Former Wichita amusement park items find new homes

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - With hopes fading that someone will reopen the Joyland amusement park in Wichita, the owner has begun selling and donating some items enjoyed by visitors to the park for more than 60 years.

Park owner Margaret Nelson Spear announced last week that the park’s merry-go-round will be donated to Botanica Gardens in Wichita. And the Historic Preservation Alliance of Wichita and Sedgwick County began moving six items that it hopes to restore for future use, The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/1jB5bAT ).

The items had been in storage on the park grounds since it closed in 2006. They included an animated Louie the Clown sign, which stood at an entrance. The artifacts will be moved to another storage area for now but Greg Kite, president of the preservation group, said they will be restored.

“We’ve gathered up these artifacts to preserve them,” Kite said. “We don’t want them to be scattered across the country.”

Besides the clown sign, the alliance also purchased the park’s entrance sign, a red bumper car, a stagecoach, an 18-foot Mother Goose shoe and the original roller-coaster ticket booth. The group paid $22,000 for the items in 2010.

The preservation alliance wants to display the Joyland items along with other historic pieces it owns at a museum it would like to open someday, Kite said.

“We left them here in storage hoping that someone would come forward and preserve the park,” Kite said.

That hasn’t happened and Spear said she decided to start moving the items because she grew tired of watching them deteriorate from weather and vandalism. She hopes to eventually sell the 40 acres of land.

Joyland first opened in 1948 and moved to its current location in 1949.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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