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artist's rendering showng a map of Magic Mountain with it's planned amusement rides and themed parks
Plans for the 1959 Magic Mountain amusement park – Golden History Museum collection

Magic Mountain was a short-lived attempt to recreate Disneyland in Golden, Colorado. It opened in 1959, closed the following year, and stood empty for the next decade. In 1969, it was purchased by Steven Arnold, a real estate developer.

Arnold had a different vision for the ersatz Victorian village. He didn’t want to build an amusement park; he wanted to establish an arts and crafts venue, with individual artists renting studios and selling their goods.

In January of 1971, Golden City Council approved rezoning of Heritage Square to allow limited manufacturing facilities. The request was made on behalf of two craft groups, including one that made ice cream. Councilman Frank Leek expressed the fear that this change might attract “an undesirable ‘hippie element.'”

postcard showing two views of the Heritage Square building and an old pickup truck saying "Artisans Marketplace"
Heritage Square during the “Artisans Marketplace” era

53 Years Ago
The May 20, 1971 Golden Transcript announced that a candle factory and a silversmith were getting ready to open their doors to the public. Eventually, they were joined by a glass blower, a blacksmith, a leather worker, a potter, and several other artisans.

Google Satellite image showing the Heritage Square property and the adjacent quarry

Arnold’s company declared bankruptcy in 1984 and the property was eventually purchased by the quarry next door.

Heritage Square amusement park, train, go-karts, bumper boats, stores, and alpine slide

The quarry allowed Heritage Square to continue for three more decades, and in that time many tenants occupied the grounds and buildings, including an amusement park, alpine slide, miniature railroad, the long-running Heritage Square Opera House, and many stores and restaurants. The entire complex was closed by the property owners in 2015.

drone photo of the former Heritage Square - path of the former alpine slide is still outlined on mountain
Mostly-vacated Heritage Square property in 2020 – Patrick Klein

Thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!

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