Americana 1900- The Complete Presentation

James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

Two rides in Morrison Farm, the Barn Cat and Vulture, have gift shops with Family Photo Album counters inside their ride buildings. Along with these two rides, Hog Jam, Field Mouse and Flying Pigs also have Family Album photo counters at their exits. The Barn Cat and Vulture gift shops offer a complete selection of ride souvenirs- shirts, hats, hoodies, key chains, etc. for all attractions in Morrison Farm, not just their specific attractions, and are located in traditional lean-to sheds attached to the main ride’s barn.

Grandpa Morrison felt that having stand-alone retail shops in his barnyard wasn’t appropriate- plus he’d finally run out of farm buildings to use. Instead, he’s allowed several “traveling salesmen” to set up their wagons around the Barnyard perimeter and in a few open areas in the center of the Barnyard, where guests can peruse their goods, find an unusual souvenir shirt, a jar of Grandma Morrison’s homemade apple butter or even honey pulled from one of the working farm’s beehives, and thus enjoy the experience of shopping from a “real live traveling salesman.”


Unlike the traveling salesmen of the past, where you were often as likely to be swindled as to be sold quality merchandise, the products sold by these salesmen (and women) are of the same high quality as everything else sold in Americana 1900, and the salespeople are never going to sell you “snake oil,” unless you actually have a snake that needs oiling!


The public restrooms serving Morrison Farm are located in the large main Hog Jam barn, on the south side of the Township. Its decor is what would be expected in a barn- rustic, with heavy wooden timbers and aged-wooden planks for privacy in the stalls, well-lit with lanterns and wagon-wheels converted into overhead lighting fixtures, washtubs used as sinks, and old horse collars used as the frames for mirrors in the ladies’ room. Rustic in appearance, but modern in sanitation and efficiency.


Solid, hand-crafted benches and rocking chairs are found throughout the Township for foot-weary visitors to relax on, or even for those who just want to sit and enjoy the agricultural atmosphere of the farm. Several operating farm windmills, vital to powering the pumps that drew fresh water for the farm animals and for irrigating the crops, are scattered throughout the Township, providing even more kinetic movement to a Township that is already filled with activity.


Trash cans resembling tall bushel baskets and recycling bins that appear to be stacked tractor tires are conveniently located throughout the Township, and Grandma Morrison has utilized several other large tires to serve as raised beds for her prize-winning heirloom flowers and ornamental vegetables.


When night falls on Morrison Farm, visitors see that Grandpa Morrison has adopted some of Mr. Edison’s new-fangled electric lights to illuminate the entire Barnyard. Barn lights project from the peaks of the barns and from the windmills, flooding the Township with a warm glow, and he even had strings of light bulbs strung between the buildings to make an evening visit to Morrison Farm a time to stroll a bit slower, listen to the distant bleating of a sheep or quacking of a duck as they settle in for the night, or find an empty rocking chair and relax after a long, memorable, fun-filled day of discovery and fun at Morrison Farm and Americana 1900.


Exciting rides, delicious foods, animals to pet and feed, and a farm wagon tour through the fields and pastures of a working farm. No other theme park in America offers such a wide variety of entertainment and educational experiences to its guests, yet Americana 1900 offers it all in just one of its Townships! Jump on the wagon- it’s time to get down on the farm!



After a long, hot day of working in the barns and fields of Morrison Farm, who wouldn’t want to cool off in a nice, refreshing swimmin’ hole? The farmhands, and everyone who visits Morrison Farm or any of the other Townships in Americana 1900, can do just that in one of the most unique, attraction-filled water parks to be found anywhere in the world- Green Springs, located just south of Morrison Farm in the southwest corner of Americana 1900.


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James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster




The third Township that we will explore in Americana 1900- Green Springs- is one worth committing an entire day to explore. Named by a former owner who noticed that its once heavily-mineral-laden waters had a slightly greenish tinge to it when the sun struck its surface, these springs now flow crystal clear and fill the Township’s dozens of pools, streams and fountains. The name Green Springs now refers to the rich, green gardens that adorn this former steel factory-turned water park.

There are three entrances to Green Springs. The Main Entrance is located on the plaza where Railroad Street meets Green Springs Road. The South Entrance, which doubles as an entrance to Americana 1900 itself, is accessed from the South/Green Springs Parking Lot. There is also a side access directly from the Theodore Roosevelt Hotel exclusively for hotel guests.

(Optional atmospheric sounds for Green Springs)


The Northern Alabama Iron Works was, for several years in the late 1860s and early 1870s, one of the South’s major producers of iron and steel. Much of the reconstructed South after the war was built with Northern Alabama Steel, and tradition says that the owners used the initials “N.A.” because they intended to eventually change the company name to “North American Steel” and return Alabama in general and nearby Birmingham in particular to their former place of glory as the steel capital of the nation.

Unfortunately, the factory relied on wells to provide the massive amounts of water needed for steel production, and as the ironworks drew more and more water from the wells, the water table began to drop and the water began to be contaminated with high levels of minerals and salt. This made the steel produced here unusable, and after only ten years of production, the factory was forced to declare bankruptcy and close, leaving its buildings abandoned. The factory sat empty until 1890, when an enterprising entrepreneur heard about the mineral-laden water, toured the site and decided that it would be the perfect place to open a health spa, where wealthy patients from across the nation could come, relax, drink the mineral waters and soak in its “restorative properties”. He remodeled the brick factory buildings into an elegant hotel, and added a variety of pools and streams in which his guests could soak away their infirmities. To keep the spa open year-round, he constructed the Winter Garden, a beautiful glass pavilion housing indoor pools, spas and exercise areas. The health spa was a hit, attracting the rich and famous from throughout the nation.
Soon, though, the minerals in the water began to disappear- it had only become contaminated because of the excessive amount of water being pumped out by the iron factory. Once the factory ceased operating and the underground aquifer returned to its original levels, its water also returned to its original crystal clear purity. By this time, though, the spa was so popular for its enjoyable facilities that it continued to operate as a recreation center, and people came not to drink the water but to swim in it, to play in the pools and enjoy the remarkable water attractions that were constructed in the old factory buildings. Now integrated into Americana 1900, Green Springs offers guests several dozen water rides and attractions to enjoy, many utilizing the original factory structures or the glittering Winter Garden, while others are in newer facilities designed to blend into the existing buildings.


Green Springs Today
Both the Main Entrance and the South Entrance buildings contain locker rooms, private changing rooms and personal locker rental facilities, restrooms (including family restrooms) and retail space selling swimming apparel, sunscreen, towels, and Green Springs-themed souvenirs, among other items. An enclosed passageway leads from the second floor of the Theodore Roosevelt Hotel directly into Green Springs, where guests’ valid admission into the park is checked before entering.

Main Entrance



James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
There are two sections to Green Springs Township, the indoor complex and the outdoor water park.
Green Springs Indoor Complex
The indoor complex consists of three interconnected buildings- two three-story brick buildings (both connected to the South Entrance building) and the glass-and-steel Winter Garden. This complex is open year-round, features two major indoor water rides in the brick buildings and a selection of water play areas, slides and pools in the Winter Garden.​


Green Springs Outdoor Water Park
The outdoor water park contains many thrilling slides, water rides, play areas and the majority of other attractions, and is open seasonally.


Admission to Green Springs is included in Americana 1900 admission year-round. From October 1st through Memorial Day, only the indoor complex is open, and day passes for admission to it are available that allow guests full access to the indoor attractions. These day passes can be applied to the cost of full admission to the rest of Americana 1900 if desired.


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James G.

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Original Poster

This township reminded me of the theme song

HaHa! I love it! I actually got the name Green Springs from a town near where I live. It has natural mineral springs (not hot springs) where people back in the late 1880s-1920s came to "take the waters" and stay in a Sanitorium there to relax and regain their health. When the wind is just right, the entire town smells like sulfur- which must have been a real attraction to our forefathers for some reason.

James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

Three of the largest structures surviving from the steel factory/health spa eras of Green Springs comprise the indoor complex. The two brick buildings, the Foundry and Casting buildings, are directly connected to the South Entrance Building, while the Winter Garden is connected to the two brick structures by enclosed glass passageways at the second-floor level.

