three miles!”

“Why not?” A stranger stood in the doorway of their meeting room, a man dressed in an obviously expensive, tailor-made suit, wearing a navy blue silk tie and perfectly-shined black shoes.

“Who are you?” Blaine asked, surprised that a total stranger had somehow gained access to this facility and had just walked into this meeting.

“The name’s Andrew Bunting Vanderbilt,” he said, entering the room and taking a seat at the table. “I’m the owner of The Pike.”

The room got deathly silent, then someone said, “I thought it had been abandoned by the Army during World War II and the Americana Land Company acquired it.”

“Yes, well, there’s been some confusion about its ownership, but if you want to call Charles Cambridge, the Chairman of the Board of the Americana Land Company, I’m sure he’ll confirm my claim.” He didn’t seem especially arrogant, just very confident in himself. Perhaps it was the name Vanderbilt that lent him an air of importance- and the smell of money.

“I think I’ll do that,” Blaine said, reaching for his phone...and realizing that he had absolutely no idea how to directly contact the Chairman of the Board. Fortunately for his pride, Jack Cahill, the creator and Founder of Americana 1900, chose that moment to come into the conference room.

“Andy, you beat me here!” Jack said, coming over and shaking his hand. He then grabbed a chair and asked people to move over so he could sit next to Mr. Vanderbilt. More than one of the half-dozen members of this design team sat there stunned, a bit overwhelmed, and in Blaine’s case completely embarrassed.

“Did you tell them?” Jack asked Andy.

“Yes, and I think I got them a little bit excited,” he said, smiling at a noticeably red-faced Blaine.

“Everyone,” Jack said, addressing the team, “I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to tell you about this. We just found out about it ourselves yesterday. In case you’re wondering, Andy here really is the owner of The Pike. Andy, do you want to explain the story to them, or should I?”

“Let me tell them,” Andy said. “I’ve heard about your explanations, and I have a plane to catch back to Philadelphia in four hours.” Jack laughed, the only one in the room to do so. Everyone else was still confused.

Andy explained the history of the creation of The Pike and how it found its way to northern Alabama- and into the middle of Americana Park. Andy had inherited the property upon his mother’s death, but it had been so long since anything had happened with the property that everyone had forgotten about it- except for Andy. He remembered it, more like a vague childhood memory than an actual place, but when he started getting legal notices about property transfers, eminent domain and the building of some kind of amusement park nearby, he had his lawyers do some research to find out whatever happened to that vague childhood memory he had of a special place down south that his grandfather had created.

“And that’s how Andy Vanderbilt owns The Pike,” Jack jumped in, “but not for long. He’s agreed to sign it over to Americana for a small sum and a place on the Board.” Andy and Jack looked at each other, and everyone in the room knew that the “small sum” was probably an understatement with lots of zeros after it.

“Mr. Vanderbilt,” Blaine said, having regained his composure, “when you first got here and I said we can’t just move it three miles, you asked, ‘Why not?’ What did you mean by that? Are you serious?”

“Completely serious,” he told him. “Every one of those buildings has been moved already, from wherever they were built to where they are now. They can be moved again.”

“And they’re going to have to be,” Jack added. “We’ve got some long-range plans for that area, and having a collection of original world’s fair buildings, some over a hundred years old, doesn't quite fit into the plan.”

“What are you- I mean we- going to do with them?” a rather Goth-looking woman designer with a faint German accent asked.

Jack stood up and went over to the map of Americana 1900 that hung on the wall. He took a black marker from a table next to it, drew a large rectangle directly beside State Fair, and said, “We’re going to put it right here.”

“Oh my gosh,” a designer named Johnathan Havoc, a man who rarely used God’s name except when praying, whispered. “We’re adding another Township to Americana 1900.”

“Yep, and it’s going to be magnificent,” Jack stated confidently.

“Jack, Mr. Vanderbilt,” David Branson, a designer from Denver who had enough personal confidence that speaking directly to someone named Vanderbilt didn’t bother him, asked, “have you seen those buildings? They only have the overgrowth off of half of them so far. Some are in fairly decent condition, but others are ready to fall down. I’m not sure they can handle a strong wind, let alone being picked up and moved three miles.”

“Have you ever heard of AEDOC?” Andy asked David.

“I’ve heard of it,” David said, sounding a bit hesitant as if he was about to get caught not having done his homework in school.

