PDA

View Full Version : Dog Patch


preacherman
03-31-2007, 07:59 PM
Does anyone know how they are doing with the renovation of Dogpatch south of Harrison on highway 7?
They were working on it last fall.

OOPS - didn't mean to use the thumbs down icon! Can't change it?

CHRISTISAM2001
03-31-2007, 08:10 PM
I didnt know they were renovating it...

Critter
03-31-2007, 08:13 PM
Someone told me at work that they saw they were cleaning things up around there too. I would like to know what they are doing.

preacherman
03-31-2007, 08:13 PM
When we were there last Nov. a crew was reroofing the building at the top of the incline and they said that new roofs were on buildings in the park.

pamlet
03-31-2007, 09:30 PM
We went there twice when I was a kid and LOVED it... It really was a beautiful theme park .. and so much fun!

CHRISTISAM2001
03-31-2007, 09:51 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogpatch_USA

This is all I could find when I www.blingo.com a search for Dogpatch usa.

More links.....
http://http://www.dogpatch.8m.com/

http://uneekonline.com/re/main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=91&g2_GALLERYSID=d89f79e64b42ebddad8a75a6ef5b7fa1

preacherman
03-31-2007, 09:57 PM
Thanks Christi - I didn't think to see what Wiki had on it. We have some pictures of it from our trip down there too. We were so excited to see it again even though not used. We had taken my Dad many years ago because he loved that kind of stuff.
Lynda

Stvshll
04-01-2007, 06:58 AM
I had heard it was going to be a recreational spot for motorcyclists. I think they are having rallies there and some live band entertainment. That was what I heard about a year ago so plans could have changed by since then.

preacherman
04-01-2007, 02:08 PM
I had heard it was going to be a recreational spot for motorcyclists. I think they are having rallies there and some live band entertainment. That was what I heard about a year ago so plans could have changed by since then.

Yes, there is a motorcycle club at a convention center and motel on the top of the hill. Are you refering to them using the old incline building too? And the park (log cabins) down below?

Branson Bluesman
04-01-2007, 02:56 PM
The last I heard, it was basically a ghost town...
http://www.undergroundozarks.com/dogpatch.html

preacherman
04-01-2007, 03:33 PM
The last I heard, it was basically a ghost town...
http://www.undergroundozarks.com/dogpatch.html

The "underground" that you posted here is the one that gave us the idea to try to search it out. Then when we got there we were surprised that we could see it from the road. Here are the pictures we took. Of course, we didn't trespass to go into the buildings like "underground" does. Really liked their pics but of course was depressing.

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q119/pattonb/Copyofdgpch6.jpg

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q119/pattonb/Copyofdgpch13.jpg

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q119/pattonb/Copyofdgpch12.jpg

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q119/pattonb/Copyofdgpch11.jpg

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q119/pattonb/Copyofdgpch3.jpg

lucyann
04-01-2007, 04:41 PM
Is this what you're looking for?

http://www.hubinfo.com/

preacherman
04-01-2007, 04:49 PM
Is this what you're looking for?

http://www.hubinfo.com/

Yes, that is the motorcycle center and the "incline railway" building for the old Dog Patch is on the same hill top but it's not one of these buildings.
Thanks for checking!
Lynda

jbzmom
04-01-2007, 06:49 PM
In February the Arkansas ran an article about Dogpatch and what is going on. In order to look at archived articles, you have to subscribe, but I found where someone posted it. I know if is long but here is the article than ran on February 19, 2007.

MARBLE FALLS — Randal Phillips walks from the Hub Motel to its neighboring convention center, describing improvements along the way, his wife and business partner, Debbie, at his side.

He points out the five buildings they own atop a hill off Arkansas 7 Spur north of Jasper and just south of the Newton-Boone county line. He and Debbie alternately recount some of the work they’ve done to the buildings.

“This property had been vacant and left run down for so long, it took us awhile just to kind of get it where we could actually open it,” Debbie Phillips explains as they move into The Hub’s restaurant, Scooters. “We still have a lot of things we want to do.”

