Often known as “The Capital of Silicon Valley”, San Jose is widely recognized for being the third largest city in California and tenth in all of the US. Before San Jose came to be all that it is today, it was a small farming community formed around the late 1700’s. Times changed and the city shied away from the once simple, western lifestyle. At this point in time Joe Zukin and Laurie Hollings came forward, adamant on keeping the western theme very much alive by building an amusement park they would name Frontier Village. The park was quaint on a mere thirty-nine acres with the amusements only taking ten acres, allotting the rest to parking and future development.
The idea for the park began when Zukin took his children to Disneyland in 1959, drawing such inspiration that he immediately bought the land necessary to build hid own. Hollings did much of the designing for the park since his experience included working with various Hollywood studios as a set designer, amusement ride designer, and painter. With a handful of western themed attractions and acres of undeveloped land to wander, Frontier Village was opened on October 21st, 1961. Families found everything they were looking for from fishing at the Rainbow Falls to excitement found at the petting zoo. Adults had their fair share of options too with the “Lost Dutchman Ride”, a pull through ride in which you entered a “haunted mine” complete with black lights and plenty of jump-scares. Attractions that really kept the park true to its theme included the stagecoach ride and the Burro Pack Train, in which kids got to ride their very own burro through the scenic areas of the park. One of the most popular areas of the park was simply known as Main Street which was a mock town from the old west with everything from a music filled saloon to a jailhouse and even good ole fashioned gun fights.
In 1973 the park was sold for 1.7 million to Rio Grande Industries due to Zukin’s lacking funds to expand. Plans by Rio Grande to expand the park were also put on hold as nearby homeowners fought to stop further development. Competition from Marriott’s Great America in addition to lower than expected revenue lead to the parks downfall leaving few choices but to sell off the land yet again. In 1980 the park and all undeveloped land was sold to the Bren Company which soon auctioned off rides, buildings and anything else of value in the park. The park opened one last time with an event called the last roundup and closed its gates permanently thereafter. Although nothing remains of the park today many still gather at the Edenvale Garden Park to reminisce annually on the last Saturday of June. One such fan, Shaughnessy McGehee, had such appreciation for the park that he has undergone the process of converting his own backyard into a miniature version of the park complete with Antique Autos, the Crazy Horse, and the Silver Dollar Saloon.