“Do you know what the letters stand for?”

“Uh, American Exploration and…” he tried to work out the name from the letters, but Andy stopped him.

“American Exposition Design and Ornamentation Corporation,” Andy said, rescuing him from any further embarrassment. “My grandfather founded the company in 1893. We did the original construction of most of those buildings, and we moved them all to Alabama. Saint Anthony Construction out of San Antonio is building most of Americana 1900, right?” he asked Jack, who nodded in agreement. “AEDOC is taking charge of The Pike. It’s a lot more specialized than what you’re doing in the rest of the park. AEDOC will disassemble the buildings that my grandfather moved here, save as many as we can, replace the rest with whatever this design team chooses…”

“With my approval,” Jack added quickly.

“Yes, with Jack’s approval,” Andy chuckled, then continued, “and we’ll build your new land.”

“Township,” Jack corrected him. Andy looked at Jack, a bit confused. “Township. We call them ‘Townships’ in Americana 1900.” The designers all suppressed smiles- Jack’s penchant for using the right word to describe the different areas in Americana was famous in the design and construction worlds that were building “America’s Grand New Theme Park,” as the publicists were pushing out to the general public.

“Township,” Andy said. “Right. Anyway, we move what we can to the new site, fill in the gaps where we need to, and in a year or so you have another…” he looked at Jack, and pointedly said, “...Township, better than new.”

“But what about what’s going inside the buildings?” someone asked. “I heard they’re all empty.”

“They are,” Jack said, “and that's all for the better. We don’t have to throw out any moldy display cases from a hundred years ago. We get these brand new...well, not really new, but partially new...anyway,” (and he turned to share his excitement with Andy) “we’re lining up some corporate sponsors for some attractions, and my senior design team here is going to come up with some terrific ideas to utilize them in brand new ways. It’s gonna be great!” Jack practically gushed with his enthusiasm for the potential greatness of The Pike.

“And that’s why we’re going to move it,” Andrew Bunting Vanderbilt said simply.

And they least they moved what they could.

Not every building was relocated. A few were not moved for several reasons. Some were too badly deteriorated to be salvageable. Others were not especially important, either architecturally or historically. One, everyone agreed, was just plain ugly (“I have no idea why Grandpa liked it,” Andy said honestly.) Those that were not restored and moved were replaced with replicas of other buildings, some of which AEDOC had constructed over their decades of exposition and other architectural design work, while others were not exposition buildings but were still of historic or architectural importance. As much as possible, though, materials from the original Pike structures were used in their ornamentation, or as decorative features in the Sunken Gardens that filled the center of The (new) Pike.


Jack and Andy stood silently on the balcony terrace atop the Transportation Building, now called St. Louie’s Ragtime Music Hall, and gazed upon The Pike. It was, as a contemporary once tried to describe the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, “indescribably beautiful.” The soaring spire of the Electric Tower; the wedding cake ornamentation of the San Francisco City Hall dome, balanced precariously atop the steel framework that had survived the San Francisco Earthquake (not part of Grandpa Bunting’s original Pike, but still a breathtaking sight); the massive, rustic yet majestic Forestries Building standing a thousand feet away, anchoring the south end of The Pike (and now housing the loading station of the largest scenic railway/roller coaster in the world). Acres of dazzlingly-beautiful flowerbeds and fountains filled the Sunken Gardens that stretched from one end of The Pike to the other, and the centerpiece of the entire visual experience? An elephant. A six-story tall elephant, a recreation of “Lucy,” an architectural folly from a seaside resort in New Jersey that Andy’s own six-year-old grandson Jackson had seen in a book and insisted would be fun to have in the middle of the Township...and he was right, just like Jackson’s grandfather Andrew Bunting Vanderbilt had been right on that warm July day in 1941 when his own grandfather asked him that fateful question.
“Andrew, what do you think we should do with it?”

“Can I bring my friends to see it?”