Over the Falls: The Great Niagara River Run (AAP)


This major attraction, usually just called “Niagara Falls,” is housed in The Foundry, the largest single building in Americana 1900, and is one of the most innovative water rides in any theme park. Its main entrance is under the second-story glass hallway that connects the Foundry building to the Winter Garden. Upon entering the building, riders have to remind themselves that they are actually inside a building, and that everything around them, from the water-smoothed rocks on the ground to the gently-drifting white puffy clouds in the blue sky above them, has been created by the talented artists and designers of Americana. The riders find themselves at the base of a huge stone cliff, with just a few small trees and plants clinging to ledges along its soaring heights. In front of them is a twisting flight of wooden stairs that resemble the staircases that visitors to the Niagara Falls of a hundred years ago would climb to get closer to the Falls, or in some places even behind them. These stairs lead visitors up through a deep cleft in the cliff, and eventually to the top of the cliff. The Falls are out of sight, but the roar can be heard in the distance and a light mist from them occasionally blows across the stairs, giving the climbers a taste of what awaits them.


“Upper Niagara River Barrel Tours” announces the sign over an open-sided, red-roofed building with white wooden columns and just a bit of wooden gingerbread ornamentation that stands at the top of the stairs. The wooden queue fencing that guides riders from the top of the stairs to the building itself has signage featuring photos of the Upper Niagara River and its beautiful scenery of today- which of course is the year 1900. Riders climb aboard large wooden “barrels” (the traditional round floating rafts) that seat eight, and set off for a leisurely floating cruise along the Upper Niagara River, and while the Townsfolk working this attraction are getting them safely strapped in, they inform them that they’re far enough upstream to be completely safe from the Falls several miles downstream.


Just be sure you don’t go past the red barrels that you’ll see floating in the river,” they tell them. “That’s where the rapids begin.”

The barrel is sent out on its peaceful, relaxing floating tour of the Upper Niagara River. The trip begins as promised- gentle, relaxing, just enough of a current to carry the barrel down the middle of the river, where a combination of detailed scenery and projection screens recreate a tranquil, wooded stretch of the river. Plenty of wildlife live along the banks of the Niagara River. Raccoons are trying to grab a fish for a meal. A small herd of deer drink from its cool, clear waters. Squirrels sit on branches, scolding a beaver chewing through the trunk of the sapling supporting the squirrels’ branch.

The barrels continue down the river, and the speed of the current begins to noticeably increase. They pass a small town consisting of just a few houses and shops along the riverbank when suddenly they see the red barrels they were warned about- the current pulls them between the barrels, and just then a man from the town (projected on a screen between two solid buildings) hollers at the riders.
“Hey! Stop! You’re getting too close to the Falls! You’re getting caught in the current! Get over to the shore now!”

But it is too late- the barrel continues to accelerate in the current, racing towards a deafening roar as it leaves the town and the man in the distance.


A huge wall of mist engulfs the boat as it twists and turns in the swirling current, between boulders (and a few smashed barrels) and suddenly they have reached the edge of Niagara Falls!


They plunge over the edge! It’s not a directly vertical plunge, but a steep, downward slope with what looks like thousands of gallons of water pouring down along both sides of the barrel, which is spinning all the way down to the base of the falls. The riders are completely drenched in the torrent of water as they plunge over the falls, a plunge that seems to take forever...then as suddenly as they began the plunge, they reach the bottom of the Falls. A massive wave from their splash-down soaks the riders, but just as they believe that their death-defying adventure is over, they realize that they are caught in the current of the even-deadlier Lower Niagara River. Their barrel is carried past a boat, the famous Maid of the Mist, just out of reach, and as they careen through the narrow Niagara Gorge, they are caught in the dreaded Niagara Whirlpool. The barrel is suddenly spinning and spiraling down a seemingly bottomless corkscrew of turns, deeper and deeper into the river, with water crashing over the boat and mist nearly blinding the riders, when somehow they emerge from the thick fog far down the river, free of the whirlpool.


They enter a slow-moving portion of the river, where they pass what looks like early-twentieth-century rescue trucks on the shore, and hear voices from the direction of the trucks hollering,

“Look! They survived! Hold on, we’ll get you out!”

The barrel, full of totally soaked survivors, enters the unloading dock. As they unfasten their seat belts, step out of the water-logged barrel and head for the exit gate, they notice they have two choices- they can leave the Foundry Building and the Niagara River Run, or they can return to the stairs that will lead them back to the top of the Niagara Escarpment and the Upper Niagara River Barrel Tours, and once again risk their luck by taking a chance of “accidentally” going “Over the Falls!”



James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Gully Washer (AAP)


The Casting Building is where molten steel was once poured into molds and cast into products used to rebuild the South. Now, however, it is not molten steel, but driving rain being poured onto unintentional “storm chasers” in Gully Washer, an indoor dark water ride that carries riders into a “gully washer” of a storm. The main entrance is under the glass hallway connecting the Casting Building and the Winter Garden.

Riders find themselves in a recreated outdoor setting, with a rustic staircase ascending through what appears to be a narrow valley running up the side of a hill. The stairs lead to a pleasant meadow at the top of the hill, a meadow with a slow-moving stream flowing through it. The queue, composed of low stone walls, leads to a loading station along the bank of the stream, a loading station that looks like a dock where fishermen would start a pleasant day of fishing. Here the riders will become the fishermen, and will board a boat that looks like a flat-bottomed fishing boat that can seat six people in three rows of two.

Riders may have to remind themselves that they are inside a building, and not in a mountain-top meadow on a pleasant summer day. Clouds appear to drift slowly across the blue sky overhead. A warm, gentle breeze is blowing, birds are singing, and they can almost smell the fish from the last fishing trip. Beautiful mountains in the distance line the horizon, but if they look closer they might notice some darker clouds behind the mountains, and an occasional flash of lightning far in the distance.


The fishing trip begins with the boats gently floating down a slow, meandering stream. They pass underneath the limbs of trees growing along the bank, their branches stretching nearly to touch the trees on the opposite side. A few animatronic “critters” watch the boats float by from their homes along the bank- a beaver or two, a few groundhogs peeking out from their burrows, some squirrels chattering from the branches overhead.


The same use of projection screens used in “Over the Falls” adds to the impression that riders are exploring a gentle creek somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains on a beautiful day. Soon, though, the sky begins to darken as gray, menacing clouds from the once-distant storm arrive and begin to block the sun, and a few drops of rain begin to hit the riders. The wind picks up, the leaves on the trees along the bank begin to rustle and wave in the gusts from the rapidly-approaching storm, and soon the skies open up and the boat and its riders are being drenched in a soaking downpour. The once-placid stream soon turns into a bucking, raging “gully washer” as the rain from the storm fills its banks nearly to overflowing in a deadly flash flood. The boat is now racing downstream, surging past jagged rocks, down steep rapids, and narrowly avoids being crushed by towering trees being uprooted by the storm and crashing down across the stream, just barely missing the boat by hitting the bank on the other side.


Just then, when all seems lost, the storm begins to dissipate, the rain lightens up and stops, and the boat rushes out of the gully into a lake, where the energy of the raging waters is released from the confines of the gully and the boat slows down and coasts towards the small marina ahead. The now-totally drenched fishermen are able to disembark from their fishing boat, and the workers at the marina pleasantly ask them,
“So, how was the fishin’?”



The Winter Garden


The Winter Garden is one of the largest and most beautiful attractions in Americana 1900. Inspired by the glass and steel “Crystal Palaces” constructed for the first world’s fairs of the mid-nineteenth century, the Winter Garden houses a variety of smaller water attractions and experiences: a multi-level wet play area with water slides, rope bridges and a huge tipping water bucket (which appears to be a reused steel bucket used for pouring molten steel when the steel factory was still operating); a small lazy river; pools for water basketball; an indoor/outdoor hot tub and a children’s play area, along with a small concession stand. Glass hallways at the second-floor level connect it to the Foundry and Casting buildings, allowing this complex to be used year-round by visitors to Americana 1900. The delicate, ornamental steel framework, the warmth of the sun pouring through the glass walls and roof, and the hundreds of tropical plants that decorate the interior of the Winter Garden make it a year-round oasis of fun.




James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

The attractions that comprise the outdoor portions of Green Springs are a visually remarkable hybrid of industrial buildings and modern water ride technology. Some are designed for the thrill-seeker, others for the youngest members of the family, and still others can be enjoyed by everyone. They provide a total family experience of fun, sun and water, enough that many families plan on spending one entire day of their Americana 1900 vacation at Green Springs.

