GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) — A hillside amusement park announced Monday the business’s doors would be closing for good in less than week.
Heritage Square Amusement Park was the last vestige of a once-thriving entertainment venue.
Saturday, June 30 will be the last day. Comments on the amusement park’s Facebook page contain messages of nostalgia and sadness.
“It’s been a local family mecca for a long time,” said Nathan Richie, director of the Golden History Museum. “People have many associations with the place.”
Originally conceived as a Denver-area Disneyland, the park grew from the dreams of Walter Francis Cobb and John Calvin Sutton in the late 1950s. The pair purchased 600 acres at the foot of Apex Gulch southwest of Golden and incorporated the name ‘Magic Mountain’ for the project. They even hired former Disneyland artists and engineers to design and build it.
“There was a ride that looked a lot like the Jungle Cruise,” Richie said of the team’s plans, “but it had a cowboys-and-Indians theme. On a boat, animatronics, shoot-outs…”
Magic Mountain included a small tow-roped ski area, one of the nation’s first to use artificial snow.
Eventually scaled down, it opened in 1960 as the first theme park outside California. And, due to financial difficulties, it operated less than one full season.
The site sat vacant until the Woodmoor Corporation purchased it in 1970 and re-opened it a year later as Heritage Square.
Ownership changed several times, as did the tenants and vendors.
In 2015, the property’s manager, a subsidiary of Martin Marietta, announced a closure of everything but the amusement park.
The amusement park owner, Alan Bader, said at the time, “We have no intention of closing.” He even expressed hope then for expanding the amusement park.
Richie said a soon-to-open exhibit at the Golden History Museum will feature drawings from the original Magic Mountain construction plans.
“It’s interesting that feet away is one of the oldest known human settlements” in the state of Colorado, he said, referring to a current archaeological dig on the Magic Mountain hillside. “That whole site has been popular for literally thousands of years.
“I have no doubt it will rise again.”