James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

(Optional atmospheric music for The Pike)




Main Street ends its eastward progression where it meets West Pike, between the Great Lumberjack War Arena to the south and The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 to the north. Continuing our counterclockwise circumnavigation of the Townships, we first come to the beautifully painted Quinault Longhouse, typical of those constructed for centuries by the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest. Next to it, dominating the south end of the Pike, is the loading station of The Great Pacific Northwest Scenic Railroad, a structure resembling an ancient Greek or Roman temple constructed entirely from massive tree trunks, each still encased in its bark. Turning north onto East Pike, the first facade we see is The Pike entrance to the GC&SF Railroad Station, and beside it is the huge art-deco-ornamented facade of the Coca-Cola Experience. Next we come to the entrance to the Harvey House Restaurant on The Pike, and beside it The Great Horsepower Race.

The central anchor on the east side of The Pike is the breathtaking Niagara Tower of Power Complex, its tower soaring towards the heavens and from its base a massive waterfall gushing into a churning pool. The final structure on this side of The Pike is Hershey’s World of Chocolate, stretching all the way to Silver Oak Street.

On the north end of The Pike, between Silver Oak Street and the Pike Road is the vividly-red St. Louie’s Ragtime Music Hall, with its bevy of white angels filling the decorative arches along its facade. Turning south again, the Pike Food Patio stands directly adjacent to the Kellogg’s of Battle Creek Pavilion. Next is the Katzenjammer Theater and beyond it, extending to Main Street and functioning as a counter anchor to the soaring Niagara Tower of Power across the way, is the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

The center of The Pike is spectacularly decorated with hundreds of thousands of flowers and dozens of fountains ornamenting a series of Sunken Gardens, each terrace of blooms slightly lower than the one above it, and in the center of the Sunken Gardens and the entire Township stands Lucy, a six-story tall elephant with a stately royal Howdah perched on her back.


James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Great Pacific Northwest Scenic Railway


1885 saw the creation of the first full-circuit roller coaster. 1886 saw the creation of the first “scenic railway,” a roller coaster with tunnels, painted scenery and visual theming intended to entertain riders, not just thrill them. For decades up to the present date, these combinations of thrills and themed sights were among the most popular attractions at amusement parks around the world.

"The Great Pacific Northwest Scenic Railway", more commonly known simply as the "Great Pacific," blends the thrills of modern coaster technology with the visual entertainment of a highly themed environment, keeping to the spirit of Americana 1900's historic American feeling. Constructed by Rocky Mountain Construction, "Great Pacific" is a hybrid coaster with a steel substructure and wooden structural supports and decorative elements. The design is that of a modified out-and-back coaster utilizing a combination of natural and modified terrain and artificial hills masked with wood, steel and fiberglass elements to appear natural. The total length of the ride is 8,319 ft., making it the longest coaster in the world. There are two chain lift hills (198 ft. and 174 ft.). The maximum speed is 68.4 m.p.h. and the total duration of the ride is 5:47, including load and release time. Four trains of six cars each seat two across in three rows, for thirty-six riders per train and an average riders/hr of ~1500. Due to the extreme length of the coaster, a fifth train can be added during peak times to increase the riders/hr to ~1875. This can be done safely due to multiple emergency brake sections and redundant collision detection mechanisms. A highly-efficient crew of "lumberjacks" will minimize load and unload times. Lap restraints including seat belts are used, but no shoulder harnesses are needed as there are no inversions on this attraction. The trains are decorated in a style reminiscent of open-air passenger train cars of the late 1800s.


The loading station, constructed entirely of massive logs cut from the virgin forests of the Pacific Northwest, is a redesign and reconstruction of the Forestry Building from the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909, held in Seattle, Washington, and serves as a visual anchor to the south end of The Pike. The queue area features period photos of the magnificent forests and rugged logging camps once found in America's Pacific Northwest that provided the lumber for the rapidly growing nation that was America of 1900. Display cases contain artifacts from these camps, and tools used by the lumberjacks decorate the walls and hang from the overhead timbers. A massive cross-section of a tree from that time shows just how large this virgin timber grew. Several informational plaques provide information about this relatively unknown but important piece of America's past to guests as they examine these historic items while waiting to board their trains.