To be sure that a day at Green Springs doesn’t turn into a painful, red sunburn, free dispensers of water-resistant sunscreen are found throughout the Township. There are several areas where cabanas are available for rental, and hundreds of deck chairs and sun umbrellas provide shade to those who wish to relax outdoors without getting too much sun exposure. There are also many drinking fountains available throughout the Township, all looking like repurposed industrial pipes, to keep thirsty visitors well-hydrated. An attended first-aid station is located on the ground floor of the Casting Building (the “Gully Washer” building) near the Main Entrance to Green Springs.

All outdoor attractions are open during regular Green Springs operating hours unless closed for maintenance or if inclement or threatening weather conditions require them to close. They are reopened as soon as it is safe to do so.


Before entering Green Springs Township, most visitors stop by one of the two locker/changing buildings at the entrances to change into their swimsuits. Perhaps not surprisingly, a large percentage of guests have purchased and wear period-appropriate “bathing dresses” for ladies and girls and one-piece “tank suits” for gentlemen and young men. The modern materials they are made from are much more comfortable than the original, more period-appropriate wool, and they also provide outstanding UV protection, something that their grandparents would never have thought about.




When entering the Township from the Main Entrance, at the northeast corner of the Township, guests see before them a spectacular sight, The Valley of Ten Thousand Soaks. To their right is a delightful children’s watery play area, The Sandbox. Proceeding past the Sandbox a lane heads west, with a collection of water slides called the WaterWorks on the right and the Old Swimmin’ Holes on the left. Reaching the northwest corner of the Township are two epic thrill rides, The Johnstown Flood of 1889 and The Old Mill Scream. Turning south past the Old Mill Scream splashdown pool is another brick building from the days of the iron factory, now featuring a complex of water slides jointly named The Rivers of America. At the southwest corner of the Township is the entrance to a wild white-water rafting excursion called Battle Creek.

Proceeding eastward along the south side of Green Springs, visitors come to the first of two counter-service food patios in the Township, the Erie View Food Patio. The other food patio, the Valley View Food Patio, is located adjacent to the Main Entrance, between it and the Casting Building. Just past the Erie View is the Mill Race, a collection of four side-by-side racing speed slides. The rest of the south side of Green Springs is dominated by the Foundry Building, with the South Entrance building connecting it to the Casting Building which forms the east side of the Township.

The eastern section of the space in the center of the Township is occupied by the Winter Garden, but the western section is dominated by a huge wave pool, Storm Surge, which is lined with cabanas and is overlooked by the Water Works Restaurant. This entire central section of the Township is surrounded by the Erie Canal, a lazy river that curves gently around the Winter Garden and Storm Surge, and passes under the glass walkways that connect the Winter Garden to the Casting and Foundry buildings.


The Valley of Ten Thousand Soaks


In 1912 Mount Novarupta erupted in what is now Alaska’s Katmai National Park, ejecting thirty times the amount of material that was blown out by the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Among the major geological changes that occurred from this massive volcanic eruption was the creation of a huge valley covered with a peculiar type of molten material that, when it began to cool, formed thousands of small vents where the smoke from the molten interior of the lava flow would be released. This remarkable valley was explored in 1916 by a National Geographic botanist named Robert F. Griggs, who was amazed at the countless vents still releasing smoke into the nearly forty square mile valley and gave it the name “The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.”


A play on that name lives on in Green Springs Township in The Valley of Ten Thousand Soaks, a circular water play area at the main entrance to the water park. Here dozens of pipes of various heights with a variety of water nozzles and sprayers jet cool, clean water into the air or down onto guests in random patterns. The soft, porous surface of the “valley” drains the water to be recycled, filtered and reused over and over. The various heights and designs of pipes, the computer-controlled random release of water and the spinning, spraying or trickling of the water makes The Valley of Ten Thousand Soaks a unique entrance to this water park- exciting to see, wonderfully fun to experience and visually memorable.



The Sandbox



What kid doesn’t like to play in a sandbox? Green Springs provides a wonderful play area for very young children and their families with The SandBox, a place where children can play in the sand, slide down water slides that are just the right size to thrill without scaring them, dump buckets of water on each other, and float on inner tubes in their very own lazy river. There are plenty of shady areas for parents to relax in and for children to get out of the sun for a bit, water misting areas and sprinklers to let children run and play in safely, and the adjacent Main Entrance Building conveniently provides several family restrooms for those sudden “potty” emergencies that can happen with this much water around a toddler! The many activities found in The Sandbox let the littlest members of the family have just as much fun as the big kids at Green Springs!

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James G.

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Original Poster



Much of the north side of Green Springs is dominated by the WaterWorks, a series of tube slides that were created from the main pumping station of the old iron mill. This towering brick structure, with stairs inside leading to the top level where the slides begin, offers riders four different designs of water slides, two single and two double riders styles. Some are more relaxed, with gentle curves and a slower descent, while others are almost frenzied in their frantic plunge to the splash pool at the bottom. Relaxing or thrilling, the tube slides at the WaterWorks are a not-to-be-missed experience at Green Springs.



Old Swimmin’ Holes


Although technically called “pro bowls'' in the water park industry, most people affectionately call these water rides the “toilet bowls.” Regardless, they are among the most popular water park attractions, and Green Springs has a pair of them (nicknamed the “two-seaters'' by the local Townsfolk). The Old Swimmin’ Holes are located in a grassy plaza directly opposite the Water Works, and are actually two versions of the same attraction.


The East Swimmin’ Hole is for single riders, and guests go down the shoot, spin around the bowl and eventually fall through the hole in the bottom on their back, with no tube or raft. The West Swimmin’ Hole is for multiple riders on rafts that can hold up to four persons, and has a slightly different exit design from the single rider bowl. Regardless, each offers a great, watery experience for their riders.



James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Johnstown Flood of 1889 (AAP)



In 1889 the city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania was destroyed by a flood caused by days of heavy rain overwhelming a dam. Despite the name, The Johnstown Flood of 1889 is not a recreation of that fatal disaster, but is a thrilling demonstration of just how powerful a force that water, controlled or uncontrolled, can be. Riders board round eight-person rafts and soon are being carried up a smooth lift hill. At the top of the hill, for the first few moments, they float on a tranquil stretch of placid water- then disaster strikes! Their raft is pulled over the edge of a dam, dives down the torrent of water as it rushes out of the gash that nature has torn into it, and begins a raging, nearly out-of-control race down a narrow valley. Several times the rafts are actually blasted uphill from the force of the floodwaters, which then sends them racing around steeply banked curves, just barely missing massive boulders and huge, deadly log jams. The rafts spin wildly as the current swirls the rafts around and around, finally splashing down into the broad river channel at the bottom of the valley, far from the dam that failed and caused this attraction’s name-sake calamity.



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James G.

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Original Poster

The Old Mill Scream (AAP)


One of the oldest styles of water rides, the “Shoot the Chute” meets the most modern dark ride technology in The Old Mill Scream. The actual ride building, a dilapidated four-story brick structure with windows that are either boarded up or broken out, stands apart from the rest of the Green Springs buildings at the back of a huge, debris-laden pool full of piles of bricks that have fallen off the front wall of the Mill, along with rusty fifty-gallon metal drums, rotting wooden crates and piles of what is probably toxic sludge from the iron refinery process (of course, none of this is really toxic, nor is the inky black water in the pool polluted, but the bottom of the pool is painted black to give this appearance). Riders board boats that hold sixteen passengers each, in four rows of four, and these boats look like a cross between a traditional Shoot the Chute boat and a coffin. They have the necessary safety features, but the ornamentation on these “floating coffins” includes what looks like casket handles that line the sides and metal corner decorations to hold the coffin together.


Once seated in their coffin- er, boat- the riders ascend a creaking, decrepit, rusty lift hill that enters the old, sinister-looking brick factory building through a gaping hole where part of the front wall has collapsed. A thick curtain of mist pours down on the riders to soak them, chill them, to get them into the right “spirit” for the sights that await them, and to mask the sunlight from the outside. Once inside the dark, dank building- now filled with nothing but rotting wood, rusty iron and crumbling bricks- scenes from a nightmare surround the riders. Ghosts appear to torment the skeletons of their victims, innocent workers who showed up for work one day and never made it home. They are now long dead, but are still being tortured for eternity (via the magic of Pepper’s ghost technology and some rather grisly animatronics), while occasional unexpected drops and startling apparitions make this dark water ride unlike any other.