Throughout the property, there are hints of its past. One wall in the motel office is decorated with Li’l Abner comic strips. In the nearby game room, a wooden cutout of the Shmoo, an imaginary pear-shaped mammal with feet and whiskers, adorns another wall. Across the room, a stuffed Shmoo sits atop music equipment.

Just north of The Hub, Aframe houses line the highway.

The property opened 34 years ago as the Marble Falls ski resort. It was an expansion of Dogpatch USA, the Li’l Abner-themed amusement park that was one of Arkansas’ most popular tourist attractions. The Marble Falls expansion closed in 1977, and Dogpatch closed 16 years later. Both fell into ruin, but recent changes have given the properties new life.

TURBULENT HISTORY The cleanup and redevelopment is a culmination of a turbulent history that dates to 1966, when Albert Raney Sr. sold his 160-acre trout farm near what was then the town of Marble Falls to Recreation Enterprises Inc., headed by real estate agent O. J. Snow.

The town’s name was changed to Dogpatch, though for years there’s been a dispute as to whether residents approved.

Dogpatch USA opened May 17, 1968. Al Capp, creator of the Li’l Abner comic strip upon which Dogpatch was based, dedicated the $ 1. 3 million park’s first phase.

Businessman Jess Odom purchased controlling interest in the park in October 1968 and four years later began a multimillion-dollar expansion to create Marble Falls.

The park, adjacent to Dogpatch, opened in January 1973 and included a ski resort, indoor ice rink and a convention center.

Mild winters and financial difficulties plagued Marble Falls, and it closed four years later. Capp retired that same year, 1977, removing the comic strip that inspired Dogpatch from newspapers nationwide. Capp died in 1979.

Dogpatch would change hands several times during its 25-year history, leading to mounting financial woes. The park filed for bankruptcy in November 1980 after two consecutive unprofitable years. Marble Falls was sold amid legal battles and liens against Odom, and Dogpatch was sold to The Entertainment and Leisure Corporation, or Telcor, which then owned Magic Springs in Hot Springs.

Dogpatch soon suffered in the face of competition from the similarly themed Silver Dollar City in Branson and the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View.

Despite dropping the Li’l Abner theme in 1991, adopting a more folk-and-craft theme and eliminating admission fees, the park continued to flounder and closed for good Oct. 14, 1993.

Westek and Leisuretek corporations, headed by brothers C. L. and Ford Carr of Missouri, became the new owners in 1994 after receiving a quitclaim deed to the property, meaning the previous owners released any claim to the land.

Westek was listed as responsible for the property taxes until last year, when Tahoe Gaming LLC took over. Property tax information for the past few years was sent to both companies in care of Ford Carr, according to the Newton County clerk’s office.

The Carrs attempted to sell the Dogpatch property on eBay in 2002, but there were no bidders.

Neither C. L. nor Ford Carr could be reached for comment.

Debra Nielsen purchased much of the former Marble Falls resort property.

She later sold some of it to Fred Mullins and some to the Phillipses.

Mullins opened the Shepherd’s Fold Campground & RV Park on land he purchased.

Nielsen, who lives in the town of Marble Falls, retained the old ski resort’s chalet, where she operates a furniture store in spring and summer, Randal Phillips said.

Mike Carr, brother to C. L. and Ford Carr, lives on the old Dogpatch property as caretaker and has been involved in the cleanup.

He said he stays on the property to help keep out transients, vandals, explorers and memorabilia seekers.

The property was damaged repeatedly by vandals and transients who lived briefly in the dilapidated buildings, Mike Carr said.

The Carrs began cleaning up the property a couple of years ago, something they had planned to do for a while before a lawsuit slowed their efforts, he said.

Stewart Nance and Lynn Larson of Tulsa filed the lawsuit against Mike Carr and Westek Corp. after their teenage son, Jon Pruett Nance, was injured on the property.

