Remember next year to save the last Saturday of June for the Frontier Village Amusement Park Reunion! This year’s Frontier Village Amusement Park Reunion was held on June 27th at Edenvale Park in San Jose. The picnic featured gun fights by the Fall Guys, a display of park memorabilia, a now-and-then tour of Edenvale Park by former park manager, Pat Hanna, a coloring contest for kids, and a prize raffle. Also on display was the recently-found, formerly long-lost wooden Indian statue from the park.
Frontier Village opened its gates on October 21, 1961 in San José on part of the Hayes estate, The park had one powered Mack coaster, the Apache Whirlwind, which cost the park almost $600,000 in 1976. Another favorite ride was the Haunted Lost Dutchman Mine, a dark ride with miners, stalactites, and stalagmites. At Rainbow Falls Fishing kids could catch trout in a stocked pond. There were two car rides, the Antique Cars and Duster Turnpike. There was also a train ride as well as many other rides such as a Ferris wheel and tarantula. These all added to a full day of fun at the park. The park closed in 1980 because of rising land values and competition from nearby Marriott’s Great America which opened in 1976.
All that remains: A portion of the Frontier Village wooden fence is preserved at Edenvale Garden Park.
Today Frontier Village fans actively share memories, photos, and memorabilia online. Be sure to check out
http://www.frontiervillage.net/ where you can read the full history of the park written by ACE member Elliott Fong. There you will find plenty of information on the park as well as a link to the Remembering Frontier Village group on facebook. Incidentally, all of this grew out of a short announcement in our ACE Northern California newsletter that Elliott was planning an informal get-together to commemorate the memory of the park. And the rest is more history.
The Fall Guys, including original members of the gunfighters at Frontier Village, perform at the Remembering Frontier Village picnic .
— Emi and Matthew Pearce; photos: Emi and Matthew Pearce