Several “shock and scream” moments occur- a skeletal body is suddenly dropped in front of the boat on the end of a hangman’s noose; a decaying zombie pulls open the door to a furnace, and it appears as if the riders are about to be consumed in its roaring flames until the boat turns away at the last moment; a skeleton throws open a rotting office door beside the boat and reaches out to grab the riders.


The boats, moving through the building in rusted (appearing) metal channels, have been descending further and further into the building’s haunted depths, sometimes gradually, other times from unexpected drops. The riders occasionally pass through random areas of dripping cold water from leaking pipes, and even across the greasy surface of the flooded basement which bubbles as if it’s boiling and glows reddish-orange as if the fire beneath it is ready to engulf the riders.


A few jets of flame burst from the water’s surface, ready to ignite the oily-appearing sludge that floats on the surface just a few feet away from the riders. Suddenly, up ahead, a series of grinding, spinning grist stones confront the riders, ready to crush them as ghostly apparitions dance evilly beside and on top of them, but the boats veer off at the last moment and enter another thick wall of fog and mist. This is their last chance to escape- it’s another lift hill, completely encased in sheets of water and mist.


This second lift hill, inside the Mill, carries the riders up and out through another hole in the old mill’s crumbling front wall. They have escaped from the horrors of the mill, only to find themselves subjected to one final plunge down a one-hundred-foot sliding drop into the brackish, debris-filled lagoon in front of the building. They pass under a bridge at the bottom of the hill where the splash from the plunging boats soaks both the riders and earlier survivors of the Old Mill Scream as they exit the ride. The Old Mill Scream, where the cold water from the ride is needed to wash the cold sweat from those brave enough to enter the Old Mill- and hopefully escape alive.


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James G.

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Original Poster
Rivers of America


A three-story brick building from the factory era of Green Springs now serves as the entrance for a collection of seven different water slides, each one as different as the American rivers they are named after. Some are filled with wild twists and turns, while others are built for straight-away speed, but all provide a fun, exciting plunge down the Rivers of America.

Most water slides in other water parks begin with a long, boring and seemingly endless climb up dozens of stairs through the framework that supports the slide, but at the Rivers of America each slide is accessed from inside the brick building, and the ride experience starts not at the beginning of the slide, but from the moment that the rider enters the building. Yes, there are stairs to climb, but there is also an indoor rainforest where riders must walk through a simulated summer storm of rain, lightning and thunder. One slide can be reached only after riders have walked through a shallow pool of ankle-deep water. Another entrance path leads riders through a glass tunnel that passes through a magnificent aquarium, teeming with fresh-water fish native to North America. Each slide is reached after passing through its own unique watery experience.


The Mississippi- The tallest and fastest water slide in Green Springs emerges from the center of the building. It has no twists or turns, no hills, just a nearly-vertical plummet from an Aqua-Drop Chamber by those brave enough to challenge the force of gravity and the mighty Mississippi!

The Tennessee and Missouri- Flanking the Mississippi on each side, these straight downhill slides have no twists or turns, but do have a few hills that are just high enough to give sliders a bit of air time (or would it be called “water” time?) as they race feet-first to a soaking splashdown at the bottom.

The Ohio and Colorado- Next to the aforementioned speed slides, the Ohio and Colorado River slides have a unique mixture of twists, spirals, fast straightaways and a splashing finish that make these two body slides exhilarating adventures for those brave enough to take them on.

The Columbia and Rio Grande- The two outermost slides in the Rivers of America complex are intended for younger and less-adventurous sliders. They are not as high or as fast as the other rivers, but they still provide a thrilling, soaking and fun-filled race around the twists and turns of their American river namesakes.




Battle Creek (AAP), sponsored appropriately by Kellogg’s of Battle Creek, is the wildest river raft ride to be found anywhere. This is not your grandparents’ “lazy river”- there is nothing lazy about it! Four-person round rafts carry riders down a wild, rapid-filled creek with drenching waterfalls, sudden geysers of water shooting soaking plumes that crash over the rafts, beaver dams that have been breached and send the rafts shooting through the narrow opening at high speeds- this is a battle against nature, and nature always wins!


Riders return safe, but completely soaked- and ready to challenge the Battle Creek again!



James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

Mill Race


There is nothing especially historic here, nothing technologically innovative, nothing especially themed. This is just an old-fashioned, full-speed downhill race to the bottom on four high-speed water slides that stand beside the Foundry Building. The entrance stairs are located inside the building, and several observation windows allow sliders to get a glimpse of “Over the Falls” as they work their way to the top of the stairs in anticipation of the thrill that awaits them as they race against the clock and each other down the Mill Race.


Storm Surge


No water park would be complete without a wave pool, and Green Springs has one of the best with Storm Surge. Located in the center of the Township, Storm Surge has a zero-depth, or “beach” entry on the east end of the pool and descends to a maximum depth of six feet near the wave generator on the west end. Plenty of inner tubes are provided for swimmers to float on, in, or just hold onto as they enjoy the surging waves of Storm Surge.



The Erie Canal


In 1825 the Erie Canal was completed, connecting the Great Lakes to the Hudson River by a system of thirty-four locks, thirty-two aqueducts and three hundred sixty three miles of forty-foot-wide, four-foot deep stone-lined channels. Thousands of immigrants, mostly from Ireland, and hundreds of horses took eight years to carve this canal. It had a major impact on connecting the ports of the east coast, especially New York City, with the grain-producing centers of the Ohio Valley and the Midwest. The opening of the Erie Canal lowered the cost of transporting cargo by 95%, drastically lowering the cost of food throughout the northeastern United States, and stimulated the growth of many of the cities along its route. Though it has mostly been rebuilt and rerouted, the basic concept of the Erie Canal is still a vital part of the New York State Canal System.


In Americana 1900, the Erie Canal lives on as a gently curving lazy river encircling the Storm Surge wave pool and the Winter Garden. Its gentle current passes under seven pedestrian bridges and seven curtains of gently falling rain, with several waterfalls cascading down along the sides and a few stretches of gentle rapids caused by water jets and bubble generators. Instead of boarding canal boats or cargo barges pulled by horses or mules, guests can climb aboard one-or-two-person inner tubes at one of its two access bays and can spend as long as they like floating, relaxing, splashing or getting splashed, and just enjoying a slow, lazy cruise around the heart of Green Springs on the Erie Canal.



James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Dining and Guest Services in Green Springs

Along with the merchandise, locker rooms, etc. previously mentioned as being located in the two entrance buildings, there are several other guest services available to visitors to Green Springs. A fully-attended First Aid station is located in the Casting Building, directly adjacent to the Valley View Food Patio. Besides those located in each entrance building, a series of free-standing lockers are located near the South Entrance, between it and the entrance to Gully Washer.

Several dozen cabanas available for rent stand along the north and south sides of the Erie Canal, facing the Storm Surge wave pool. These cabanas contain a small refrigerator stocked with ice-cold water and soft drinks, a supply of snacks, tables and chairs and two deck chairs. A ceiling fan keeps the cabana comfortable for those who wish to take a break from the Alabama sun. Food and drinks can be ordered for delivery from one of the nearby food locations. These cabanas can be reserved ahead of time with a deposit, but if available can also be rented on the day of visit at the Cabana Reservations Counter located in the South Entrance Building.


There are several quick-service, snack and beverage cart locations scattered throughout the Township offering such treats as popcorn, fresh fruit, ice-cold beverages and frozen treats such as ice cream, frozen bananas and flavored shaved ice (or “Snow Cones”, invented by Samuel Bert in 1919 and first sold at the Texas State Fair), but many visitors will use one of the three permanent dining locations mentioned in the Layout Section of this presentation.

Valley View Food Patio


Between the Main Entrance Building and the Casting Building is the Valley View Food Patio, so named for its location facing the Valley of Ten Thousand Soaks water play area. Tables and chairs with sun umbrellas and large, shady canopies fill this pleasant dining patio, and several counter service food stands offer guests basic meals at reasonable prices. Pizza, burger baskets, wraps, salads and other lunch-type items along with soft drinks, fruit juices and flavored waters are available here.


