The Enchanted Forest opened in Ellicott City as a storybook-themed park in August 1955, one month after Disneyland in California. Visitors to the park enjoyed attractions such as Cinderella’s Castle, Humpty Dumpty, Willie the Whale, and the Three Bear’s House, among many other favorites.
After nearly three decades of operation, the park grew to over 52 acres, drawing close to 400,000 visitors each summer during its prime in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Enchanted Forest began to face tough competition from the roller coaster theme parks that were being built in the Baltimore area. In 1989 the park closed and part of it was used to build the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center.
History of Abandoned Enchanted Forest
The park was the vision of two men. Howard E. Harrison, Sr. and his son by the same name had a dream to build a major tourist attraction for children. From 1955 until 1989, the Enchanted Forest gave life to the imagination of the Baby Boomer generation. More than 20 acres of brightly colored concrete structures, rides and characters filled the park and its visitors with joy.
The Harrisons sold the land to a shopping center developer, and the park was partially closed in 1989. When the park was shuttered in 1989, the property was purchased by a development company. A shopping center of the same name was built on the location in 1992, but the Enchanted Forest Theme Park itself was padlocked in the years that followed.
In 1999, passionate community members formed the Friends of the Enchanted Forest with the hope of forming solutions to resuscitate the theme park. Howard County farm began to rejuvenate its pieces in 2004. Over the years, Clark’s Elioak Farm in Ellicott City has been relocating the abandoned Enchanted Forest beloved landmarks to the farm’s property. As of 2016 the last salvageable remnants of the abandoned Enchanted Forest were moved to Clark’s, including the castle and dragon at the entrance, but Cinderella’s Castle and the Gingerbread House were destroyed.
As for January, 2022 reports indicate that almost every remaining sculpture from the Abandoned Enchanted Forest in Maryland has been moved from the original site. The Enchanted Forest in Maryland became the kind of place that urban explorers dream about — an abandoned theme park.