If you grew up in the New York metro area in the era before air travel became affordable to the working class, you may still cherish childhood memories of family car trips to various primitive amusement parks located in the Adirondacks. The low-tech prototypes for an industry that would become far more sophisticated in later decades, they sprang up in the 1950s in clusters near Lake George and Lake Placid, with names that ring dimly in memory: Storytown, Gaslight Village, Frontier Town, Santaland.
The granddaddy of them all, built in 1949 in Wilmington, near Whiteface Mountain, was Santa’s Workshop. It was small and quaint and sort of tacky, with a literal frozen pole as its centerpiece. But moles working for Walt Disney were drawn there to study up on how to create a themed tourist attraction, taking what they learned back to Anaheim. The site was eventually awarded its own zip code as the town of North Pole, NY.
This oldest-of-all American theme park still exists, though it closed for one summer in 2001 and seemed in danger of disappearing forever. Local fans rallied to the support of Santa’s Workshop, however. The dramatic tale was captured in a documentary titled North Pole, NY, which will be screened at 7:45 p.m. on Friday, November 30 at Time & Space Limited in Hudson. The filmmakers will be on hand for a discussion afterwards. Tickets cost $9 general admission, $7 for students and TSL members. To reserve, visit https://bit.ly/2zdHLj2.
North Pole, NY
Friday, Nov. 30
Time & Space Limited
434 Columbia St.