According to the lawsuit filed Nov. 2, 2005, Jon and Stewart Nance were riding all-terrain vehicles on the Dogpatch property on Sept. 9, 2005. Jon Nance ran into a steel cable strung across a road between two trees. The cable hit him in the neck, throwing him from the vehicle, the suit states.

The Nances are seeking money for medical expenses, lost wages for the parents and future lost earnings for their son.

The case is awaiting trial in Newton County Circuit Court. The court granted the plaintiffs a 120-day extension on Jan. 8 to serve the defendants with the lawsuit.

Brent Baber, a Little Rock lawyer representing the Nances and Larson, said he’s still trying to track down all the potential owners of the property and that they would be added as defendants.

Baber said he didn’t know Jon Nance’s exact age at the time of the accident, but it was between 15 and 17.

Baber said a trial date has not been set.

Meanwhile, Mike Carr and others continue to work on the property, cutting away years of brush growth and putting tin roofs on buildings.

At the moment, there are no buyers or firm plans to sell, Mike Carr said, but the owners would consider selling to anyone “with the right price.”

“We’re just out to try to clean the property up right now,” he said. “Come back in a couple of years, and it’ll look much nicer.”

Carr said he’s been asked repeatedly about the property and its cleanup, responding to rumors of a sale of Dogpatch.

“I’ve started a lot of those rumors myself,” he said with a smile. “I just wanted to see how far it goes.

“ I even told one reporter that [pop star ] Michael Jackson bought the property,” he said, laughing.

HELPING NEWTON COUNTY

Randal and Debbie Phillips brought a new vision for the old Marble Falls when they purchased property there in November 2004.

The buildings had been neglected for more than a decade. They included the old Marble Falls hotel and convention center, its indoor ice-skating rink and an abandoned Bonanza restaurant.

Across the former Dogpatch USA parking lot sits an old strip mall that now houses Friend’s Motorcycle shop.

The old resort also includes Cactus Jack’s Custom Etching, which decorates motorcycles and helmets.

At the far end of the parking lot, past the Marble Falls post office and the ruins of Dogpatch’s Funicular Tram, a gate leads to the park’s old campgrounds.

The grounds have been restored and now are part of the Shepherd’s Fold Campground & RV Park, which Mullins opened in 2006.

Mullins keeps his office in a churchlike structure next to The Hub.

During the amusement park’s heyday, the building housed a classic-car museum.

Randal Phillips said he doesn’t want to return the amusement park to its glory days. He has a new idea, one he feels is perfect.

“I’m hoping to make Newton County the biker capital of Arkansas,” he said.

The well-maintained roads and a lack of traffic make the area ideal for bikers, he said. The lack of a state helmet law also helps, he said. A bill requiring helmets recently failed to gain support in a state Senate committee.

Randal Phillips said he also talked with C. L. Carr about building a biker theme park on the former Dogpatch property, but no solid plans were made.

Donnie Davis, Newton County circuit clerk, said people have been asking him and other county officials about the property since the cleanup began.

“I wish someone would do something with it,” he said.

The 1993 closure of the park hit the county hard, Davis said.

“It provided a lot of revenue for the county, plus it provided a lot of jobs for the young people,” he said.

New businesses would increase the county’s sales tax collections, Davis said.

The county doesn’t have luxury or tourism-related taxes, he said.

That’s welcome news for a county with a 2005 estimated population of only 8, 452 people, according to the U. S. Census Bureau. The median annual household income in 2003 was $ 25, 821, nearly $ 8, 000 below the state average of $ 33, 445. Jasper, the county seat, had an estimated population of 494 in 2005.

County Treasurer Jolena Breedlove said it is hard to gauge whether the first full year of business for The Hub and Shepherd’s Fold had an impact on revenue, in part because the population grew last year, as well. She said the impact may be easier to spot in next year’s sales tax figures.

Breedlove once was a Dogpatch “relief worker” doing a variety of jobs, and she said her father worked there, too. Its closure affected the county’s job market more than the revenue, because the county didn’t enact its 1 percent sales tax until a year later, in 1994. Still, the park brought tourism and interest to the county.