Much of the "Great Pacific'' cannot be seen from the rest of the park. The massive ride structure curves around the south end of The Pike and progresses behind the buildings on the southeast side. Visitors to The Pike can see some of the taller portions of the ride, but riders on the GC&SF Railroad get a magnificent view of nearly the entire attraction as they pass it on their way towards The Pike railway station, and actually pass under its tracks twice. Probably the best view of the Great Pacific, other than while riding it, is seen by diners in the Harvey House on The Pike dining cars, from the restaurant on the second floor of the Niagara Visitors Center, and from the observation deck of the Niagara Tower of Power.
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James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Great Pacific Northwest Scenic Railway takes guests on a trip through the splendor of the American Pacific Northwest forests of 1890, near the pioneer towns of Aberdeen and Hoquiam, Washington, just a year after Washington was granted statehood. Upon leaving the station, the train ascends a lift hill of 198 feet, constructed to appear as though it is built from logs cut from the forests surrounding the ride. As the track reaches the top of the mountain ahead and moves over its crest, it begins a downward descent, but not the usual steep plummet expected. The track begins to take a relaxed, gentle descent down the far side of the mountain- slow at first, to allow riders to enjoy the beautiful landscaping, the dense forest of tall pines that line both sides of the track, the rocky outcroppings and cascading waterfalls that empty into rivers that the train crosses on bridges- a true "scenic railway". A bear can be seen climbing a tree attempting to get honey from a beehive while its cubs wait hungrily beneath.


Salmon are jumping up a small waterfall, attempting to swim upstream to spawn, and a grizzly bear is attempting to catch one for dinner. A cougar is spotted sunning itself on a rocky outcropping. But the riders soon notice that "something seems to have gone terribly wrong" - the brakes have failed! The train begins to gain speed, going faster and faster, and soon is plummeting downhill at breakneck speeds, the trees alongside the track now just a blur. Up ahead riders see the track rising to pass over another hill- but there has been a landslide!


The track is buried under tons of massive rocks- and the train is heading right towards it! At the last moment, the train veers to the right, onto a sidetrack away from the landslide but out of control, racing through the mountainous terrain of the forest. It banks again to the left, then begins a series of twisting and turning curves, often following the terrain of the land but sometimes using bridges to cross deep rocky chasms or rivers of raging water cascading from the mountains.


By this time the track has carried the train to the far side of a mountain lake, and after a series of twists, turns and airtime hills the train has reached more level ground and is finally slowing down. The train passes through a less heavily forested area, an area where lumberjacks have been felling some of the mighty trees and have been preparing them to be hauled by teams of horses down "skid roads'' to the lumber mills where the logs will be stripped of bark, cut into boards and eventually shipped to the wood-hungry towns of America.


A few steam-powered engines are seen, but mostly this work is still done by oxen, by horse, and by the raw muscle power of the lumberjacks with their axes and cross-cut saws. "Great Pacific'' railway riders will see the logging process in all stages: some lumberjacks will have just started making the first cuts into a towering pine, others will be sawing the limbs off of the main trunk of an already dropped tree, while still more are hitching a six-foot trunk to a team of oxen, preparing it for the journey to the nearby town and its lumber mill.


Suddenly the shout of "TIMBER-R-R!" is heard and a towering pine is seen to be crashing towards the earth- and the train (and its helpless riders)! It crashes to the ground, just missing the track! Another near-miss for the riders of the Great Pacific Northwest Scenic Railway!


The track enters a small town, a rough-looking settlement with a few houses, shops, saloons, and of course a lumber yard. But the train doesn't stop- the track makes a large, sweeping turn through the town, and the train slowly enters a lumber mill full of steam-powered equipment, giant circular buzz saws and piles of logs being turned into lumber. The smells of coal, grease and sawdust fill the air. The train continues past these noisy, steam-belching machines, exits the mill and begins to climb the second lift hill, a 174-foot wooden bridge that, like the first lift hill, takes the train to the top of a mountain...but there the similarities end. The train crests the mountaintop and the track plunges down the far side of the mountain at a 54-degree drop, leading the train on another hair-raising run through the forests of the Pacific Northwest, over wooden trestles and raging rapids, past cascading waterfalls (and actually behind one), and even through old mining tunnels now used to get the train to the other side of the mountains.


