View of the Original Storyland Entrance
Home Abandoned Abandoned Storyland Park in Schellsburg Pennsylvania

Abandoned Storyland Park in Schellsburg Pennsylvania

by Rachel
7 comments

Note: Storyland is located on posted, private property and trespassing is strictly forbidden. Enjoy the trumpeter and statues that can be seen from the road from exactly that — the road.

Storyland Road Sign

A view of the trumpeter greeting visitors at the entrance of Storyland.

I’ve visited a lot of amusement parks over the years. While I love the historic value and unique rides that can be found at the amusement parks of today, the one’s I truly lament are the ones that closed long before I had the chance to visit. One of these is Storyland in Schellsburg, just outside of Bedford, PA. 

Unlike many parks which disappeared without a trace to make way for shopping centers or other development, Storyland didn’t go quietly into the night. 

Vintage Storyland Advertisement

This vintage advertisement from Storyland shows the trumpeter as well as the Old Lady in the Shoe.

Instead of being immediately torn down, the story book statues remained hidden in the woods, silently reminding the nearby Lincoln Highway travelers of what one was. Being the amusement park and abandoned site enthusiast that I am, I spotted this defunct park when I was quite young (most likely a foreshadowing of things to come in my life!). 

For years while traveling along Route 30 on the way to vacation with my family I would look for these familiar Storyland statues. Those and the Ship Hotel began to feel like old friends. 

Flash forward 20 years. The Ship Hotel has burned to the ground but Storyland is still there. The current owner, which is the daughter of the gentleman who founded the park, has fixed up the crumbling statues and given them a fresh coat of paint. My fascination with amusement parks, particularly the ones of yesteryear, hasn’t waned either. In fact, I just finished up a book about some of Western Pennsylvania’s lost amusement parks. I got the Storyland bug again and wanted to explore the history of this somewhat enigmatic park some more. 

The History of Schellsburg’s Storyland Amusement Park

Storyland opened in the 1950s when storybook parks and roadside attractions were popular. A far cry from the major theme parks of today, these parks were geared toward the Baby Boomers to enjoy. These were often situated off of main highways as they were designed for automobile traffic as opposed to their trolley park predecessors. 

 

View of the Original Storyland Entrance

This is what the original entrance to Storyland looked like with the White Castle, two small turrets by the road, and the Pied Piper or trumpeter. The castle, unfortunately, has been torn down. It appears that the Three Bears may also have had a house behind the castle as well?

Castle at Storyland

This shows another view of the original Storyland castle

Storyland featured an impressive facade with an 18-foot trumpeter or Pied Piper (it depends on how you interpret it) as well as a sprawling White Castle. Inside the gates of the castle some of the most beloved nursery rhyme characters beckoned. 

A drawing of some of the structures at Storyland

This vintage advertisement drawing depicts some of the structures that were able to be found at Storyland.

Old Lady in the Shoe at Storyland

The Old Lady in the Shoe is one of the few sculptures that can still be seen from the road when the leaves are off the trees.

Humpty Dumpty on the Wall at Storyland

Humpty Dumpty is looking pretty scary has this little girl looks on. This attraction was also one of the ones that can still be seen from the road if you look carefully.

Gingerbread House Storyland

This sweet looking gingerbread house also doubled as a concession stand. Right behind it stood an enormous gingerbread man as well.

Old MacDonald's Barn at Storyland

Old MacDonalds Barn at Storyland held real farm animals that children could pet. It was also where the Cow that Jumped Over the Moon nursery rhyme display was.

Dwarf in Mine at Storyland

I’m guessing this was supposed to be one of the Seven Dwarfs from Snow White as he is working in a mine. I am not sure where this was located in the park.

While not a large park by any stretch of the imagination, the park had statues of the Old Lady in the Shoe, Humpty Dumpty, the Three Bears, Old MacDonald’s Farm, and my favorite, a giant gingerbread man. There was also a school house, gingerbread house which doubled as a concession stand, and a big blue whale with an open mouth. 

Brochure from Storyland in Schellsburg

Brochure from the now defunct Storyland

According to a brochure I found on Ebay (a must-purchase for me!) live animals were a large part of Storyland. Mary’s little lamb, Bambi, and the Three Little Pigs were some of the animals that could be found at Storyland. 