“Dogpatch was our greatest asset for years,” she said. “It was really busy over there. We sure hated it when it closed.”

Breedlove said she hadn’t heard much about the new businesses, except for Scooters restaurant in The Hub. Davis hadn’t heard any response, positive or negative, on the Phillipses’ plans to turn the area into a “biker haven.” “ I guess that’s a good thing, ” he said. “Newton County needs something, that’s for sure.”

FOND MEMORIES Colter McCorkindale remembers both the heyday and waning days of Dogpatch. “I’m originally from Harrison, which is just up the road from Dogpatch, so it’s a place I went to every summer, right up to the end,” said McCorkindale, 30, now of Little Rock. McCorkindale said he, his family and his friends all have memories of the old park, from the stuffed dinosaur he won on the fairway — and still has — to acquaintances portraying characters from the Li’l Abner comic strip.

“The roller coaster was rickety, and everyone was afraid of [it ],” he said. “My high school Spanish teacher, he was Earthquake McGoon. My dad did comedy routines.”

Several years ago, McCorkindale attended a high school reunion, and he and his friends decided to go to Dogpatch to see the fate of the park. It was unattended at that time, heavily overgrown with rotting buildings and trash from vandals and squatters, he said.

“It was like we’d left the planet and come back years later; it was so weird,” he said.

McCorkindale took photos of the park and posted them on the Internet at www. pointedstick. net / colter / plog / 04 / dogpatch /.

“I heard from so many people who worked there,” he said. “I heard from several of the characters, and some helped explain some of the things in the photos.”

McCorkindale began hearing rumors of a cleanup last year and drove by the property in August, taking photos from Arkansas 7. He posted those photos, as well, and became as curious as others about whether the property had been sold.

“It’s like coming back after the fall of civilization, because it’s a place that you have memories of and you’ve grown up with it,” he said.

Though the future of the old Dogpatch park is murky, Mike Carr said there’s still hope the property can be redeveloped to the benefit of the county and nearby Jasper.

Though they don’t have the draw of Dogpatch, Randal and Debbie Phillips said the opening of Scooters in May 2005 and other businesses in and around The Hub have kept its visitors in Newton County.

The Hub has hosted hundreds of bikers and dozens of motorcycle groups, as well as family reunions, weddings and special events for the Newton County Chamber of Commerce.

Randal Phillips said they’re trying to sell the two buildings they have left to develop, including the old Marble Falls ice rink.

“We’re getting some nibbles,” he said. “We want people to open businesses up here. The more businesses we get up here, the better off we’ll be.” Dogpatch USA

1966 Albert Raney Sr. sells 160-acre trout farm near Marble Falls to Recreation Enterprises Inc., headed by O. J. Snow. The town’s name is changed to Dogpatch to promote the future amusement park. Oct. 3, 1967 Groundbreaking for $ 1. 3 million Phase I of Dogpatch USA, attended by Al Capp, creator of Li’l Abner comic upon which Dogpatch is based. May 17, 1968 Dogpatch USA opens to 8, 000 people; Capp dedicates the park. October 1968 Controlling interest purchased by businessman Jess Odom for $ 750, 000.

1969 120 camping spaces and a 62-unit “Mobile Motel” off Arkansas 7 Spur added. June 1972 Odom begins $ 5- $ 7 million expansion, dubbed Marble Falls, adjacent to Dogpatch. Project includes ski resort, indoor ice skating rink and convention center. January 1973 Weather and slow delivery of snow machines delay Marble Falls’ opening. Early spring halts resort’s season in mid-February. April 1974 Odom announces deal to bring student repertory theater group from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville to Marble Falls for three years. The Boar’s Head Players perform only one year there, but exist at UA today. Oct. 1, 1977 Marble Falls closes amid foreclosure lawsuits and four unprofitable years. Al Capp retires.

1979 Dogpatch USA records its first unprofitable year. Nov. 3, 1980 Dogpatch files for bankruptcy, listing more than 90 creditors, after its second consecutive unprofitable year. Spring 1981 Dogpatch opens after being sold to Ozarks Entertainment Inc. headed by Wayne Thompson. The Shmoo, made popular through L’il Abner and Saturday morning cartoons, debuts at the park.

1983 Marble Falls property sold, despite liens against it.

1987 Dogpatch purchased by The Entertainment and Leisure Corp., known as Telcor, which also owns Magic Springs in Hot Springs.

1991 Melvin Bell, Telcor principle, initiates several changes, including dropping L’il Abner theme, changing the name to Dogpatch, Ark., eliminating entry fees and charging for individual rides and attractions. Oct. 14, 1993 Dogpatch closes.

1994 C. L. and Ford Carr of Westek and Leisuretek corporations receive quit claim on Dogpatch, giving them restricted ownership.

1997 Residents of Dogpatch vote to change town’s official name back to Marble Falls.

2002 Carr attempts to sell 141-acre Dogpatch property on eBay online auction, with a miniumum $ 1 million bid. There are no bidders. November 2004 Bob Richards and Randal Phillips purchase five buildings at the former Marble Falls resort. Richards eventually leaves the venture.

2005 Major cleanup begins on Dogpatch by the Carrs. The Hub and Scooters open.

2006 Fred and Larisse Mullens open The Shepherd’s Fold Campground & RV Park on the former Dogpatch campgrounds

preacherman
04-01-2007, 07:13 PM
:applause: Wow jbzmom, THANKS SO MUCH for finding and posting this for us! Very informative!!!

deb_803
04-01-2007, 09:56 PM
Thanks for posting that article. I read it in the ArkDemGaz too!

Jen77
04-08-2007, 04:40 PM
we used to go to Dogpatch all the time as kids, it was so much fun

Traci
04-08-2007, 06:17 PM
I remember going to Dogpatch with my mom when I was a kid. It was
a fun place to go to. I wish it was still in business.

kbradleyar
05-27-2007, 12:00 PM
Thanks for the info. I drive by there everytime I drive to Branson (about twice a month) and I always wondered what was going on. I would say 1/2 the building have new roofs. I was hopeing the place would reopen as Dogpatch but I figured it would not. At least now when I take friends/family by there and they ask, I can be a "Know it All" and tell them what I read in your post.

preacherman
10-24-2008, 07:01 PM
DH just came across these pics of a stroll through the Dogpatch ruins. There are some pics that also have one below with the same scene in its hayday. They tell what each place used to be.
http://www.pointedstick.net/colter/plog/04/dogpatch/2/index.htm

DH has also come across some Youtube videos of during its time and now.

Davidab53
10-24-2008, 07:51 PM
I get depressed every time I see these pics. Spent many a summer vacation at Dogpatch. Every Branson trip included a trip to Dogpatch.

What a shame.

preacherman
10-24-2008, 07:54 PM
I get depressed every time I see these pics. Spent many a summer vacation at Dogpatch. Every Branson trip included a trip to Dogpatch.

What a shame.

I have memories of a day there with my dad, so it brings good thoughts even though sad.
Maybe you would enjoy seeing the film clips on youtube of the fun.

kevinkirk51
10-24-2008, 08:01 PM
Cannot believe how fast things fall apart. From the press on it, seems the lawsuit from the kid riding a 4 wheeler is one huge issue.

Did he have permission to be there? Does anyone know the story>?

deb_803
10-24-2008, 09:24 PM
This is so sad. I had fun there as a kid and teen also. I remember playing hooky one day from work to go have some fun one Saturday. It was a week before my wedding day. Ha! One last "hurrah" with the girls.:D

biscuitcreek
10-25-2008, 04:19 AM
DH and I also have some good memories of Dogpatch. Here's another link to check out:

http://www.arkansasroadstories.com/attractions/dogpatch.html

engel
10-25-2008, 06:03 AM
We took our 2 older kids there, & they loved it. As for the lawsuit. I, too, wonder if he had permission. I'd bet not, & a judge should just throw it out, instead of letting it go to trial, so money-grubbing lawyers (& parents) can fund their retirement. Just my opinion, but that's what it reeks of.

midnite_cruzer
10-25-2008, 06:14 AM
Believe it or not, there may be a new group of people interested in Dogpatch. A few years ago my brother-in-law and I were making jokes and remarks about Sadie Hawkins Day and Kickapoo Joy Juice. When my son asked us to explain, I pulled up all of the cyber-info that I could find on Dogpatch and Lil' Abner. I explained all that I knew on the comic strip and the now-defunct theme park. He started doing his own research until he became practically an expert on the subject.

