Friday, May 2, 2014

Brooklyn from Washington Hill

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: Just north of Washington Hill is Pine Hill, and near the top of Pine Hill was Holyland USA. Everyone who drives I-84 East knows the giant cross that has marked Pine Hill for travelers since 1956 when John Greco put it there and opened Holyland U.S.A. 

Theme parks and motoring were just catching on. On the other side of the country a year earlier, Walt Disney had taken his personal miniature railroad and expanded it to link 4 new continents, and thanks to the synergy of motoring and television, all children of the fifties have forever scored 100% on the geography of Disneyland.  

Holyland became a hit; at its peak 40,000 people a year visited the chicken wire and plaster models of Jerusalem and Bethlehem and of stories from the Bible. They came as motorists from all over the country to leave their cars and walk through the park created by John Greco and the Companions of Christ.

The brick factory near the center of the image was built for Holmes, Booth and Haydens, one of the pioneering brass companies that became American Brass. The last vestige of American Brass was operating there as recently as this winter and has now gone out of business forever.


Ginnie said...

What is it about hilly towns like this! I see a bit of San Francisco there...or is my imagination getting carried away! :)

Emery Roth II said...

Well, it wouldn't feel like SF if you visited, but I know what you mean. This isn't so much a hilly town as a town in the valley. Sorry for the delay in responding. I have been migrating computers and it is hell.