Erie View Food Patio


Located at the west end of the Foundry Building, between the entrance to Battle Creek and the Mill Race, is the Erie View Food Patio, which is similar in design to its companion Valley View Food Patio and offers the same menu.


Water Works Restaurant


This open-air counter service restaurant overlooks the Storm Surge wave pool, and offers more varied menu options than the two food patios. Along with the other menu choices, it also offers a more complete selection of hot and cold sandwiches, fresh salads, chicken wings and nachos, and is the only location in Green Springs to offer adult beverages such as beers, wines and coolers.

Regardless of where visitors to Green Springs decide to dine, one thing always stands true. Just like the Kenny Chesney song says, “No shirt, no shoes, no problem!” This is a water park- there is no such thing as a dress code here!




James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

Restrooms, or “Water Closets” as they are also nicknamed here, are located in both Entrance Buildings. There are also restrooms, including family restrooms, in the Winter Garden and the Rivers of America buildings.


Receptacles for waste and recycling are located throughout the Township, and are repurposed fifty-gallon metal oil drums.


Steel pipes and reused metal molds have been converted into the dozens of drinking fountains found throughout Green Springs.


Scattered throughout Green Springs are many remnants of both the industrial past of the Township and its later health spa phase. Boilers, metal pipes, massive metal buckets used to pour molten iron and steel, and many other leftover pieces of industrial equipment have been recycled and reused as planters, recrafted as metal sculptures or converted into parts of decorative fountains. Lush bushes and shrubbery, colorful flower gardens, raised beds of succulent plants and shady trees make Green Springs a truly green place.


Summers in Alabama can get hot- VERY hot- and spending the hottest part of the day cooling off in one of the dozens of water rides, pools and attractions found in Green Springs is a great way to beat the heat! From splashing down into one of the Old Swimmin’ Holes, racing down the Mississippi speed slide or gently floating around the Winter Garden on the Erie Canal, an afternoon or even a full day spent in Green Springs Township is sure to be a highlight of any visit to Americana 1900.




James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster





(Optional atmospheric music for Courthouse Square)

To continue our circumnavigation of Americana 1900, visitors leave Green Springs from its Main Entrance and turn right (south) onto Railroad Street. On their left is a massive three-story yellow brick wall with a door at the northern end labeled “Stage Door.” This wide, solid wall, broken only by the stage door and a few plain, solid, utilitarian metal exit doors, is unadorned except by theatrical signs advertising some of the live shows that can be seen throughout Americana 1900. This is the Orpheum Theater, which will be described later. On the right (west) side of the street is a tall wooden fence with a locked gate, masking a utilitarian park services area. Proceeding south on Railroad Street, just past the end of the Orpheum Theater (which is only one story high at the south end) is the back of the Unity Chapel, with one of its magnificent stained-glass windows nearly filling this side of the structure. Across the street, centered where Main Street and Railroad Street meet, is the Harvey House Restaurant- Courthouse Square. Looking straight ahead to the end of Railroad Street is the Courthouse Square/Green Springs Railroad Station of the GC&SF Railroad, with the South Gate of Americana and another tall wooden fence masking a service area to the right.

Railroad Street, while technically part of Courthouse Square, is more of a back alley than a street, a buffer between the informality and fun of Green Springs and the more formal, classic elegance and sophistication of Courthouse Square.


The red bricks that cover the street’s surface and the rough-hewn boards that form the privacy walls around the service areas are in sharp contrast with the solid, stately Harvey House Restaurant or the simple, utilitarian, almost industrial construction of the train station at the end of the street. It is only appropriate that Americana 1900, which celebrates American history and culture, has a back alley, an integral part of nearly every American community.



The Mississippi Territory was founded in 1804 after decades of negotiations between Britain, Spain, the States of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, and about a dozen indigenous tribes of Native Americans. In that year, the area that fifteen years later would become Americana County, Alabama had a population of 17,000 squirrels, 900 deer, 614 rabbits, and more birds than anyone could count. That summer, settlers from the east coast discovered this little piece of Heaven on earth, decided that it would be a nice place to put down roots and start a settlement. By 1805, the squirrel population was down to 14,000, the deer now numbered under 500, and the rabbits, well, rabbits being rabbits, were still doing fine.

The Andersons were the first family in this part of the territory, but they encouraged friends from back home to join them in claiming property here. Soon the Calhouns, the Wilkinsons and the Merediths joined them and started to clear some land for farming. The wildlife population might have been decreasing in numbers, but the human population continued to grow in size, as did their settlements. Log cabins began to appear, then frame houses as lumber mills were established, followed by a few brickyards. In 1817 the Mississippi Territory was divided north-to-south, and the growing settlement founded by the Andersons found itself in the newly-created Alabama Territory. Two years later, Alabama gained statehood and became the 22nd State in the Union.

The population in this region had reached five hundred (not counting the rabbits) and the community leaders petitioned the State of Alabama to be incorporated as Americana County, with the town of Americana as its county seat. The petition was granted, the County of Americana was established, and in 1820 the first Americana County Courthouse was constructed in the center of the town. It was a simple-yet-elegant wooden structure, two stories high with a four-columned portico stretching across the north front of the building, inspired by the Greek Revival movement championed by that most popular of American Presidents, Thomas Jefferson. Many reports of the day complemented its appearance, comparing it favorably to a church.



The log cabins gradually disappeared, sometimes incorporated into larger, more modern homes and businesses. The forest gradually gave way to more farmland, the one-story log homes that faced the newly-named Courthouse Square gave way to one and two-story frame or brick homes, shops, taverns and even offices, for wherever there is a courthouse, lawyers can’t be far behind. A doctor opened his medical practice. A church rose on a corner near the courthouse, its steeple pointing the faithful to God and Heaven. Americana was changing, growing and evolving from a place where struggling to survive and conquer the wilderness was a daily event into a place where the comforts of the early and mid-nineteenth century could be enjoyed and shared as a community.

The peaceful tranquility of life in Americana that was taken for granted by its citizens was soon to be tested by forces beyond their control. 1861. Fort Sumter. The Civil War. The War Between the States. That defining event in American history when a nation divided by strong and conflicting feelings of states’ rights and moral responsibility would decide if it could endure, could finally unite or would destroy itself.

Americana, like many of its families, was torn apart. Brother fought against brother, fathers against sons. For some, loyalty to the State outweighed loyalty to the nation. Others could not bring themselves to rebel against their beloved United States. War took no sides. While the battles missed Americana for several years, the young men of the town were drawn away to fight for their causes, some for the North, some for the South.

A generation was being decimated, but some naive residents imagined that the physical war might bypass their little town, deep in the woods and fields of northern Alabama, a town unimportant to anyone except to those who lived there, and it nearly did- until one evening. It was near the end of the war, and a minor skirmish for a nearby unnamed and unimportant hill brought the war’s fiery presence to Americana. It was never determined where the cannonballs came from- it was really unimportant who fired them. One crashed into the courthouse. Another into the parlor of the Anderson home on the corner of Main and Davis Street, and a third into the kitchen where Dr. Lewis was boiling his surgical tools as he prepared for the influx of wounded soldiers, Union and Confederate, that he was expecting after hearing the sounds of the battle in the distance. The fires from shattered oil lanterns and fireplaces soon engulfed the Courthouse and surrounding buildings, spreading throughout the town until nearly every structure on Courthouse Square and much of the rest of Americana was engulfed in a sea of flame. Survivors described the sound as deafening- the roar of the fire, the sounds of panicked horses, the clanging of bells, the anguished shouts of people trying to extinguish the fires and save their belongings- and each other.

By morning, it was over. The flames still smoldered, but mostly had been replaced with the smell of smoke and death, the sight of charred brick walls with nothing left inside them, of scorched chimneys standing alone, isolated, with no frame house left around them. Somehow, though, one wooden column from the Courthouse remained, its paint blistered on the side closest to where the rest of the building once stood. To those in Americana who survived the conflagration, that single surviving column, scorched and charred, was a sign. Americana must rebuild.

Few families in Americana were spared the same loss that smote nearly every other family in America, North or South. Men who as boys had played together now died together, sometimes at each other’s hands. By the time it was over, the irreplaceable loss of a generation was tallied- over 620,000 casualties, more than in all other American wars combined.

Nine months later, the war was over. The living had buried the dead, the rubble had been cleared, and the survivors of that hellish night began to rebuild their town and their lives. The South may have been defeated, but the spirit of the people could never be conquered. Americana began to rebuild itself.

