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  NOT IN KANSAS

You Can Rent Dorothy’s House In The Very Creepy And Very Abandoned “Land Of Oz” Theme Park

photoz054In 1970, a Wizard of Oz theme park called The Land of Oz opened its doors to the public in the resort town of Beech Mountain, North Carolina.

In 1980, it closed. Good run, guys.

And since it closed 34 years ago, the park hasn’t really been altered much.

Which means that the abandoned park scores wonderfully high on the creepy meter.

And to make it even more eerie, the original designers were told not to watch the iconic film and instead base everything off the book. So all the elements are familiar — you can walk down the yellow brick road to Emerald City, visit the scarecrow and the tin man, and escape the Wicked Witch of the West, but everything looks slightly “off” from how you’d expect.

The park opened as a big success, attracting 20,000 visitors in 1970. But it also suffered from some foreboding struggles.

A few months before it opened, The Land of Oz’s owner, Grover Robbins, died suddenly. Grover was more concerned with creating a special experience for guests than he was with maximizing profits, and his benevolent attitude expired alongside him.

photoz743The Real Estate market began to slump around Beech Mountain, and commercial demands were hoisted onto the park that it couldn’t keep up with. Morale began to sink.

Then on December 28, 1975, Emerald City burned. And not metaphorically — it actually burned down, destroying among other things a displayed dress that Judy Garland wore as Dorothy in the 1939 film. There remains to this day speculation that the fire was started by disgruntled former employees.

Doors finally closed for good five years later in 1980, and the park fell into disrepair. Trespassers vandalized sets and props, and natural elements chipped away at the abandoned attraction.

But you can’t just ignore an Oz theme park once its been constructed. About 10 years later, the owners of the land began to do some basic restoration of dilapidated portions of the park, and in the late ’90s, former employees hosted a reunion there called Autumn at Oz.

This eventually became an annual event open to the public — it now hosts upwards of 8,000 people each year looking to have their very own Land of Oz experience.

And the best part? You can rent out the park and stay in Dorothy’s house, which includes a basement intended to make visitors feel the experience of a tornado. Because why wouldn’t it?

Here’s some more photos of the very uncanny Land of Oz:

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Photography by Brett & Jessica

By:           Dan Tracer
On:           Jul 13, 2014
Tagged: , , , , , , ,

  • 11 Comments
    • throwslikeagirl
      throwslikeagirl

      Very cool and creepy to read about. I love this kind of stuff. Thanks, Queerty!

      Jul 13, 2014 at 4:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tardis
      tardis

      Why is the Wizard of Oz such a gay icon in the gay community, again?

      Jul 13, 2014 at 4:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ShowMeGuy
      ShowMeGuy

      @tardis: Seriously? The overall theme of being one’s true self and living that truth in a world where it is okay……doesn’t scream “yooHOOOO over here, check this out” to gay people.
      You must be new.

      Jul 13, 2014 at 7:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zekester
      Zekester

      The park must not have been completely true to the book if the pictures above are any reflection since they’re silver slippers in the book instead of ruby slippers as they are in the movie.

      Jul 13, 2014 at 9:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tony G
      Tony G

      I lived in South Carolina and visited this park in the mid-seventies. I thought it was great. The rest of the family especially my teen-aged sister was not impressed.

      Part of this park’s problem was, Beech Mountain is not near anything. If you weren’t already in area, it took hours to get there on winding mountain roads.

      Jul 13, 2014 at 10:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tardis
      tardis

      @ShowMeGuy: Well, that put my in my place.

      Jul 14, 2014 at 12:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cobalt Blue
      Cobalt Blue

      @ShowMeGuy: @tardis: C’mon guys…Aren’t we all ‘ Friends of Dorothy ‘?

      Jul 14, 2014 at 3:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • lykeitiz
      lykeitiz

      A couple years ago I spent a week in Beech Mountain. A friend’s father has a house there. I had never heard of this park, and it wasn’t until after we got home my friend said: “Oh, they have this closed down Wizard of Oz park there. We should have gone to see it.”

      I hope a house falls on her.

      Jul 14, 2014 at 1:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bobbyjoe
      bobbyjoe

      I visited this park a couple of times when I was a kid and remember loving it. I was obsessed with Oz (still am)… this should have been my parent’s first clue!

      If I remember correctly, Dorothy’s house was the way you entered the rest of the park. You walked into a house where everything was normal, walked through a few of Auntie Em and Uncle Henry’s rooms, then walked into the “storm cellar” where there were films playing of tornadoes, and you came out the other side into what looked like the exact same house, but now the rooms were all slanted and wrecked, and when you walked out the door, the Wicked Witch of the East’s feet were sticking out from under the (now crashed) front porch. Pretty creative and fun idea, particularly considering the special effects limitations of the time!

      Jul 14, 2014 at 5:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • scott609
      scott609

      @ShowMeGuy: I thought it was about learning to make a family wherever you are, even if your relatives don’t understand or accept you? You can always find new friends and make a new “home”, there is somewhere you belong.

      Jul 14, 2014 at 10:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tony G
      Tony G

      @bobbyjoe:

      That’s how I remember it too. My reaction to this park should have been parent’s 412th clue.

      Jul 14, 2014 at 10:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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