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The following facts show the parallels between Boston’s Pleasure Island and New York’s Freedomland.
  • Both were designed by Marco Engineering of Los Angeles.
  • Many of the directors of Pleasure Island, Inc. were also on the Board of Directors of Freedomland, Inc.
  • Freedomland was built jointly by Turner Construction of New York, New York and Aberthaw Construction of Boston. Aberthaw built Pleasure Island.
  • Both parks were built on reclaimed land close to a major city.
  • Both parks were built off Rt. 95. (Rt. 128 in Boston and New England thruway in New York)
  • Both parks opened their first season with general admission and separate tickets for attractions.
  • Both parks switched to a P.O.P policy for their second seasons. (Pay one price - all rides and shows were free)
  • Personnel training was supervised by Van Arsdale France from Marco for both parks. (France left the Disney Company for a short period to work on both Marco parks.)
  • Pepsi sponsored the saloons at both parks.
  • Arrow Development built many of the attractions, drive you own cars, dark ride, etc. for both parks.
  • Outside talent was introduced for the second season for both parks. Many of the same acts performed at both parks i.e. The Three Stooges, Ricky Nelson, Lassie, The Famous Hannaford Circus, local Boston TV cowboy star Rex Trailer, and Dion DiMucci, among many others.
  • Freedomland opened June 19, 1960 for its first season. Pleasure Island opened June 18, 1960 for its second season.
  • Both parks had working farms.
  • Both parks had burros, stagecoaches, petting zoos, and many other four legged friends.
  • Both parks had steam locomotive narrow gauge excursion trains leased to the parks from Edaville Railroad in South Carver, Massachusetts.
  • Edaville’s Monson number three engine ran at Pleasure Island for their first season before going to Freedomland for its five year run.
  • All three of C.V. Wood’s Disneyland type parks, designed by his company Marco Engineering- Magic Mountain in Denver, Pleasure Island and Freedomland were open for the 1960 season. Magic Mountain folded at the end of the 1960 season, Freedomland at the end of the 1964 season and Pleasure Island at the end of the 1969 season.
  • All three of Wood’s parks had huge cost overruns and financial problems from the beginning.
  • All three parks changed ownership before finally closing (Pleasure Island had four different owners in eleven seasons.)
  • All three parks were designed by former employees of Walt Disney Studios or Disneyland among others.
  • Original buildings still exist at the Magic Mountain site in Golden, Colorado.
  • Buildings and pieces of the parks, both Pleasure Island and Freedomland, reside at Clark’s Trading Post in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
  • Edaville’s locomotives, which operated at both parks, now reside at train museums in Maine.
  • Both former park sites in the Bronx, New York and Wakefield, Massachusetts have been recycled for commercial use.
  • Pleasure Island’s site is now a suburban office park with one twelve story apartment building sitting on its parking lot site.
  • Freedomland is home to Bay Plaza Shopping Center with Freedomland’s parking lot occupied by part of the huge Co-op City apartment complex.
  • Both Freedomland and Pleasure Island share a piece of America’s 1960s pop culture. Enjoy their history!

Thank you,

Bob McLaughlin
President of Friends of Pleasure Island.