Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Weird Tales of Pixieland, Central Oregon Coast History, Part I

Published 10/03/2018 at 2:44 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Weird Tales of Pixieland, Central Oregon Coast History, Part I

(Lincoln City, Oregon) - The whole tale actually begins with Pixie Kitchen, which was an enormously popular restaurant on the central Oregon coast from the ‘50s until the ‘70s, finally folding in the ‘80s. From that sprung Pixieland, a sprawling playground of Disney-esque ideals that was just outside of Lincoln City for a few short but rather legendary years.

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; check for specials now
In Cannon Beach:
Deals beginning now or soon
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Check each listing for specials
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Deals begin soon
In Lincoln City:
Deals on rooms beginning now
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
Specials start in September
In Newport:
Specials and deals beginning
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials
In Yachats, Florence
Specials; lodgings not listed anywhere else

This is part one of this two-part series on Pixieland and its kooky tales. Part two: Kooky Oregon Coast History: Lincoln City's Pixieland Part Two.

It’s funny how time has treated this Oregon coast amusement park: it’s now more legendary and popular than it was throughout most of its short, often wobbly days.

On Highway 101, not far from the Highway 18 junction, you’ll find a plaque showing where Pixieland was. If you blink, you’ll miss it. Nature has reclaimed the 53-acre attraction completely, and that’s the way Oregon state officials wanted it.

At its heyday – which was awfully brief - it boasted a dozen or so rides, a sizable park for trailer campers next door, and a smattering of eatery booths. Rides like the Grunykinland put you in the arms of a giant bear and sent you into a dark area lit by black lights that was supposedly the home of the pixies. There was a log flume that got you slightly wet, some bumper cars, and a train that meandered around the property.

Pixieland opened its doors to much fanfare in 1969, with an appearance by Governor Tom McCall. It was on land that Pixie Kitchen owner Jerry Parks had purchased in 1966, part of a backup plan in case a proposed bypass of Highway 101 actually happened. Parks figured it would cut off the tourist throngs from the restaurant, but luckily it was never built.

So up this vision of pixies on the Oregon coast went: but cracks in it showed pretty quickly.

There are plenty of interesting anecdotes about it. Among them, that Paul Newman visited there in 1971 during the filming of Sometimes a Great Notion.

Ed Dreistadt, director of Lincoln City’s visitors center, has become a bit of an expert on the place.

He recalls Parks’ daughter, Sharon Walters, telling the story of when they were in the middle of some construction in its early days, with the help of her husband, Howard. One day, a dump truck was dropping dirt near the train trestle that the park’s little choo choo ran on.

“The driver forgot to put the bed down, and started driving out of the park and took out the trestle,” Dreistadt said. “Sharon was working at the park’s restaurant at the time and heard a horrible noise. So she had to call down to where Howard was at another end of the park and told them to not let the train leave.”

There was a lot of enthusiasm and optimism for Pixieland for even the first two, three years: even by the second year, when problems began to be evident, everyone plowed right ahead. They simply began work on fixing the various issues. One thing, however, seriously eluded them: turning a profit. The right “formula” for grabbing enough visitors to really turn things around was somehow never within reach.

More on Pixieland and coastal history is found in these books:

By 1971, serious cracks began to show, including Parks lowering his own salary. They slowly began trying a flurry of new things, including selling longterm lots at the trailer park and a variety of changing rides. In 1972, the Salmon River flooded parts of the complex. A Ferris wheel came and went, they began charging admission, and suddenly in 1973 Parks openly complained the operating season was too short and that the amusement park was too far from a major population center like Portland.

Dreistadt remembers a man who gave him a DVD of some home movies made there, somewhere around 1974.

“There was no one there,” Dreistadt said. “It’s like he had this whole amusement park to himself.”

Then there was the freaky monkey they kept. That and other oddities are coming in part two.

Part two of this historical series: Kooky Oregon Coast History: Lincoln City's Pixieland Part Two . Lodgings in Lincoln City - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

Oregon Coast Lodging

 


Below: Highway 18, Van Duzer Corridor, not far from the old Pixieland site

More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

 

Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss

 



Coastal Spotlight


LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Warm Spell for Oregon Coast, Portland Continues; Beach Hazard for S. Coast
Coastal beaches will be in the 60s, sometimes close to 70 degrees. Weather
Oregon Coast Virtual Tours
Deep details of Astoria, Warrenton, Gearhart, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Bay City, Oceanside, Pacific City, Netarts, Neskowin, Lincoln City, Gleneden Beach, Depoe Bay, Newport, South Beach, Waldport, Seal Rock, Yachats, Florence
Nehalem Bay Lodgings; Wheeler, Nehalem, Motels, Hotels
Updated weekly: lodgings in Nehalem Bay, Wheeler, lodging, motels, inns, lodging deals
Cannon Beach Hotels, Lodging, Motels - N. Oregon Coast
Updated weekly: hotels in Cannon Beach, Arch Cape, lodging, motels, inns, lodging deals
Seaside Oregon Coast Hotels, Lodging
Updated weekly: hotels in Seaside, lodging, motels, inns, lodging deals
Oregon Coast Vacation Rentals, Vacation Homes
Astoria rentals, Gearhart rentals, Seaside rentals, Cannon Beach rentals, Manzanita rentals, Rockaway Beach rentals, Bay City rentals, Oceanside rentals, Pacific City rentals, Neskowin rentals, Lincoln City rentals, Gleneden Beach rentals, Depoe Bay rentals, Newport rentals, Waldport rentals, Yachats rentals
Comprehensive Oregon Coast Lodging Guide - Large List
Large list of lodgings w/ photos from Oceanside, Pacific City, Yachats, Newport, Lincoln City, Rockaway Beach, Manzanita, Wheeler, Arch Cape, Depoe Bay, Seaside, Cannon Beach
Oregon Coast Shipwrecks Exhibit Starts Off with Mystery in Cannon Beach
The mysterious beeswax, the offshore lighthouse, more. Cannon Beach events, history

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted

Oregon Coast Lodging
Rentals
Specials

Dining

Events Calendar

Oregon Coast Weather

Travel News

Search for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles

Virtual Tours, Maps
Deep Details