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History of Magic Landing

POSTED: Thursday, November 20, 2008 - 11:42pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:22pm

It was supposed to be El Paso's own Disneyland, but Magic Landing's "magic" gave way to sadness and tragedy.

We went to the main library to find the headlines that recorded the park's history. Even the park's first day did not seem bright.

The El Paso Herald-Post, July 4, 1984 read: "Amusement Park Opens Doors Despite Lack Of Rides."

Not many rides but plenty of food, it reads. A year went by before the next headline, September 2, 1985.

It was a day that earned the park a new name, "tragic landing."

A cart stopped midway on a roller coaster. It's the day 18 year-old employee Frank Guzman Jr. was killed. He went to grab a hat one rider dropped on the track, when a cart severed his arm.

Guzman fell and later died at Beaumont Hospital.

The "bad news" kept coming. "Magic Landing Files Safety Reports Late", "Roller Coaster Fatality Sparks Lawsuit", "Magic Landing Losing Its Grip" and so went the stories.

News reports later showed the park closed its doors to the public in the summer of 1988. The owner was not able to buy a one million dollar insurance policy the state required for him to stay open. The rides remained for more than six years.

Since then, a fire in April, thought to be arson. The case was never solved. Then, back in June, six teenagers were caught trespassing while ghost hunting.

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