The Chapel of Peace in Childrens Fairyland, seen from a distance and from a slight elevation. The stained glass window above the front door, the dormer windows on the side, the belltower, and steeple all are visible. What is distinctive about this photo is that it is taken framed by a round window, either in a fence or a building. [Is this a symnbolic representation of Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass?" ( JM 7/24/2000] From the San Francisco Examiner, Sunday, October 31, 1999 Oakland's Fairyland When Children's Fairyland opened on Sept. 2, 1950, newspaper accounts of its opening reported that 6000 children had streamed through the instep of Old Mother Hubbard's Shoe into a storybook playground scaled to the big imaginations of those 8 years old and younger. The Park had millions of visitors, including Walt Disney who based his theme park on Fairyland, but the years took their toll on the park and by the early '90s, Fairyland was less than magical. The word around town was that it would soon be demolished. A group of nostalgic people made a pledge in 1994 to save the treasure and return it to its original state. Much like the park's founders, Arthur Navlet and William P. Mott, the saviors' work is being done on a shoestring budget that relies heavily on donations. Planners have made great strides on a more than10-year, $15 million, renovation designed to restore the old play land, make it more inviting and update its exhibits. Despite the changes, much of the work in coming years will be to maintain the original kooky, skewed cement and wood sets designed by architect William Russell Everett and built using scale models instead of blueprints. The bubble-blowing elf atop the giant mushroom isn't going anywhere, nor is Mrs. Hubbard's shoe, which will now be part of the plaza. Each passing day at Fairyland convinced Stark (Executive Director, Nancy Stark) it was worth saving. A 1996 study by a Stanford business school alumni consulting team bolstered her belief. The report showed Fairyland offered the kind of relaxed, inexpensive child-oriented outing that is difficult to find in an era of high-tech theme parks and expensive entertainment. Even with renovations incomplete, attendance has improved. Last year, more than 100,000 visited the park, up from 85,000 in 1995. If things go as planned, Fairyland may again attract 700,000 children a year as it did in 1950, when it was known around the world.

Used: City of Oakland

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