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Frontier Village was a 39-acre (16 ha) amusement park in San Jose, California, that operated from 1961 to September 1980. It was located at 4885 Monterey Road and Branham Lane. The park was located on what is now Edenvale Garden Park, next to the Hayes Mansion, and was once part of the sprawling Hayes Family Estate.
In 1973 the part owner and co-creator of Frontier Village wanted to expand the park. Without the necessary funds to expand, he sold Frontier Village to Rio Grande Industries for US$1.7 million. The new owners were ready to start expansion but hit a road block with the surrounding neighborhood.
When the park opened in 1961, it was surrounded by undeveloped land, but by 1973 the park was surrounded by urban sprawl. The new neighbors of Frontier Village didn't want any expansion and fought the park development plans. Lawsuits from nearby homeowners coupled with lower than expected Park revenues, skyrocketing San Jose land values, and competition from nearby Marriott's Great America signaled the end for the little park. With the high property values, Rio Grande could make more money selling off the land to developers than it could by running the park.
In 1980, the undeveloped land and Frontier Village itself was sold to a land developer, the Bren Company. They in turn held a public auction for all rides, buildings, and lumber that made up Frontier Village. On its final days, it held a special event titled "The Last Roundup". The park closed its gates for the last time on September 28, 1980.
All the buildings were removed and San Jose's Edenvale Garden Park now exists at the former location of the amusement park. Little is recognizable from its days as an amusement park, but items such as concrete boulders from the artificial river remain half-buried.
Some signage and ride vehicles have remained in the hands of private collectors, while other vehicles were stored at the nearby Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, to be later sold[when?] at auction.[clarification needed]
Remembering Frontier Village
Since 2001 former employees and fans have held a reunion each summer at the Edenvale Garden Park, to reminisce about the park. The picnic always falls on the last Saturday in June.
A residential development just west of Edenvale Garden Park is named "Frontier Village".
Shaughnessy McGehee of Campbell, California is one of Frontier Village's biggest fans. He is in the process of creating a miniature version of the park in his own backyard. Currently he and his family open up the backyard to Halloween visitors. To date, he has built miniature versions of the Silver Dollar Saloon, General's Store, and Schoolhouse, with more to come. Some of Shaughnessy's most notable memorabilia are the Crazy Horse, three of the eight Antique Autos (with his most prized being the Yellow Maxwell), the Frontier Village lettering from the front entrance of the park, and the original Silver Dollar Saloon doors. In Shaughnessy's spare time, he spends time on "Remembering Frontier Village" and the related Gunfighter re-enactments, which were a popular park attraction.
Rides and Attractions
- Antique Autos
- Apache Whirlwind
- Burro Pack Train
- Ferris Wheel
- Frontier Village Railroad - One Train is now said to be in operation at Burkes Junction Mall in Cameron Park, CA.
- Indian Jim's Canoes
- Lost Dutchman Mine Ride
- Spirit of Kitty Hawk (Bisch-Rocco Flying Scooters)
- Old 99 Train Ride
- California Street (Dapper Dan's, Last Chance Casino, Shoe & Spike)
- El Sito Mysterio
- Front Street (Birthday Party Corral, Games, Hunter's Paradise Shooting Gallery, Ice Cream Gazebo, Skeeball)
- Indian Island (Archery, Fort Far West, Indian Island Stage)
- Main Street (Arcade, Cantina Murieta, Gunfights, Indian Goods, Marshal's Office, Picture Palace, Silver Dollar Saloon, Sweet Shop, Trading Post)
- Nevada Street
- Petting Zoo Island
- Reserved Company Picnics
- Rainbow Falls Trout Fishing
- Sagebrush Theatre
- School House Museum
- "Fans celebrate heyday of former S.J. theme park" by Connie Skipitares, Mercury News, June 25, 2006
- Hartlaub, Peter (2010-08-24). "Frontier Village: Old West park preserved". San Francisco Chronicle (Frank J. Vega). p. E-1. Retrieved 2011-01-16. "The father of four teenagers has spent much of the past decade rebuilding Frontier Village"
- Skipitares, Connie (2006-11-07). "Dad builds own Frontier Village". San Jose Mercury News (MediaNews Group). Retrieved 2011-01-16. "He built a scaled-down version of the park in the back yard of the Campbell home where he grew up and where he and his family now live."
- Remembering Frontier Village .net
- Frontier Village at Defunct Amusement Parks
- San Jose Public Library's California Room archive's Frontier Village Digital Collection
- Frontier Village, now Edenvale Garden Park is at Coordinates: