Enchanted Forest

Ellicot City, Maryland, USA

Closed 1995

The Disappointed Tourist: Enchanted Forest, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The Enchanted Forest was a nursery rhyme-themed amusement park on the Baltimore National Pike that opened in 1955 and was intended to appeal to families with small children. It was notable for being integrated from the day it opened, unlike many other contemporaneous facilities. After its closure in 1995, the newly formed Friends of the Enchanted Forest attempted to reopen the park. Later, a new group, the Enchanted Forest Preservation Society, focused on saving the structures, moving several to nearby Clark’s Elioak Farm for display. The owner of the site, Kimco Realty Group demolished the remaining buildings. The painting is based on an image from Wikipedia.

I was very young when we went there, five or younger, and I was in awe. It was like stepping into another world, magical and glamorous. I was transported to a place of possibility as I felt simultaneously scared and delighted. In my memory I am holding tight onto the hand of one of my parents or older siblings, peeking out from behind them. The beauty was overwhelming. Eva L.