The track carries the train and its riders across the rugged, hilly terrain, sometimes around the hills, sometimes over them, past massive boulders and towering trees, but eventually the train starts to slow down, the track begins to level off a bit, and the familiar sight of the station with its massive bark-covered log columns appears. After the train approaches and then reenters the station, its passengers disembark and head back to The Pike, but not before having the opportunity of entering the gift shop and Family Album Photo Center for the attraction. This is a remarkable structure that stands as an attraction by itself- the beautiful Quinault Longhouse. (description to follow)

The Great Pacific Northwest Scenic Railway sets a new world record for length for any coaster, wooden or steel. The designers have set a new standard for totally-immersive theming, bringing the riders of the "Great Pacific" to the majestic beauty of the Pacific Northwest of 1890 while not forgetting to give them the thrill of a lifetime- an out-of-control race around, over and even through the Olympic Mountains of Washington. In doing so, they have revived the concept of the "scenic railway", a true blending of roller coaster thrills with quality theming.

"The Great Pacific Northwest Scenic Railway"- transporting lumber and passengers through the forests of Washington since 1890.




James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Quinault Longhouse


The Quinault Longhouse was constructed using traditional methods and materials, and is owned and operated by the Quinault Indian Nation, a sovereign nation of Native Americans consisting of the Quinault and Queet tribes and the descendants of the Quileute, Hoh, Chehalis, Chinook and Cowlitz tribes. Their tribal lands are located and their members still live near the area of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington where the "Great Pacific" adventure takes place. Constructed in traditional style from cedar planks by skilled tribal craftspeople, decorated with totem poles and painted with murals of faces and crests of ravens, bears and whales, this structure serves as the gift shop and photo center for the attraction.


Along with the Family Album photo counter and attraction-themed souvenirs, the Longhouse offers a wide variety of hand-crafted goods such as woven baskets and trays, cedarwood boxes, purses and jewelry, and smoked salmon prepared in the traditional methods by the Quinault people. Trade with other area tribes and with western settlers has always been important to the Quinault tribes, so a variety of specialty goods and products from the Pacific Northwest can be found here, such as GloryBee Fireweed Honey, many flavors of Northwest Slug Butter Brand Spreads (“The Yummy Spread That Slimes Your Bread”), colorful glass ornaments made from Mt. St. Helens’ volcanic ash, and the popular confection Aplets and Cotlets*. All proceeds from this shop go to help fund educational and cultural programs for the Quinault Nation’s members.



A personal note from the creator of Americana 1900: These were my mother’s favorite candies, and after getting married and moving to Ohio, she only got them at Christmas. She was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, and these are to Washingtonians what Buckeyes are to Ohioans, the unofficial “State Candy”. Every year her brother in Seattle would send her a box for Christmas, and she would make them stretch out as long after Christmas as she could (which usually meant that she might be able to make them last until New Year’s Eve).

One Christmas Eve, though, she didn’t get to enjoy them. We returned home from Christmas Eve services at church, and our dog had decided he couldn’t wait to find out what smelled so good in that one box under the tree. We came home to find a pile of torn wrapping paper, an empty mangled box and a dog in a sugar coma with powdered sugar around its mouth. I thought my mother was going to kill the dog in front of us on Christmas Eve- I never saw her that angry before or since. She always called her brother on Christmas Day but she couldn’t wait that long, so she called him right away to tell him what had happened. Once he stopped laughing- which did nothing to help her anger- he promised to send her some more. I believe that we soon received two boxes of Aplets and Cotlets (they came in a flat box with Aplets on the left and Cotlets on the right, in a box with individual cups for each piece of candy, like a box of chocolates). One box was labeled for my mother, and the other was for the dog! I think that Mom ate the dog’s Christmas present also, and the dog avoided my mother for quite a while after that.

They are extremely sweet, a bit sticky, and I think that the Quinault Longhouse will have trouble keeping them in stock. That’s why I recommend you make these yourselves. Enjoy!


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Well-Known Member
quacking of a duck as they settle in for the night
Are those ducks domesticated or from the wild? There's no mention of any other poultry besides the chickens and I was wondering if perhaps there are other animals; be it species or even breeds; not listed as part of the MFFT. I'm sorry that I didn't ask this when it was posted, the question kept escaping me.

James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Are those ducks domesticated or from the wild? There's no mention of any other poultry besides the chickens and I was wondering if perhaps there are other animals; be it species or even breeds; not listed as part of the MFFT. I'm sorry that I didn't ask this when it was posted, the question kept escaping me.
I will refer you to Post #113 and #114, in the Table of Contents, Morrison Farm, "Critter Corral and The Morrison Farm Field Tour: Part 1 and Part 2". I do appreciate your interest, especially in a subject from earlier in the presentation. :)

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