By Dominic Garcia
GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– A hillside amusement park will be closing for good this weekend.
Heritage Square Amusement Park was the last vestige of a once-thriving entertainment venue.
For employees like Dakota Murdock, this week has been an emotional one.
“I started here operating all these kiddie land rides… that was two seasons. Then I moved down to our go-kart track, and then became a manager and now I’m one of two general managers here,” she told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.
Nancy Strain grew up coming to the park and wanted to get in one last visit with her kids.
“It’s totally nostalgic for me. I just remember doing this when I was a kid. I remember the go karts the most,” she told CBS4.
Saturday, June 30 will be the last day. Comments on the amusement park’s Facebook page contain messages of nostalgia and sadness.
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.
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.
The closure comes as part of a settlement between the landlord and Bader.