Another dark period would try the soul of Americana and its people, a time where the destruction wrought by war would almost pale into insignificance and the people of the town would have to face their own inner demons. Another Courthouse would rise and fall in flames, and the phrase “The Crypt of Fire” would haunt the town for generations, but the innate spirit of goodness and enterprise in the people of Americana would eventually be victorious. From the ruins of the war, beautiful two and three-story structures of brick and stone would rise, surrounding the third- and by all accounts most beautiful- Americana County Courthouse, the one that today stands proudly and elegantly in the center of Courthouse Square.

Americana County was born from the beauty and richness of the land. The hard work and dreams of its inhabitants grew it from wilderness into the center of a prosperous community. The strengths of its people were forged by the fires of war and calamity, and from these same fires Americana was reborn as a phoenix, a shining tribute to a people destined to never be defeated by weakness, or fear, or difficulty.


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James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

The actual square that the Americana County Courthouse stands on is bordered by four streets- Main, Davis, Jefferson, and Washington Streets. There are four entrances to the Township. Main Street starts at its western end where it meets Railroad Street, and passes through the south end of the Township to the east where it enters State Fair. A small entrance leads directly onto Main Street from the Theodore Roosevelt Hotel, and is reserved for hotel guests. The fourth entrance is located at the north end of the Square, where South Maple Grove Road meets Jefferson Street.


Before we begin our stroll around the Square, it’s important to understand the historical concept of the town square, especially one in a town that serves as the county seat. The county courthouse was not just the judicial center of a county. The building also housed many if not all of the county offices- treasurer, auditor, county recorder, county commissioners, etc., and thus was always a hub of activity. Many courthouses even had the county jail located in the building, often in the basement. If not in the courthouse itself, the jail was usually located nearby, either directly next to the building or across the street, to facilitate bringing prisoners to court for their hearings. The county law library might be located in the courthouse, and it was natural for the lawyers in the area to have their offices close to the Courts, often in the buildings surrounding the Courthouse Square. The county clerk’s office was where local citizens went to obtain birth certificates, marriage licenses and death certificates. The county courthouse was almost always the largest, most magnificent public building in the county, designed to demonstrate the prosperity of the community and the importance of the government and the judicial system.

Since nearly every county resident would have to visit the Courthouse from time to time, it was advantageous that businesses would open up around it, making it convenient for people to take care of all their business at one time. Retail shops would occupy the first floor of the surrounding buildings, often with residences on the floors above where the business owner lived with his or her family. Other times the upper floors were occupied by offices for lawyers and other professionals, or even meeting space for fraternal organizations such as the Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, or the Freemasons. Often the windows of these upper floors would be decorated with the carefully-stenciled name of a law firm, an insurance agent, or a local savings and loan, or even with lacy curtains and a vase of flowers in the windows of a residential apartment.

After dealing with “official” business with their lawyer or one of the county offices, people could then handle all of their “personal” business at one time- visit the bank, stop into the pharmacy or dry goods store, get a haircut, and perhaps, after a long day of working on the farm, in a small local factory or just cleaning the house, splurge with a night out at a nice restaurant and a show at the local Vaudeville or motion picture theater. The Courthouse Square was the original place to do “one-stop shopping.”


A stroll around Courthouse Square in Americana 1900 is a stroll through the downtowns of over a dozen different communities in America. Every building facade is either an exact recreation of a structure found in an American community’s downtown business area between the years 1880 and 1920, or was directly inspired by it, with alterations made only for the physical needs and constraints of the space available. No “forced perspective” was used in any of the facades. Every structure has a historical plaque on it, with a photograph of the original building inspired by it and a brief history of it. Several of the buildings chosen came from Tiffin, Ohio, the hometown of the Founder of Americana. For example, the Orpheum Theater is adapted from Tiffin’s historic Ritz Theater, a combination vaudeville and movie theater, and the Eagle Barber Shop, Shades of the Past and Teddy’s Bear Fair occupy the 1874 Wisler House Block (also known as the Gibson Hotel by Tiffin natives). Other buildings from Tiffin and from communities across the nation can be found while strolling the sidewalks of Courthouse Square- towns from Indiana, Iowa, Colorado, and many other states have contributed pieces of their community heritage to Americana 1900. A stroll around Courthouse Square is truly a stroll through America’s architectural history.

Since we’re arriving at Courthouse Square from Railroad Street, we’ll proceed on our stroll starting at the west end of Main Street. The entire right side of the street is a series of shops and businesses, with the gate leading to the Theodore Roosevelt Hotel opposite the south Courthouse plaza. Walking east down Main Street we come to the intersection of Davis Street, where the Americana County Jail stands on the corner. Turning left (north) onto Davis Street, past the jail, we pass more retail outlets on our right. At the far end of the street, which ends at the intersection of Jefferson Street, we come face-to-face with the marquee of the Americana Theater, where “A Trip to the Moon” is advertised.

Proceeding west onto Jefferson Street, we pass another shop on our right (The Paper and Ink Store) and a strangely-designed building with an even stranger title, “The Last National Bank and Funeral Parlor”- but more about that later. Crossing Maple Grove Road where it meets Jefferson Street we come to Mary Mac’s Tea Room and The King Arthur Baking Company Store. Here we take one last left turn, heading south onto Washington Street, where on our right we pass a series of retail storefronts leading to another theater marquee, this one for the Orpheum Theater. At the end of Washington Street, where it meets Main Street and where we began our stroll around the square, is a simple but inspiring church, the Unity Chapel.

We have walked completely around Courthouse Square, but never mentioned the magnificent edifice standing majestically in the center, one of the most iconic structures in any theme park in the world. This is the Americana County Courthouse.

The Americana County Courthouse


The Americana County Courthouse is a soaring edifice, three stories high and surmounted by a columned clock tower and majestic golden dome. The exterior of this magnificent Beaux-Arts style structure, with a steel frame and yellowish-golden sandstone exterior, is based on the design of the 1884 Seneca County Courthouse that once stood in Tiffin, Ohio, the county seat of Seneca County and the birthplace of the Founder of Americana 1900. The original courthouse was designed by Elijah Myers, who also designed the Michigan, Colorado and Texas State Capitol buildings. The interior is not a recreation of the original, but is ornamented to imitate the elegant style of it while providing a variety of attractions, guest services and support facilities for Americana 1900.

Entrance plazas lined with comfortable park benches lead to all four sides of the Courthouse. The north and south plazas lead to wide, elegant staircases that climb to magnificent entrances at the second-floor level, flanked by fluted columns supporting huge arches that soar to the top of the third floor and that support a beautiful stone pediment above the carved dentiled cornice that surrounds the entire building just beneath the roof level. The east and west entrance plazas guide visitors to doorways at the ground level, leading them to the central hallway and rotunda of the Courthouse.

Note: the South Plaza is only open to the base of the steps. The South Staircase leads up to the Administrative offices of Americana 1900 and is not open to the general public.


The Rotunda is a breathtaking space rising through the center of the Courthouse from the ground floor up to the dome under the central clock tower above the third-floor level. Elegant wrought iron and brass railings on the second and third-floor level surround this elegant circular open space, which was designed in the original courthouse to improve airflow throughout the building, bring light from the clerestory windows located just below the clock tower into the heart of the building, and most importantly, to convey a sense of drama and majesty to visitors entering what was the most important civic structure in the entire county.


The eye will naturally be drawn up to look at this soaring space, rising through all three floors and finally terminating in an elegant dome high overhead, embellished with a painted mural of allegorical figures entitled, “Justice Presiding Over All Under Her Watchful Benevolent Eye.”


The basement level, also known as the Crypt Level, is accessed via elevator and staircase from the first floor, and contains possibly the most intense, terror-filled dark ride to be found in any theme park in America, “The Crypt of Fire”. This will be described in the Attractions section.

The First Floor (ground floor) of the Courthouse contains the main entrance to “The Crypt of Fire”, elevator and stair access to the Second Floor, restrooms (including family restrooms), rental lockers and the main public offices for Guest Relations, along with other administrative offices.

The Second Floor, accessed inside via elevator or stairs from the First Floor or outside from a flight of stairs leading up to the North Portico from the North Courthouse Entrance Plaza, contains “An American Journey,” a walk-through exhibit showcasing recreations of some of the most important events in our nation’s history. This will be described in the Attractions section.