Decline and Desertion

Despite all of the fun and all of the memories made at Storyland, the inevitable eventually happened in the 1980s. The general public’s entertainment tastes changed and storybook parks fell out of favor. The turnpike was built which bypassed large parts of the Lincoln Highway. Attendance dropped off and eventually the park closed its gates for good. 

The sense of nostalgia is very strong and people are still very curious about Storyland. Those who can remember going there as a child want to share their memories and those who never had the chance to visit can’t help by be curious about the defunct Storybook park in the woods. 

Despite your curiosity or sense of nostalgia, do not try taking a walk down memory lane at the old Storyland. The old park is located on private property which is occupied by the owners. It is posted and you will find yourself in a heap of trouble. 

However, if you stop along Route 30 sometime when the leaves are off the trees and you have a camera with a decent telephoto lens (or binoculars) you can still see the remnants of the park.

The old lady and the shoe is easily visible right above the entrance. Note the no trespassing sign.

The giant whale, the gingerbread house, jack-in-the-box, and Humpty Dumpty are all visible

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater’s House is visible. Note another No Trespassing sign.

The three bears are sitting out in the open. This is behind where the walls of the original castle would have been.

The large whale, gingerbread house, and a horse are visible in this shot.

The three bears and a cottage are visible. The castle would have been in the foreground at one point which is why the bears aren’t visible in any of the early postcards.

Old MacDonald’s farm. The three bears can be seen to the left as well as a small building to the right. The Cow Jumped Over the Moon display is gone.

The schoolhouse and jack-in-the-box are visible in this shot

My favorite, the giant gingerbread man, is visible behind the country store which is now on the property as well. The gingerbread house is the one with the red roof.

 

If, however, you want to explore a very similar storybook park to Storyland, visit Storybook Forest at Idlewild and SoakZone just down the Lincoln Highway in Ligonier. Storybook Forest is one of just a handful of remaining operating storybook parks and is absolutely worth the visit.

While you are here, check out some of these other interesting articles on things that “once were” …

https://www.thirdstopontheright.com/the-abandoned-penn-aire-motel-in-the-city-of-motels/

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7 comments

Kim solo February 6, 2020 - 2:53 am

Oh how sad why not reopen it or make it a drive thru park as the Lincoln highway has gotten so much attention lately it could be an attraction again for travelers that are interested in following the highway

Reply
Stayce February 6, 2020 - 10:57 pm

Is the tall Mother Goose still there? She was really scary to me!

Reply
Rachel February 7, 2020 - 11:59 am

I don’t recall there being a Mother Goose. Are you sure you aren’t thinking of the one at Gettysburg’s Fantasyland?

Reply
Debbie M. Benedict February 7, 2020 - 7:20 am

I was a fortunate one that can say say that I had been to Storyland when I was younger & can remember it well. The people (next generation) that had owned Storyland then opened a little craft store right on rt 30 at the old entrance of Storyland for many years… Now seeking time to enjoy their family, they have closed that as well. Both Storyland & the craft store are missed by many !!
Also remember going thru the Ship Hotel many times as a child, going up to the top deck to peer thru the binoculors to see the beautiful mountains !

Reply
Irene ( Cepelones ) Butcher February 7, 2020 - 9:58 pm

I am from and still live in Southern Maryland….. I’m 60 now….I went there on a school trip in Elementary School….I loved it !!…….I took my oldest son and 2 of my nieces there many times when they were young….I remember it so well !! I wish they would re- open it,…with advertising and word of mouth….they should do pretty good….I think that they would be surprised !!! I’d take my Grandchildren there !!!! Thanks for the memories ♥️😊

Reply
JoAnn Tuite May 11, 2020 - 1:45 pm

It is not abandoned. It is owned by a family that lives there. They have their houses on the property. It is not open to the public because it would be to expensive to bring it up to state codes for a park.

Reply
Dwayne October 2, 2020 - 11:12 pm

My grandpap would take us there to talk with the owner. I was always told he was a relative of ours.

Reply

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