Deep in the woods of Baltimore, a fairytale castle sits empty and abandoned, its battlements and turrets overgrown with leaves. Elsewhere, murals are daubed in graffiti, and a gingerbread cottage slowly crumbles and rots away. Not so long ago, this was one of the region’s top tourist attractions, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Today, the Enchanted Forest has all but disappeared.
Back in the 1950s, America’s entertainment industry, worth billions today, was just kicking into gear. World War Two was over, and servicemen were returning home eager to start families. Meanwhile, the economy was growing, and more Americans than ever found they had bigger disposable incomes.
As families started spending more money on entertainment, canny businessmen began opening theme parks to cater to their needs. And just one month after Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California, another, more low-key, attraction launched thousands of miles away on America’s eastern coast.