The Third Floor is not open to the public, and contains administrative offices for Americana 1900. It is accessed from the flight of stairs on the south side of the Courthouse and by private elevator inside the Courthouse.


The Clock Tower is also not open to the general public, but is not just an empty piece of decorative ornamentation on top of the Courthouse. The base of the tower contains a special room, the existence of which is known by few people outside of the Americana senior administration. Its name is not very original- The Clock Tower Room- but it has some of the most beautiful views of Americana to be found anywhere. This private meeting room fills the space between the Corinthian columns that support the four-sided clock level and the golden dome. Floor-to-ceiling windows present a magnificent vantage point for anyone lucky enough to have access to this meeting area, which is usually where the Board of Directors for the Americana Land Company meet. The Chairman of the Board insisted that he always wanted the board to meet here, rather than in a windowless meeting room somewhere away from the park, so that they could never forget what their most important responsibility was- it would always surround them. Wherever they looked, they would see Americana 1900 spread out beneath them.


Above this room, above a four-sided pedimented cornice, is the clock that gives the tower its name, and above it, on one of the highest points in Americana 1900, is the golden dome of the Courthouse, topped with a statue entitled Lady Liberty, a duplicate of the one that stood on top of the original 1884 Seneca County Courthouse in Tiffin, Ohio. Inside this space, between the Clock Tower Room and the dome, hang the forty-seven brass bells of the Frost Memorial Carillon, one of the largest bell carillons in the nation. The console that controls the carillon is located in a small room tucked into the machinery that operates the clock. The bells can be played manually or electronically, and chime either the appropriate portion or all of the “Westminster Chimes” on the quarter-hour. It also is used to play daily concerts.



James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Tomorrow's Episode, "The Courthouse Experiences," will be posted later today due to unforeseen circumstances. The next episode after that will be posted on Friday morning, returning to the regular schedule. Thank you for the amazing support and welcome I've received so far with Americana 1900- I hope to continue earning your approval!

James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

An American Journey


Visitors ascending to the second floor of the Americana County Courthouse via the north Courthouse steps or by elevator or staircase from the first floor will discover one of the most important attractions to be found in all of Americana 1900. This is not a thrill ride or a coaster, but is an attraction that brings the history of America to life. This is “An American Journey,” a self-guided walk-through exhibit taking visitors through a dozen scenes from our nation’s past. This attraction occupies nearly the entire second floor of the Courthouse, and lets visitors witness first-hand some of the most important events of our nation’s rich history, from the advanced cultures of Native Americans to the year 1969. Guests view the Boston Tea Party, the printing of “Common Sense” (the political pamphlet that convinced so many American colonists to support independence from Great Britain), the completion of the transcontinental railroad with the “Golden Spike”, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering the iconic “I Have a Dream” speech among a dozen other important events in our history.



The carefully researched recreations of these scenes, including the sounds and even the smells of the location, make this stroll through our nation’s history an inspirational and memorable American Journey.



The year was 1865. The Civil War, or The War Between the States as it was sometimes called, was over. The Americana County Courthouse, built in 1820, was gone, burned to the ground on September 19th, 1864 by a fire that started when a stray cannonball smashed through a window and shattered an oil lamp, igniting the fuel and setting the stately structure on fire. Only some crumbling brick walls and a single wooden column from the portico miraculously survived the conflagration.

The surrounding community didn’t escape this fate, either. Other rogue cannonballs, none of which were actually aimed at the town but that overshot their intended targets from a nearby inconsequential skirmish, hit other structures surrounding Courthouse Square, starting fires that soon leveled nearly everything in town. By the next morning Americana was just a smoking ruin, a collection of lonely chimneys and empty brick walls...and the single column of the Courthouse.

The Reconstruction Governor installed by the victorious Union forces appointed an acquaintance, a former law school professor by the name of Benjamin D. Wagner, as the Common Pleas Judge for Americana County until such time as the county and state were declared capable of establishing their own local government loyal to the United States. Judge Wagner had never before served as a judge, and had left his position as law professor under "questionable" circumstances, but his family was both wealthy and influential, and money talks- or can buy silence if needed.

What Judge Wagner lacked in judicial experience he more than made up for in greed, avarice and a total lack of basic human morals. He once boasted that he "never met a man he liked" and that he "never heard of an accused person who wasn't guilty of something." Judge Wagner, while corrupt to the core, was not stupid, and he knew that if he was to set himself up as the most powerful man in Americana County he was going to have to play the part of the "great rebuilder" of the county's judicial system.

He had the money to do it, and soon figured that if he spent a little bit of that money now he could soon be acquiring a vast amount of money, along with power and that thing he most desired- revenge. He hated the South and all who had fought for it- why has never been discovered. Maybe there was no reason- he was an evil person, and he was in a position to make the most of that evil inside him. Judge Wagner soon ordered the rebuilding of a new Americana County Courthouse on the site of the former courthouse. It would be a beautiful structure, three stories high and constructed of stone, with a tall dome rising from the center of the Courthouse, a fitting symbol of the reconstruction of the county- with Judge Wagner as its new de facto leader. He even provided much of the funding to finance this new edifice. “It is the least I could do to help the poor citizens of Americana County rebuild their lives,” he often told anyone who would listen. He was also a great actor, a talent that perhaps every corrupt politician must have. Nobody seemed to detect the malicious contempt hidden behind those words.

One change in the new Courthouse from the former one was that the County Jail would be located in the basement of the new building, deep under the new Courthouse to keep the law-abiding citizens safe from the "criminals, cut-throats and hooligans" who might disrupt the new-found peace that the Reconstruction government was going to bring to the county- under the “beneficent” leadership of Judge Wagner.

All seemed well at first. The new Courthouse rose rapidly, providing needed work and cash for many in the town and renewing a sense of civic pride in Americana County. No other county seat nearby was recovering as quickly from the effects of the war, and none had a Courthouse to compare with the beautiful new structure rising in the center of town. Nobody seemed concerned that only a select crew of workers from the Judge's hometown up north were allowed to work in the basement jail section of the building- few outside of the local workers even knew that the select crew existed, and those who did were “encouraged”- both by financial incentives and by the burley, dangerous-looking deputies that would keep the locals away from the jail section- to keep quiet, ignore what they saw and just do their job.

In a little more than a year the new Courthouse was finished, and all agreed that it was a magnificent structure. The dedication ceremonies were also magnificent, with inspiring rhetorical speeches, a band playing patriotic American songs, and tours of the new building- except for the jail in the basement. Residents marveled at the broad staircases, the spacious offices and the stately courtroom with its stained glass ceiling. No room, however, was more elegant or richly appointed than Judge Wagner's own office, tastefully adorned with the finest walnut furniture, desks and bookshelves. If it seemed a bit palatial to the average resident, they accepted it for the mere fact that Judge Wagner had paid for most of the building himself.

Little did they know that Judge Wagner fully intended to make a tidy return on his "investment" in this building and his position.

Life went on in the county, and things gradually settled down from the excitement of the reconstruction and dedication of the Courthouse. Crime was at an all-time low in the county, both because of the extremely efficient (bordering on ruthless) Sheriff that Judge Wagner had brought in (under authority granted him by the Reconstruction Governor of the State) and his band of equally efficient- and ruthless- Deputies, also from "up North", and from Judge Wagner's reputation as a judge who was not above using the maximum sentence allowed for anyone convicted of a crime. Judge Wagner was not about to let the "lawlessness and disrespect for the legal government" that he often inferred was the cause for the War to once again lead to civil unrest.

At first, nobody noticed that nearly all accused criminals were found guilty by Judge Wagner under his authority as a Reconstruction Judge who could pass sentence without the need of a jury if he felt that he could not find enough eligible citizens to serve. Conveniently, since many citizens of the county had sided with the Confederacy he felt that they had not yet proven their loyalty to the United States and therefore were not qualified to serve as jurors. The only accused people who were not found guilty were those who seemed to either have a service that the judge could use or access to considerable finances that were "donated" to some of the "relief charities" that the judge had established to help the "poor, indigent or feeble-minded of Americana County". The majority of those found guilty disappeared into the mysterious County Jail located under the Courthouse, a jail designed to be escape-proof, where the law-abiding citizens were assured that they were being "rehabilitated and taught the errors of their ways" and would soon be returned as law-abiding citizens to the community.