About three years ago we were on a trout-fishing trip in Branson when we came across the statue of Gen. Cornpone behind an ATV dealership. We asked the owner if we could take a pic in front of it, which he graciously obliged and told us that his family owned Dogpatch and that he planned on re-opening it.

Last summer, after a trip to SDC, my son and I went to Jasper to see if any progress had been made. A lot of work had clearly been done.

I didn't let my son go far into the park, but he was thrilled to see the Kissing Rocks.

So sad that this place had gone to ruin. It would be a great place to re-educate our youth on pre-blue humor. It seems that these days, that's all they know.

Tams
10-25-2008, 08:04 AM
It is sad that they just left everything...the playground equipment could have been donated to some organization, the bus surely could have been used...alot of waste there...

CHRISTISAM2001
10-25-2008, 08:05 AM
It would be wonderful if the owners of SDC would buy it and bring it back to life!! Somewhere closer we could take the kids!!:)

Critter
10-25-2008, 09:54 AM
It would be wonderful if the owners of SDC would buy it and bring it back to life!! Somewhere closer we could take the kids!!:)

That would be pretty cool idea!! I had never been to Dog Patch growing up.

lucyann
10-25-2008, 10:28 AM
DH and I went to Dogpatch with another couple in 1979. I honestly can't remember anything about the trip.
In looking at the pictures, they're kind of creepy. Especially the one showing the room full of trash with a playpen. I wonder why the entire property was left with so much trash, why it wasn't cleaned up? It appears to have just been abandoned. It's amazing how quickly grass, weeds and undergrowth take over.

Don D
10-25-2008, 09:53 PM
DH and I went to Dogpatch with another couple in 1979. I honestly can't remember anything about the trip.
In looking at the pictures, they're kind of creepy. Especially the one showing the room full of trash with a playpen. I wonder why the entire property was left with so much trash, why it wasn't cleaned up? It appears to have just been abandoned. It's amazing how quickly grass, weeds and undergrowth take over.

There was not a whole lot to remember about "Dogpatch". That's the reason it is no longer in operation.
There is a story behind the "Dogpatch Saga,"I don't recall the details...

Don D
10-25-2008, 09:55 PM
DH and I went to Dogpatch with another couple in 1979. I honestly can't remember anything about the trip.
In looking at the pictures, they're kind of creepy. Especially the one showing the room full of trash with a playpen. I wonder why the entire property was left with so much trash, why it wasn't cleaned up? It appears to have just been abandoned. It's amazing how quickly grass, weeds and undergrowth take over.

There was not a whole lot to remember about "Dogpatch". That's the reason it is no longer in operation.
There is a story behind the "Dogpatch Saga,"I don't recall the details...
Maybe someone from the Harrison area could enlighten us.

LaJoe
10-27-2008, 09:34 AM
I loved Dogpatch as a kid. It wouldn't work today. I think pretty much any theme park there would be doomed. Perhaps it could be turned back into a trout farm the way it was when we visited when I was a young child.

We drove by the property last Thursday. It is hard to put into works the feelings I had, looking at it the way it is now. I wish they would tear all the old buildings down and make it into something. Perhaps a flea market or something.

deb_803
10-30-2008, 01:22 PM
I think one thing that hurt Dogpatch is that it's too close to Branson. I remember going to Dogpatch the first year it opened and then we headed to Branson. But that was back before Branson was booming. I think the Baldknobbers and the Presleys were the only shows at that time. And there were maybe 3 or 4 rides at SDC.