decades the Fairgrounds in Memphis had
rides and other entertainment
but on July 4, 1976. a new element was added. It was called Libertyland
and featured not only the rides and games, but also live entertainment
and restaurants. It was to be an enhanced family entertainment area.
Libertyland survived for 29 years, but with the closing after the
summer season of 2005 it was done. The decision was made a few months
earlier because the venture had established a trend of losing money.
Although Libertyland itself and the "midway" of the Fairgounds certainly qualify as a landmark, perhaps more important than the "new" aspects of Libertyland are the items that preceded it. The historic Zippin Pippin roller-coaster and the 1909 carousel, brought to Memphis in 1923, were part of Libertyland.
The Pippin was auctioned off, the cars removed, and in February, 2010, the track, a portion of which had collapsed, was dismantled. Green Bay, Wisconsin had agreed to buy the ride prior to it being taken down, and the ride is being rebuilt there. Green Bay acquired the cars from the previous buyer and in October, 2010, several parts and pieces of the old Memphis Pippin were collected and sent to Wisconsin. Except for the ride's cars, the new Zippin Pippin will resemble the old Memphis version in name, design, and configuration rather than the actual track materials, much of which was deemed to deteriorated to use again. The new reincarnation of the Zippin Pippin in Green Bay's Bay Beach Amusement Park is expected in May, 2011.
A historical marker remembering Libertyland and the Zippin Pippin roller coaster was placed near their old site in November, 2010.
According to The Commercial Appeal, Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt says any Memphian visiting Bay Beach Park will be allowed to ride the roller coaster for free.
The carousel, said to be one of the oldest all-horse carousels in the nation, was retained by the City of Memphis and in recent years has been guarded on a 24-hour a day basis to protect it from vandalism and theft. In the summer of 2009 the City dismantled the ride and put it in storage until it can be refurbished and a new location found for it.
At the same time the City announced the plan to dismantle the carousel, it also revealed plans to demolish many of the other buildings that were Libertyland. A spokesman says demolition of everything south of the main entrance except for the carousel, the roller-coaster, and the Mid-South Coliseum should begin in October, 2009. As noted above, the Zippin Pippin was brought down in February, 2010.
Almost the entire Fairgrounds complex is included in proposals for major changes. A separate page regarding the Fairgrounds will be provided on this site at a later date as the likely outcome becomes clearer. Two proposals for redevelopment are under consideration. One element figuring in the change of the Fairgrounds which is going forward is a Salvation Army Kroc Center, a community center with meeting rooms and athletic facilities.
The Fairgrounds and Mid-South Fair also have separate pages on this Landmark and Legend web site.