But somehow they never seemed to learn the errors of their ways. They never were rehabilitated. They never emerged from the confines of the jail back into the community. There were occasional reports that an especially difficult or malevolent criminal had been transferred out of the county jail to a state prison, but this was always done late at night so as not to "expose the citizens of Americana County to the sight of one of their own who had gone down the path of lawlessness and evil". The truth was that not one prisoner ever came out of the county jail able to tell about it, or to challenge it when the county government claimed their goods and property to “pay” for their “rehabilitation.”

The poor, indigent and feeble-minded people of Americana County gradually became fewer and fewer in number. It started quietly, and since these people were on the fringe of society and most of the "good, honest, hard-working citizens" made it a point to avoid them at best and ignore them at worst, nobody noticed their absence- or cared. Those few who did notice and did comment on it were soon paid a visit by one of the Sheriff's burley and always ill-tempered deputies, or by the Sheriff himself if they were of more importance to the community. These visits were always at night and were never announced, and after these visits, those who had noticed either stopped commenting about the disappearances altogether or suddenly were gone, along with their families and servants. An article in the local "Americana Tribune" might announce that a certain family had decided to pay an "extended visit to distant relatives up North", but nothing more was ever heard of them again.

The truth of what happened is almost too horrible to imagine. Judge Wagner had created a web of evil unknown in all but the most twisted of fabricated stories. He and his henchmen from up North found in Americana County a community in need of leadership- any leadership- and he provided them leadership that, on the surface, met their needs for a new Courthouse and a new sense of law, order and civic pride. He created a Courthouse to rival the most magnificent legal buildings in the nation. He returned law and order to the county, and eliminated the "riff-raff" and unpleasant people from society. If the "upstanding and law-abiding" people who remained chose to ignore what was happening around them, or were too stupid or scared to realize it, he decided that they deserved what they got, a totalitarian dictator who appeared to be benevolent on the surface but was cruel and violent underneath.

And the "underneath" was located in the basement of the Americana County Courthouse of 1865, in the County Jail, or as it was eventually called by those who discovered its true function, "The Crypt of Fire".

It was a torture chamber. There is no other way to describe it. It was designed by Judge Wagner himself, with the assistance of his Sheriff (whose name was never revealed- he was always simply referred to as "The Sheriff"). It was a place for Judge Wagner to rid himself of those who raised questions about his actions, who challenged him, who were a threat to him, real or perceived, or who simply annoyed him. He hated the poor, the indigent, the feeble-minded. He hated anyone smart enough or arrogant enough to wonder about his motives or actions. He hated everyone, tolerating only those who could provide him a service he desired or needed, or who could provide him funds to replenish what he had spent on this "playground of death" he had built for himself. Judge Wagner was the Devil himself, and he surrounded himself with like-minded "angels of death" whom he paid well and allowed to indulge in their own sadistic passions when he himself wasn't seeing to it that "justice”, especially his own unique brand of justice, was being served.

Some died quickly, almost mercifully. A gunshot to the head. A broken neck. Most, however, were used to satisfy the twisted, sadistic whims of the Judge or his evil minions. Torture devices developed centuries earlier were built and "improved" on by his team of "select workers" who built the Crypt of Fire to be completely soundproof and fitted out with room after room of these devices. The rack and the Iron Maiden were just some of the better-known implements of torture and death that were used. The methods of torture and death seemed endless, and the torturers relished in the creation of new and more horrible ways of ending the lives of their victims while prolonging the torture as long as possible.

The Crypt of Fire operated for nearly a year, unknown by all but those who worked there and died there. The bodies of those who perished in that chamber of horrors were disposed of in deep pits dug in the floor of the Crypt, where what little remained after the Judge and his henchmen were finished with them were covered with lime and dirt from other pits being dug by convicted soon-to-be victims, victims who were digging their own graves.

What happened “that night,” the night when it all fell apart, is still not totally clear. Perhaps a jailor was careless in locking a cell door and a prisoner escaped, overpowered him and freed those prisoners still alive. Perhaps a few townspeople, wise enough and brave enough to confront what they all came to know was happening but had been too afraid to face before, had entered the Courthouse through a carelessly unlocked door. Perhaps God Himself intervened. What is known is that the Judge was in his elegant private office that evening, supposedly working late but more likely enjoying the pleasures of one of the women of leisure who provided one of the "services" he desired and required. A commotion outside his office door alerted him that something was wrong, but when he attempted to leave to ascertain the cause of the commotion he found the door jammed closed and barricaded, and he could not open the door. The smell of smoke began to creep into the office, and he knew he had to escape, but even though the windows on his third-floor office would open, he had bars installed for security over the windows to prevent anyone from entering through them- or escaping. The only way out was down a secret narrow staircase he had installed that went down four flights of stairs to the basement of the Courthouse, leading directly to the Crypt. He raced down the stairs, hoping to then escape from the basement through one of the heavy security doors that led criminals into the Crypt but never out. Once in the Crypt, he found it deserted, with all of his evil henchmen dead and most of them strapped, tied or impaled on the very implements of torture that he had designed himself. The doors were locked and blockaded from the outside- he was trapped, and the smell of smoke was getting stronger.

The Courthouse was on fire- it is not known who started it or where, but even though the exterior walls were of brick and stone the interior walls and furnishings were wood, and gas lines for the gas lights ran through the walls. The entire building was soon engulfed in a raging inferno- all but the basement, the County Jail- the Crypt of Fire. It was ironically fireproof, with brick walls and stone ceiling, but as the fire raged overhead and the flaming contents of the Courthouse collapsed onto it, the stones and brick heated up, and Judge Wagner, the evil creature who had created the Crypt of Fire to be sound-proof and escape-proof, was himself trapped in it, and as he was slowly baked to death in a prison of his own creation the last thing he saw were the ghosts of the dozens, perhaps hundreds of innocent victims he had condemned to horrible deaths coming to welcome him into his own personal hell, a Crypt of Fire where they were his jailors and he was about to spend eternity at their mercy, a mercy no more common than the mercy he showed them in life. Nobody outside of the Courthouse could hear him scream, and if they could have heard those screams, they would not know if they were screams of pain from the heat or screams of terror at the vision of his own hellish eternity that he was seeing.

It took several days for the fire to completely die out. All that was left standing were the charred outside stone walls, a few brick interior walls and what appeared to be a strange brick-enclosed staircase tower leading from what would have been Judge Wagner's office to the basement. The ceiling of the basement had not collapsed, even under the weight of tons of debris from the destroyed Courthouse above it, and as word of what was in the basement was revealed by the escaped survivors of the Crypt of Fire and spread throughout the town, it was decided to never again open the sealed basement torture chamber. The walls from the Courthouse, once the pride of the county, were pulled down and ground into gravel to use for road construction, and the scorched slab of stone that remained, a tombstone for so many citizens of Americana County, was covered over with soil. Attempts to plant grass on the site were fruitless for years. The dark joke around town was that the site was just too close to Hell to let the grass seed sprout- it was just "too hot for anything to grow." Finally, in the Spring of 1876, the Centennial of American Independence, the plot of dirt that for so many years had been nothing but a muddy field in the middle of town suddenly burst forth with life- lush green grass appeared first, then thousands of wildflowers sprouted and filled the center of the town with color and beauty. It was taken as a sign that the past horrors of the site had been mourned long enough, and that it was time to reclaim the site for the living. A church service conducted by all of the area churches was held on the site, a funeral for the dead and even an attempt at forgiveness for those who had caused this tragedy, and the new local government of Americana County announced that a new Courthouse would once again rise on the site, a Courthouse to rival the old one in beauty and would be seen as a guardian for the rights of all people. The basement would remain sealed, and a new County Jail would be built on the corner of Main and Jefferson Street, to symbolize that the law enforcement and the Judiciary branches of government, while always needing to be near each other, must be independent of each other.

The new Americana County Courthouse was dedicated on September 19, 1885, exactly twenty-one years to the day that the original Civil War era courthouse was destroyed. This was to show that Americana County had reached maturity, was taking charge of its own future, and that the horrors of those twenty-one years were over. Since then, Americana County has taken its place as a leader in the march for human rights and justice, as a prosperous home to thousands of proud Americans, and a place that refuses to let the tragedies of the past hold it back from a prosperous future for all.



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